XHTML Essentials

Overview

With Web access becoming available through TV, handheld devices, and even phones, developers need to create sites that can be viewed from different environments, not just from the desktop. Introducing XHTML, the next generation HTML, this practical guide jumpstarts Web developers on the technology that ensures that their Web pages stay true-to-form on any available platform. Using extensive code and real-world examples, XML expert Michael Sauers teaches readers how to apply XHTML quickly and effectively without ...
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Overview

With Web access becoming available through TV, handheld devices, and even phones, developers need to create sites that can be viewed from different environments, not just from the desktop. Introducing XHTML, the next generation HTML, this practical guide jumpstarts Web developers on the technology that ensures that their Web pages stay true-to-form on any available platform. Using extensive code and real-world examples, XML expert Michael Sauers teaches readers how to apply XHTML quickly and effectively without having to become XML programmers first. Readers will learn how to migrate legacy HTML documents to XHTML and create documents and applications for a variety of platforms. Like the other books in the series, an appendix listing will feature where to find updated information, a source code index, and other handy features.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"this is a very practical title" (.Net, January 2002)

"All in all, this book is a very complete and comprehensive guide to web authoring using XHTML and confirms the very high professional level of the Wiley XML Essentials series. The book is warmly recommended to both beginners and advanced webcasters." (EBU Technical Review, January 2002)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471417644
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Series: Wiley XML Essential Series , #2
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 7.55 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Sauers is the Internet Trainer for the Bibliographical Center for Research, a multistate nonprofit regional library consortium. Based in Aurora, Colorado, Michael travels extensively throughout 12 states for BCR training librarians and others how to use the Internet and its related technologies. His classes, offered live and online, range in topic from basic Internet use to Web design and accessible technology. Michael has given presentations at national conferences and has assisted the Library of Congress with the design of its Thomas Web site.

Prior to joining BCR in 1997, Michael was an independent consultant and trainer in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has also worked for the New York State Library and the New York State Assembly. He earned his Masters of Library Science from the University at Albany (SUNY) in 1995.

Michael has published three previous titles, Mastering Microsoft Outlook 2000 (Quessing Courseware Corporation, 1999), Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Advanced Topics (Quessing Courseware Corporation, 2000) and Using the Internet as a Reference Tool: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (NealSchuman, Inc., 2001). His next project is A Collector's Guide to Dean Koontz for Cemetery Dance Publications.

R. Allen Wyke is Vice President of Research and Development at Engage, an e-marketing solutions company. where he works with product managers, product marketers, and engineerers to test, research, and prototype new products in both the online and offline worlds. He has also developed intranet Web pages for a leading telecommunications and networking company, and has worked on several Internet sites.

A resident of Durham, North Carolina, Allen is the author of roughly a dozen books on various Internet technologies, including Perl, JavaScript, PHP, and XML related standards. In the past, he has also written the monthly "Webmaster" column for Unix Insider, and a weekly column, "Integrating Windows and Unix," for ITworld.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage

Welcome to the eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language, XHTML, the next stage in Web page construction. This chapter sets the stage for our journey through XHTML. We start with a brief history of HTML, covering why it was developed, and the many stages it has gone through in the past decade. We then take a look at XML, a necessary component in the development of XHTML. Finally, we discuss why XHTML was developed and it's advantages over HTML.

A Brief History of HTML

The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, a particle physicist at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) laboratories in Switzerland. At CERN in the late 1980s, Berners-Lee recognized that he needed to access a significant number of electronic documents on a regular basis; moreover, many of these documents referenced other documents.

Bemers-Lee was familiar with the Standardized General Markup Language (SGML), a method for coding the structure of electronic documents, which had been around since the early 1980s, but knew that it was too complex for what he wanted to do: code and link his documents. He wanted a system that would allow for the simple coding of such documents, a way to transfer those documents through their networks, and the capability to link documents. Berners-Lee developed HTML to code the documents and the HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP) for moving those documents. His system was launched by CERN in 1991.

HTML 1.0

The first version of HTML was actually quite limited. It established the method of tags, elements, and attributes that are used today. The elements included in HTML 1.0 were title, anchor, isindex, plaintext, listing, paragraph, headings, address, highlighting, definition lists, unordered lists, and menus. The following three symbols were also included: <, >, and &. Special characters (those you can't type on a keyboard) were not.

This first version did not even include images. It was designed purely for displaying and linking text-based documents in text-only browsers, as shown in the following code:

        <TITLE>A sample HTML 1.0 document</TITLE>
        <H1>Hello world!</H1>
        <P>This is an example of a document written in HTML 1.0
        <A href="next.html">next document</A>
       

As restricted as version 1.0 was, it was clear that HTML had great possibilities, and extensions for future HTML versions were quickly recommended. These included a body tag, document linking (not hyperlinks), dates, highlighting, base addresses, fixed-width text with anchors and indenting, ordered lists, link types, character entities (special characters), and comments. Many of these suggestions were addressed quickly. Others, like highlighting, would never appear in HTML (though they would later be implemented in cascading style sheets-CSS).

As the Web and the first version of HTML became popular methods for presenting and linking data on the Internet, it became clear that the development of HTML was too large a project for one man to handle. Thus, further development of HTML was handed over to the recently formed organization, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international group created specifically to recommend standards for all Web-related technologies.

HTML 2.0

It took four years for the next version of HTML to gain approval by the W3C. The release of version 2.0, in 1996, proved that significant steps had been taken to implement many of the recommendations made following the release of the first version; in addition, many other new ideas had been incorporated, including:
  • The text/HTML mime type was added.
  • HTML documents were specified as such with the <html> element, then divided into two sections by the <head> and <body> elements. Support for base addresses with the base attribute, and linked documents with the <link> attribute, were added.
  • The capability to add descriptive information about the document through the <meta> element was added.
  • Physical markup elements were added, including <pre>, <blockquote>, <ol>, <dir>, <b>, <i>, and <u>.
  • Logical markup elements were added, including <cite>, <code>, <em>, <kbd>, <samp>, <strong>, and <var>.
  • Content could be broken up using the <br> and <hr> elements.
  • Using the <img> element, it became possible to insert graphic files into documents.
  • Forms were added so that authors could collect information from their users, then process the submitted data.
  • Character entities were added for inserting special characters into the content of a document.
In short, HTML 2.0 bore a close resemblance to the HTML we use today. Authors were given many more ways of formatting content visually, including the addition of images. This was important because graphical browsers such as NCSA Mosaic and Cello had started to come on the market. Clearly, now that browsers could render text in multiple ways, and display graphics, code was needed to take advantage of that software.

Following is a sample document written in HTML 2.0.

<html> 
<head> 
<TITLE>A sample HTML 2.0 document</TITLE> 
</head> 
<body> 
<hl>Hello world!</hl> 
<p>This is an example of a<br> 
document written in HTML 2.0 
<hr> 
<pre>Here is some preformatted text.</pre> 
<IMG src="Image.gif,,> 
<a href="next.html">next document</a> 
<p>©1996, Michael Sauers 
</body> 
</html>

Still, authors wanted more from HTML; at the same time, browser makers decided that they didn't want to wait for another standard to be developed, so the major browser makers (Microsoft and Netscape) decided to extend HTML on their own. This led to elements and attributes that were supported in one browser but not another. This only helped to further frustrate authors.

HTM L+/3.0

In 1993 and 1996, respectively, HTML+ and HTML 3.0 were both submitted to the W3C. Both were proposals to extend the current HTML 2.0 standard. Though neither was given final approval as a standard, they marked the earliest appearances of some of the future features included as part of the HTML standards. Some of these features became part of the next standard, such as tables; others did not, such as the <fig> element, implemented to create figures (images with captions).

During this time period (1993-1996), the "browser wars" heated up. Netscape's Navigator had become the dominant browser; based on NCSA's Mosaic, it would quickly replace its predecessor. Quick on Navigator's heels, Microsoft released Internet Explorer. In the effort by these two companies to capture market share, each began to offer newer and better features aimed at the HTML author. Each added support for features not in HTML 2.0; some of these worked in both browsers, others in only one or the other. The result was a no-win situation for both the browser makers and HTML authors; the latter became frustrated by the schism. Taking matters in their own hands, many started posting "best viewed with" or "designed for" messages on their sites.

Finally, the W3C decided the best approach was to regroup, take all the browser makers' "suggestions" into consideration, and incorporate them in the next version of HTML....

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Introduction
Acknowledgements
Pt. 1 Introduction to XHTML 1
Ch. 1 Setting the Stage 3
Ch. 2 Getting Started with XHTML 13
Ch. 3 Creating Documents 59
Ch. 4 Converting to and Validating XHTML 81
Ch. 5 Tables 97
Ch. 6 Forms 121
Ch. 7 Frames 161
Ch. 8 Formatting with Style Sheets 181
Ch. 9 JavaScript 211
Pt. II XHTML Essentials 259
Ch. 10 Scripting XHTML Documents 261
Ch. 11 Metadata 297
Ch. 12 Events 313
Ch. 13 XHTML Basic 329
Ch. 14 Looking Ahead 347
App. A XHTML Element Quick Reference 357
App. B: Resources 363
Index 367
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