XHTML…a lost monster

XHTML has been severely damaged as the future leader of the web standards In the first half of the decade, XHTML had been marketed as the say all do all for how to progress your websites. It had introduced a new standard for being compliant with XML documentation and was hoped to be the future of the web in general. Present day, we all know that XML is not exactly the future of web design and proper data storage. While XML does have it’s place, and so does XHTML, they both can be phased out easily with a few simple arguments.

The biggest disadvantage to using XHTML being, any user agent (e.g. the browser) when it comes across an unescape ampersand (&) in a URL or a mismatched character encoding in a track back message, would cause the entire page to fail, and so most of today’s public web applications can’t safely be incorporated in a true XHTML page.Internet Explorer has never supported XHTML (not even IE 8) making all arguments about standards compliance go down the drain.

XHTML is not HTML compliant if it is served as content type text/html (read more on why sending XHTML as text/html is harmful). Moreover, XHTML 2 is not compatible with XHTML 1.1, which throws the future compatibility argument out of the window. Others have doubts over XHTML and XHTML 2.0 which paved the way for HTML 5.

I am personally looking forward to moving clients to HTML version 5 based on some of the tags I have seen come out. While this doesn’t seem to impress most, being able to embed document content directly in a page is going to be fantastic. Also, there looks like there is a curve with HTML interpreters to shift towards visual design and actions instead of rendering text. This is an exciting time for web pages and the web in general, glad it’s finally here.

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