XHTML Essentials

XHTML Essentials

by Michael Sauers, Mike Fitzgerald, R. Allen Wyke
The complete how-to guide to moving Web development from the desktop to wireless technologies

XHTML Essentials

Need to migrate your HTML documents to wireless and other platforms in a hurry, but don't have the time to master XML? Then XHTML is the answer, and this book shows you how to use it.

Quickly and painlessly, Michael Sauers and R. Allen Wyke get you up


The complete how-to guide to moving Web development from the desktop to wireless technologies

XHTML Essentials

Need to migrate your HTML documents to wireless and other platforms in a hurry, but don't have the time to master XML? Then XHTML is the answer, and this book shows you how to use it.

Quickly and painlessly, Michael Sauers and R. Allen Wyke get you up to speed on everything you need to know to use this powerful new tool to ensure that your documents stay true-to-form on virtually any platform. Using extensive code examples and real-world examples, they teach you, step-by-step, how to migrate legacy HTML documents to XHTML documents and how to create new documents and applications for handheld, wireless, mobile, and other environments.

Like all the books in the critically acclaimed XML Essentials series, XHTML Essentials features:
* Loads of source code and working examples
* A down-to-earth, accessible style and tone geared to professional developers
* Helpful listing of where to find updated information and rap with experts
* A CD-ROM containing all the source code from the book
* A companion Web site with links to resources, experts, newsgroups, and newsletters

The CD-ROM contains all the source code and examples from the book.

The companion Web site features links to resources, experts, newsgroups, and newsletters.

Wiley Computer Publishing
Timely. Practical. Reliable.

Visit our Web site at www.wiley.com/compbooks/
Visit the companion Web site at www.wiley.com/compbooks/sauers

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)

Product Details

Publication date:
Wiley XML Essential Series, #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.55(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.99(d)

Related Subjects

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.

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

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....

Meet the Author

MICHAEL SAUERS is the Internet trainer for the Bibliographical Center for Research. He also trains librarians throughout twelve states on the Internet and related technologies. His other books include Mastering Microsoft Outlook 2000, Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Advanced Topics, and Using the Internet as a Reference Tool.
R. ALLEN WYKE is Vice President of Research and Development at Engage, an Internet marketing company. He was the Webmaster columnist for SunWorld, and contributed a weekly column on Integrating Windows and Unix to Itworld.com. He has written several books on Internet technologies, including Perl, JavaScript, and PHP.

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