XHTML2 subsumed under HTML5

I was really liking the rigidity of XHTML and potential for being completely cross-browser compliant because of the strictness.

Unfortunately, now comes this,

“XHTML2 Working group expected to stop work end of 2009, W3C to increase resources on HTML5”

And to be honest, I think I’m completely okay with it. XHTML had amazing intentions and taught people to code with a rigid standard again. However, not being able to serve it up as what it truly is, XML, makes it silly to continue on. Still I did a pretty thorough investigation on this, see below for a ton of information.

W3 FAQ on their decision.

Fiery comment thread – http://www.zeldman.com/2009/07/02/xhtml-wtf/

I got tired of reading the comments half-way down. Instead I found about 6 other articles and sites I needed to investigate to find out just what all this means.


“But let no-one tell you that HTML 5 kills XML—meet XHTML 5.” – Good, good coding standards will still have to be used.

Compare & Constrast HTML and XHTML

Compilation of general differences between the two, the most pervasive seems to be case sensitivity.


“For instance, the W3C’s new XHTML v2 standard works to further establish the separation between content and presentation, whereas the WHATWG’s HTML v5approach investigated how HTML is used today, and tried to make it simpler for the average web developer.”

– I argue that separating between content and presentation IS making it EASIER for the average web developer.

This from xhtml.com looks like an invaluable read, but not until later, when I have more time.

Optimiced has some real good, sample code, examples of the differences in structure between xhtml and html5.

Stackoverflow also has some good comments and discussion on the issue.

Jonathon Snook sums it up – “There is better or worse. HTML4.01 Strict is better than XHTML 1.0 Strict as it’s more widely accepted and more “fail-safe”. That is, your page will likely render even if errors exist within your page. Serving up an XHTML document as HTML doesn’t provide any benefit and is likely to allow XML errors to creep in.”

– You can’t serve up pure XHTML as what it is, XML, anyways. So use what is going to validate on the most users computer, but write it well! The bottom line is, code well, regardless of the standard.

  • Keep layers appropriately separated (e.g. style from data) as much as possible
  • Use supported tag types
  • Close tags
  • Format the code in a readable way
  • There are plenty of good articles on coding standards out there, if you haven’t read one, you should.