The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published two recommendations Thursday that further advance XHTML (extensible hypertext markup language), a Web page description language being developed by a W3C working group in an effort to ensure consistency in the creation of all types of Web content.
XHTML, a reformulation of HTML (hypertext markup language) and XML (extensible markup language), is recognized by content developers, the W3C and the Web community at large as the state-of-the-art version of HTML, said Janet Daly, spokeswoman for the W3C.
One of the two new recommendations announced Thursday is XHTML 1.1, which defines a new XHTML document type that is based on the modularization framework and modules defined in Modularization of XHTML, a W3C recommendation released in April.
The newly defined XHTML document type is designed to be portable to all types of client devices so they will be able to access Internet content. Developers who base content on XHTML 1.1 can be sure that it will be consistently portable across devices that support XHTML, according to the W3C.
XHTML 1.1 is derived from XHTML 1.0 "strict," which is one of three variants of XHTML 1.0, the original XHTML recommendation issued in January 2000. It is the cleanest markup approach a developer can use and it stands out in its ability to be used on all devices because the content is completely separate from the layout or presentation, Daly said.
"We applied the modularization approach to XHTML 1.0 'strict,' and the result is XHTML 1.1," Daly said. "All the features in XHTML 1.0 'strict' are available now through a modular approach with XTHML 1.1."
The W3C believes its approach to creating XHTML is sensible and forward-thinking because "we no longer have the illusion of being able to predict what type of device will be used to access the Web," Daly said. "The only thing we can predict safely is that people may want to point anything into the Web and say 'I want to know this,' or 'I'd like to place and order, check my bank account, trade a stock or find a new job.' "
Although XHTML is not as widely adopted as the W3C would like it to be, the notion that within a few years a variety of devices, from cellular phones to PDAs (personal digital assistants), will be used to access the Web highlights the business case for adoption of XHTML, Daly said.
The second recommendation issued by the W3C on Thursday, Ruby Annotation, provides an XHTML module for expressing short text alongside a base text or a base character. These annotations are commonly used in East Asian languages in which the annotations appear in very small font next to printed text to aid readers in pronunciation.
A W3C recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C membership, which comprises more than 500 academic, industry and research organizations.