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W3C Issues XHTML 1.0 Recommendation

The World Wide Web Consortium Thursday released the XHTML 1.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation.

This specification indicates cross-industry and expert community agreement on the importance and benefits of XHTML 1.0 "as a bridge to the Web of the future."

Until this point, HTML has served as the basis for publishing hypertext on the Web. The future of the Web, the W3C believes, is written in W3C's Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML is an environment that better meets the needs of all its participants,enabling developers to create structured data that can be easily processed and manipulated to meet the varying needs of end-users and their devices.

In creating XHTML, the W3C HTML Working Group faced a number of challenges, including one that could influence the future of the Web. The challenge included how to design the next generation language for Web documents without obsoleting what's already on the Web, and how to create a markup language that supports device-independence. The answer was in XML, and the first result is XHTML 1.0.

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and "founder of the Web", said XHTML 1.0 connects the present Web to the future Web.

"It provides the bridge to page and site authors for entering the structured data, XML world, while still being able to maintain operability with user agents that support HTML 4."

XHTML 1.0 enables developers to create Web documents that still work with current HTML browsers, but that may be processed by XML-enabled software as well. Authors writing XHTML utilize the well-known elements of HTML 4, but with XML syntax, which promotes markup conformance.

W3C provides instructions and tools to ease the transition from HTML 4 to XHTML 1.0. The "HTML Compatibility Guidelines" section of the XHTML 1.0 Recommendation details how to write XHTML 1.0 that will work with almost all of the current HTML browsers. XHTML 1.0 lays the foundation thatr will make Web content available to millions of users, such as people browsing the Web with cell phones or other mobile devices.