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Looking at the differences between HTML5 and XHTML

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by Servage

There has been a long battle fought for the supremacy in web development between HTML5 and XHTML. HTML5 is the upcoming version of the HTML markup language around which all of the webpages are based while XHTML is the combination of HTML4 with elements of XML 1.0.

XHTML –Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language is a web document standard passed in 2000 after standardization of HTML4. Unlike HTML$ which allowed lenient syntax, the XHTML follows strict XML standards allowing the documents to be parsed easily by the web browsers. XHTML is a meta-language that is it is a language for describing a markup language. SGML –Standard Generalized Markup Language formed basis for HTML while on the other hand XML is a subset of SGML and forms basis for XHTML. XHTML provides flexibility that was lacking in HTML. It was developed to express the sense of a particular web page to the computer and to make an outline for the web pages that a browser run on diverse platforms.

HTML5 is currently the developing successor to the HTML4. It includes many new features and incorporates not only extensions to HTML4 but also XHTML features; thus HTML5 is being devised to replace XHTML in the long run. HTML5 introduces richness to the document by its new tags for headers, menus, navigation. A summary of all of the tags can be found here: It also has native support for video, audio, SVG images and other media types. This in turns eliminates the requirement of media plugins like flash. HTML5 has a much simpler DOCTYPE than HTML4/XHTML, that is only <!DOCTYPE html>.  

Now is we compare these both technologies HTML5 is compatible with all types of browsers but the maintenance of XHTML is easier as well as it is easy to teach and learn as to HTML5. In HTML5 elements name are case insensitive while elements names are case sensitive and lower-case in XHTML. HTML5 provides the users with an ease of integrating different media as compared to XHTML. HTML5 allows like its predecessor developers to for more lenient code much to developers disappointment as compared to XHTML which reinforces strict and proper coding practises. HTML5 works better on various devices such as mobile phones and tablets while XHTML is best for computer screens.

So what is the right tool for the job? There is no conclusive answer to the question of HTML5 being superior to XHTML. The advantages and benefits depend on how one uses both languages. For a web content having media elements that should display well on various devices HTML5 supersedes XHTML but if web content has to be seen only for computer screens XHTML is a better choice as it is already known to the developers.

References & More Reading

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