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W3C Reformulates XHTML 1.0

The World Wide Web Consortium W3C continued in its crusade for helping Web language standards evolve this week with recommendation of a second version of XHTML 1.0.

XHTML, or Extensible HyperText Markup Language , is a suite of current and future document types and modules that reproduce, subset, and extend HTML 4 -- the fourth version of the vital HyperText Markup Language used to script Web sites. XHTML family document types are XML based, and are designed to work with XML-based user agents. Put simply, XHTML is a hybrid between HTML and XML specifically designed for Net device displays.

XHTML 1.0 is a reformulation of HTML in XML, giving the rigor of XML to Web pages. However, the second edition is not a new version; rather, it brings the XHTML 1.0 recommendation up to date with comments from the community, ongoing work within the HTML Working Group, and the first edition.

Heavily touted over the last few years for its ability to simplify Web development, XML is considered by major high-tech software makers to be the catalyst for the success of the highly-touted Web services market, whose market value most research firms estimate will be worth billions by 2006. XML was created to regain the flexibility of SGML , a system for organizing and tagging elements of a document, without most of its complexity. XML removes many of the more complex features of SGML that make the authoring of software difficult and costly.

Why XHTML then?

According to the W3C: "The XHTML family is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. By migrating to XHTML today, 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."

W3C noted that it is easy to introduce new elements or additional element attributes in XML. The XHTML family is designed to accommodate these extensions through XHTML modules and techniques for developing new XHTML-conforming modules, all of which were designed with general user agent interoperability in mind.