July 4, 2022

Why switch from HTML to XHTML

4 min read

XHTML 1.0 (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) is the latest recommendation of the W3C, it is a new language for creating web pages defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. This language offers the rigor and precision of XML while retaining the flexibility of conventional HTML.

In fact, XHTML 1.0 appeared shortly after HTML 4.0. It is a more rigorous reformulation of HTML with the aim of perfecting its functionalities: interoperability, portability, accessibility, durability and search engine optimization…

Why switch from HTML to XHTML?

Just two years ago, almost all Internet users used a laptop or desktop computer to surf the Web. Today, we are seeing an unprecedented openness to new types of access terminals such as PDAs and cell phones.

Since most of today’s sites are still coded in the old-fashioned way, very few of them display properly on all these platforms. Add to this future compatibility with cell phones and you have a dead end where only the application of standards can get you out.

Above all, interoperability and accessibility is the fundamental right of the user to use the Web browser of his or her choice or the one that best suits his or her needs, while obtaining a roughly equivalent Web experience. By building Web sites according to W3C standards, the developer obtains the guarantee that all browsers designed according to industry standards will display his work in an equivalent manner. In addition, the portability of technologies derived from these same standards greatly facilitates data exchange between various environments.

Universal accessibility

Almost all of today’s websites are accessible only through traditional graphical browsers, preventing access by people with physical, motor or neurophysiological disabilities.

The HTML did not provide support for voice synthesizers or Braille tracks. But this is no longer the case today. W3C standards incorporate these considerations and greatly facilitate the creation of universally accessible sites.

More efficient SEO

In terms of indexing Web documents, the fact that they have been coded to conform to W3C standards guarantees them better ranking and recognition results in SEO, resulting in increased visibility in search engines.

Standards-compliant documents are not only indexed more accurately in registries due to their more logical information structure, but are also more likely to meet the expectations of search engines, making them more accessible and easier to evaluate at the time of classification support.

Indeed, it is much easier for an indexing algorithm to recognize a document that meets the standards than one that does not follow any structural logic.

Document durability

Finally, the durability of HTML documents is now being questioned. Just think of all those companies that, at one time, undertook to standardize their office automation on the “standard” tool of the time, which was the (yet proprietary) format of WordPerfect. When this format disappeared a few years later; These same companies had to make a long and costly migration to the new standard. Just as proprietary as Microsoft Word is…

Who can venture to predict that in 10 or 20 years we will actually be able to find an old version of SUIMS capable of interpreting documents built with the faulty syntax of the twentieth century. The perenniality of documents assures us that, whatever the direction in which technologies evolve in the coming years, documents will always be interpretable by the user agents of the moment (browsers, Web interpreters, etc.), thus preserving valuable information for future generations.

Problems with HTML :

1. Source code for web sites in the 1990s

The default of these sites was to combine, in each page, the layout (design) and the content. This was similar to a design specific to each page, integrated in its source code, which became very long, and lengthened the loading time of this page.

With XHTML, the first law to change the world: separate the content from its presentation. Experience has shown that an approach that mixes content and presentation has a significant number of disadvantages and inconveniences.

Among these irritants, these seem to be the most important:

  • Difficulty of maintenance
  • Difficult collaboration

Sometimes an author would like to delegate all visual aspects to a graphic designer. If content and presentation reside in the same file, working in parallel becomes a dangerous option.

2. Questionable Tips

In order to allow control over presentation, previously necessary means have been invented, creating very bad habits.

Great ideas such as installing empty (and even transparent) images to move text. Using tags associated with one and only one web browser. Using browser flaws to its advantage. These methods, although inventive and useful in their time, have become obsolete and hinder elegance both on the structure and coherence sides.

It should be kept in mind that a sleight of hand is no longer useful when features are designed to achieve the same results.

3. Limited audience

By mixing content and presentation, you leave out an audience for whom the presentation may be harmful.

A person with impaired vision may want to view a web page; but not be able to read it because the font size makes the page unreadable for him. A blind person must be bored to death listening to a web page with dozens of sentences only related to what he will never see.

In short, even though most people can easily consult the web; and too often the content is second only to a flashy flashy one. The fact remains that offering everyone the opportunity to get a quality experience sets great authors apart.

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