Difference Between HTML and XHTML

It is hard to even think of an internet-free life these days. The World Wide Web sounds like a pretty simple phenomenon, but the system is really complicated. It is a collection of massive amount of documents stored on individual servers spread all over the world. These documents and servers are linked through standardized protocols.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) seem similar, but there is a radical difference between these two web protocols. The latter of the two is very strict as far as the rules are concerned. For instance, all its elements should in lower case. On the other hand, HTML has no hard and fast rules, when it comes to producing documents.

The line break tag in HTML is “<BR>”, while the tag is written as “<br>” in the other markup language. There is also difference between how the tag attribute values are mentioned. For instance, the attribute values should have quotes around them in XHTML.

Both systems generate web documents in different ways. Not only are the basic formatting properties different, but there is also a massive difference between their data structuring capacities.


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    HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the simplest method of formatting content on the web. It was initially introduced as a text-only markup system back in 1991. But with time, it went through different phases, and HTML has now evolved significantly.

    The protocol helps the web designer add audio, text, video graphics and interactions to the web pages.

    Image Courtesy: browsers.about.com

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    XHTML is a developed form of HTML. It represents an evolutionary step to make web content easier to locate, analyse and retrieve. It insists that the documents produced with it, follow the rules strictly.

    For example, all its elements must be closed as well as in lower case. The method also ensures that the entire family of its elements is properly nested.

    This markup language system was developed purely to make web browsing easier. It was not perhaps that difficult for the developers. All they did was to add the data structuring capacities of XHTML to the formatting properties of HTML.

    Image Courtesy: flipgraph.com

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