XHTML Basics: Intro
XHTML vs. HTML and Why We Care
Intermediate web production is all about moving past HTML to the more precise, manageable, and World Wide Consortium (W3C) validated current standards for basic web coding. While HTML coding was very forgiving (it didn't require a doctype, charset, namespace, closing tags, or avoidance of dpereciated tags), it also requires more and more tweaking to work with multiple browsers and quirks.
As a result, this class, and your future code production, should focus on XHTML with CSS, which is more robust that HTML was. It has also been designed by the W3C to merge the best of HTML and XML (Extensible Markup Language), to work fluidly with the easy-to-organize CSS, and to be able to be parsed by every browser with as much uniformity in interpretation as possible.
XHTML is stricter than HTML, because it absolutely requires:
While this can sound pretty tough, it actually is easy to learn, results in organized and consistent code, allows clean validation, and keeps you away from depreciated tags and quirky practices that give browsers (and you) huge headaches.
Currently, the best doctype for new and developing websters to use is Transitional, which helps browsers assume the web page has been designed using standards mode. It is also more forgiving that strict and allows for the occasional ack and creep in of a borderline depreciated tag:
<!doctype html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
The basic charset (which is how browsers interpret the character you use in your xhtml code) is UTF-8. This focuses on ASCII characters:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
The more universal charset in America these days is ISO-8859-1, since it allows for characters to be used from North America, Western Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and Africa:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
Either one is acceptable for this class.
Tag Building Blocks
Tags have three components:
Block and Inline elements
Block elements are structural pieces of your web pages, and are diplayed on their own line - DIV.
Inline elements often appear inside block elements, and are displayed in individual lines, not generating a new paragraph, like SPAN and STYLE.