How to learn xhtml

XHTML is a stricter, more XML-based version of HTML.

What is XHTML?

  • XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language
  • XHTML is a stricter, more XML-based version of HTML
  • XHTML is HTML defined as an XML application
  • XHTML is supported by all major browsers


XML is a markup language where all documents must be marked up correctly (be “well-formed”).

XHTML was developed to make HTML more extensible and flexible to work with other data formats (such as XML). In addition, browsers ignore errors in HTML pages, and try to display the website even if it has some errors in the markup. So XHTML comes with a much stricter error handling.

If you want to study XML, please read our XML Tutorial.

The Most Important Differences from HTML

  • is mandatory
  • The xmlns attribute in is mandatory
  • , , , and are mandatory
  • Elements must always be properly nested
  • Elements must always be closed
  • Elements must always be in lowercase
  • Attribute names must always be in lowercase
  • Attribute values must always be quoted
  • Attribute minimization is forbidden

XHTML – Is Mandatory

An XHTML document must have an XHTML declaration.

The , , , and elements must also be present, and the xmlns attribute in must specify the xml namespace for the document.


Here is an XHTML document with a minimum of required tags:

XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language. It is the next step to evolution of internet. The XHTML was developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It helps web developers to make the transition from HTML to XML. Using XHTML, developers can enter the XML world with all the features of it, and they can still remain confident about the backward and future compatibility of the content. The XHTML 1.0 is the first document type in the XHTML family and it is Recommended by W3C in 26 January 2000. The XHTML 1.1 is Recommended by W3c in 31 May 2001. The XHTML5 is a standard and is used to develop an XML adaptation of the HTML5 specification.
The XHTML documents contains three parts, which are discussed below:

  • DOCTYPE: It is used to declare a DTD
  • head: The head section is used to declare the title and other attributes.
  • body: The body tag contains the content of web pages. It consists many tags.

Creating a XHTML web page, it is necessary to include DTD (Document Type Definition) declaration. There are three types of DTD which are discussed below:

  • Transitional DTD
  • Strict DTD
  • Frameset DTD

Transitional DTD: It is supported by the older browsers which does not have inbuilt cascading style sheets supports. There are several attributes enclosing the body tag which are not allowed in strict DTD.

By How to learn xhtmlPriya Pedamkar

How to learn xhtml

Introduction to XHTML

XHTML is a markup language which is written in XML, more of a, XHTML is an application of XML. It is a hybrid technology between HTML and XML that combines the functionalities of both to become powerful and efficient. In web development, you must have come across or heard of the term XHTML. There are many technologies available today; each one has its own importance and use. Similarly, it also has a unique role in front-end development or web development. In this article, we will try to understand XHTML from all major aspects. We will try to understand XHTML by answering some interesting questions.

Extensible HyperText Markup Language is the name for which XHTML stands for. In a few words, XHTML is a combination of HTML and XML. HTML is used for the presentation of the data, while XML is used for carrying the data. It was developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is an international organization that sets standards for the World Wide Web (WWW). It was designed to help web developers to make the transition
from HTML to XML. It is specifically designed for net device displays.

Web development, programming languages, Software testing & others


Normal HTML works in most browsers, even if it has bad markup. Today, there are many browsers available in the market, including smaller devices, mobiles, etc. They lack the power to interpret the bad HTML. The solution to this was to markup HTML correctly. XML makes restriction to markup documents correctly and makes them well-formed, i.e. XML is more severe than the HTML. That’s why HTML is combined with XML to develop XHTML with
strengths of both. Now the browsers can read and interpret markup with great accuracy. It enhances compatibility with other data formats.

How can you use XHTML?

It is the follow-on version of HTML, which means we can do everything using XHTML that HTML can do. As XHTML makes viewing website in mobile browsers easy, it is used in mobile website development. We can define and use our own tags and elements in XHTML. We can convert an existing available HTML document into an XHTML document with a few changes.

Advantages and Disadvantages

To make it easy while making a choice of using XHTML, the following points can be considered.


Below are the advantages:

1. Extensibility: As we can define and use our own tags, we can implement new ideas as web communication and presentation logic emerge. Let’s say there is a new program at receiving end, and we want to communicate with it; we can define our markup as per its needs and use it without any compatibility issue. New things can happen on the website as early as they emerge. Specific sets of extensions for XHTML are provided for mathematical
extensions, multimedia applications, and vector graphics.

2. Portability: As it follows the standards of XML, processing becomes easy and effortless for XML parsers. By using it, web pages can be made simpler so that small devices can handle them. This is important in terms of mobile devices and small devices which contain small processors with less power. Portable advantage means we can develop a document as per the specific requirement whenever needed.

3. Easy to Maintain: As the rules are clear in XHTML, the margin for errors is less. The structure is more apparent, and problem syntax is easier to spot; therefore, it is easy to author and maintain.

4. Ready for the future: The documents will be easily upgraded to the new version to take advantage of new features.


There are no such direct disadvantages, but we will say there are few limitations:

  • It does not solve all cross-browser combability issues.
  • It is difficult to begin as it is stricter, and sometimes you must think while coming up with new element names.

Required Skills

For learning, you should have some basic knowledge of HTML and XML. At least, it requires knowledge of their use and functionality. Any developer who is starting to learn XHTML might want to know the basics of web page development before proceeding, as XHTML is the after version of HTML; it has the same structure as that of HTML.

Why Should We Use XHTML?

  • It is supported by all major browsers available in the market and is compatible. XHTML documents can be written better to operate in existing browsers.
  • It is strict than HTML in terms of syntax and case sensitivity, allowing developers to write code accurately.
  • The documents are well-formed & consistent and can be parsed easily by present and future web browsers.

The family is designed to accommodate the extensions provided by XML for developing new XHTML based modules. These modules make it easier to combine new and old features at the time of developing content.


Those who want to choose between HTML and XHTML might want to consider one of both, depending upon the specific requirement. As HTML is the basis of web pages development, XHTML becomes the basis, too, depending on the project-specific need. It can be extended by anyone who uses it. HTML5 is already available in the market as of now, so you should think before, especially if development is from scratch.

Why do We Need XHTML?

It is the improved version of HTML. It combines the power of both HTML and XML. It provides a solution to the problem that arises when using these technologies separately.

Who is the Right Audience for Learning XHTML?

Anyone who is enthusiastic about learning web development can learn XHTML. The web developers who are already using HTML4 may want to consider switching to XHTML.

How will this Technology Help you Grow in your Career?

As there are many modern technologies available, including HTML 5, It will be helpful in specific cases. Learning will be surely beneficial for Web developers, which will help them in their career growth.

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This has been a guide to What is XHTML. Here we discussed the skills, career growth, use, scope, working, advantages, and disadvantages. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –

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Okay so you want to make a web page and you know that to do this, you’ve got to learn HTML via some (preferably) basic HTML tutorials like the ones on this site. But you’ve heard tell of some kind of other web thingy called XHTML and you’re thinking, “Is that route I need to take?”

Well, in a nutshell, if you want to get into the whole ‘web standards’ thing where all the web pages you create make an honorable contribution to cleaning up the web and creating a streamlined and homogeneous interoperability for web browser makers and web authors alike, blah blah blah, ad nauseam, think of the children, et cetera, et cetera— then learn XHTML.

On the other hand, if you just want to get a web page up and running that’s going to work fine in all major web browsers, no muss, no fuss, standards schmandards, send-me-straight-to-web-developer-hell, I-dont-care— then learn HTML. You’ll do just fine. Don’t worry about it.

There are some key differences with XHTML with regards to proper nesting of tags, closing all tags, putting all element names in lowercase, etc, that essentially force you to take a more regimental approach to writing up web page code.

Now I know the last paragraph was probably just a bunch of gobbledy-gook technobabble to some of you folks so let me put it this way:

The bottom line is— HTML is more forgiving, easier to learn and is still very much widely in effect.

Moreover, you can produce web pages written in HTML which do pass the W3C HTML validator (which tests for clean HTML code) and you can even make your web pages easy to maintain and update if you learn HTML in conjunction with CSS.

So What About Web Standards?

Now mind you, the above is just my opinion. You’ll find web standards gurus elsewhere who would take one look at this page (and the virtual blasphemies I’ve written) and land on me like a sumo wrestler.

Their pro-web-standards arguments would go something along the lines of:

It is our foresworn sacred duty to eliminate all the garbage code soup that has sullied the internet and ultimately make every single web page across the face of the universe perfectly viewable on the tiniest, most advanced and obscure portable web browsing device known to mankind.

Sounds like a great idea. In theory.

Practically speaking though, I just don’t see everybody jumping to support these lofty ideals.

In fact, I see some glaring absenteeisms on the ol’ web standards bandwagon.

To illustrate, let’s take a swipe at some of the big boys on the net (uh oh), namely some of the W3C members themselves and see how their own home pages measure up in a.

Quick W3C HTML Validation Test

The following W3C members’ own home pages were tested in the online W3C HTML validator to see how clean their web page code was (test conducted on August 23, 2007):

Failed validation, 24 errors

Creative Commons
Failed validation, 35 errors

Google, Inc.
Failed validation, 50 errors (ooops. maybe I should keep my mouth shut about this one. )

Oracle Corporation
Failed validation, 30 errors

Failed validation, 12 errors

Sun Microsystems
Failed validation, 32 errors

Web3D Consortium
Failed validation, 4 errors (okay not bad but still. )

Yahoo, Inc
Failed validation, 34 errors

“Standards? Standards?? We don’t need no stinkin’ standards!”

(And seriously folks, most of these guys should know better!)


Well, ultimately it’s your choice.

Assuming you’re going to give XHTML a pass for the moment and you’re okay with learning quick and dirty HTML then let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of these free tutorials starting with the basic necessities for web page authoring.

If you need a .COM web address, you can get one quick and easy at.


Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Last week you learned how to build a basic Web page. But even if you put your text in nice neat paragraphs like in a word processor, it all ended up on one line on the Web page. This week, we’ll learn how to fix that.

What is a Tag?
In the course of this class, you will read about tags or elements (as they are called in XHTML). But what are they?

In a simple sense, XHTML tags are the parts of the XHTML document that don’t display when you view your Web page in a browser. In most cases, you will surround the text you want to display with a tag or tags to change the way that text displays or define it as a specific item in the document. If you’re still not understanding this, read my article HTML vs. What’s On the Screen for more help.

When learning XHTML, there are two tags that most people learn first,

the paragraph and line break tags. These tags put natural breaks in your text so that it is easier to read and makes sense.

These tags are fairly easy to use, but they can be misused.

The Paragraph (

) Tag
When you want to create a paragraph (a group of text followed by a blank line), you need to surround that text with the

codes or the paragraph tag. The paragraph tag (

) requires the use of the end tag in valid XHTML.

Use the paragraph tag when you want to break up two streams of information into separate thoughts. Most browsers display paragraphs with one blank line between them.

The Line Break (
) Tag

tag is simply a forced line break within the text flow of the Web page. Use it when you want the text to continue on the next line, such as with poetry.

tag also stops the alignment of text beside images. If you have an image with an align=”right|left|center” all XHTML elements (text, images, etc.) will appear beside the image, rather than below it. If you use the CLEAR=”all|left|right|center|none” attribute on a
tag, all XHTML elements after that tag will display below the image.

For example: My signature is aligned to the left, and all this text is displayed to the right of it. When I add in the
the text appears below the image.

Two Common Misuses

  • Using
    to adjust the length of your text lines.
    This will insure that your pages look great on your browser, but not necessarily on another browser. This is because the browsers will automatically put in word wrapping and then when it comes to your
    will wrap the text again, resulting in short lines and long lines and choppy text. Solution: Use CSS to define the width of your pages.
  • Using

to add more space
This is a common practice of some editors, and while it is not technically wrong, it results in awkward looking XHTML and can often get really confusing to edit later. It also can result in unexpected spacing in different browsers, as they all seem to interpret this differently. Solution: The best solution is to use Cascading Style Sheets to set the margin of your elements.