XHTML is a standard for representing the structure and content of a web page. Its predecessor HTML not only represented the content and structure, but also included aspects such as the presentation of the information on the screen. However, attempting to change the design and presentation of the information using XHTML is now frowned upon and all page styling should now be done using a technique/standard called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

This change of emphasis is a mixed blessing. It makes creation of page content very straightforward, and simplifies the XHTML data file, however, to make the page look 'cool' requires a lot of effort using CSS. This introduction to XHTML will only deal with the basic XHTML elements for coding the structure and content of a web page. CSS will be dealt with in a later tutorial.

Reference to 'high end' web creation tools, such as Dreamweaver and Expression Web, is avoided. The emphasis is on understanding the mechanics of web page creation, and tools such as NoteTab Light, which only provide a code based view, are preferred for this tutorial. If you want to work with a more advanced tool, try to work in code or source view at all times.

Stop Press!

HTML5 is on the horizon. With syntax for both HTML and XML, HTML5 will eventually become the language for web pages. However, the information presented in this tutorial will continue to work and the concepts, such as accessible page structure, will continue to be important. The latest versions of web browsers now support HTML5 but you must be wary of building sites just using it as it is still not completely standardised, not all end users have the latest versions of browsers and some features will break accessibility guidelines until assistive technologies catch up.

Watch out for developer notes on HTML5 development and the issues for browser compatibility and accessibility.

Valid XHTML 1.0! | Valid CSS! | WCAG Approved AA
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