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XHTML, HTML Get International Flavor

An Internet standards task force is appealing to an international audience with an update to the XHTML and HTML markup languages.

The GEO (Guidelines, Education and Outreach) Task Force of the Internationalization Working Group published their updated Working Draft of Specifying the Language of Content, the group said Friday. The document is one of a series of documents giving HTML authors techniques for developing internationalized HTML using XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01, supported by CSS1, CSS2 and some aspects of CSS3.

"Specifying the language of content is useful for a wide number of applications, from linguistically sensitive searching to applying language-specific display properties," the group said in its draft. "In some cases the full application is still awaiting full development, whereas in others, such as detection of language by voice browsers, it is a necessity today. Marking up language meta information is something that can and should be done today. Without it, none of these applications can be taken advantage of."

The task force said it is now seeking feedback before converting it to the next level, the Working Group Note status. The consortium did warn that not all of the wrinkles may be smoothed out by the time it gets published and that the document may not fully represent the consensus of the group.

The Internationalization Working Group even went a step further saying it will ignore any company that wants to get a jump on the changes and go forward with early implementation before the final release comes out.

Work on both XHTML and HTML was necessary, according to the W3C, because both standards are key in the next step in the evolution of the Internet. By migrating to XHTML today, the W3C has said content developers can enter the XML world with all of its attendant benefits, while still remaining confident in their content's backward and future compatibility.