WORLD WIDE WEB CONSORTIUM RECOMMENDS XHTML

January 5, 2001

SCIENCE & ENGINEERING NEWS

San Diego, CALIF. — Continuing its mission to create one Web for all users, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released XHTML Basic as a W3C Recommendation. The specification reflects cross-industry agreement on a set of markup language features that allows authors to create rich Web content deliverable to a wide range of devices, including mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), pagers, and television-based Web browsers. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

In January 2000, W3C published the XHTML 1.0 Recommendation, which combined the well-known features of HTML with the power of XML. In another W3C specification entitled “Modularization of XHTML”, W3C’s HTML Working Group describes a mechanism that allows authors to mix and match content from well-defined subsets of XHTML 1.0 elements and attributes. The XHTML Basic Recommendation combines some of these XHTML modules in a manner well-suited to mobile Web applications.

“Interoperability has always been essential to the Web,” said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. “The simplicity of early versions of HTML made interoperability easy. While XHTML 1.0 is a powerful language, support for the full XHTML 1.0 feature set may be too much to expect browsers on cell phones and other small devices to handle. XHTML Basic offers the simplicity and wide interoperability of early versions of HTML and reflects ten years of Web experience, including advances in XML and accessibility.”

XHTML Basic is designed so that it may be implemented by all user agents, including mobile devices, television-based devices, and other small Web devices.

“The minimalist nature of the XHTML Basic document type ensures that all Web clients, including mobile phones, PDAs, pagers, set-top boxes, and PCs, can support a common subset of XHTML,” said Dave Raggett, W3C Fellow and Senior Architect at Openwave Systems Inc. “XHTML Basic provides a powerful building block for use across increasingly diverse platforms, and can be extended with various specialized markup such as for multimedia (SMIL), mathematics (MathML), vector graphics (SVG), and forms (XForms).”

The XHTML Basic specification is the result of significant collaborative efforts of the W3C HTML Working Group, including participants from AOL/Netscape; CWI; Ericsson; IBM; Intel; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.; Microsoft; Mozquito Technologies; Openwave Systems Inc.; Philips Electronics; Quark Inc.; and Sun Microsystems. In addition, the Working Group integrated feedback from the W3C Mobile Access Interest Group and the WAP Forum in an effort to ensure demonstrable functionality in wireless devices. Many industry players support, or have plans to support, XHTML Basic, including the WAP Forum.

Today, content developers interested in making XHTML Basic documents can create them with W3C’s own browser/editor, Amaya.

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 480 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

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