Mink Machine

XHTML2 bites the dust

XHTML was the new black a decade ago and a lot of loud people said it was the best thing since sliced bread. Even though it wasn’t half bad, it had one important culprit: it was allowed to be served as text/html instead of only application/xml. There are many reasons for that design, the main one being that Internet Explorer doesn’t support application/xml which would break the web for most people.

During the last years we’ve seen the fierce battle between XHTML2 and HTML5, the new kids on the block. Instead of the Browser Wars, we now had the Standards Civil War. This may sound as silly as the plot of Transformers to many people, but I know a lot of guys who are dead serious about the matter. I’ve tried to stay out of the discussions since it resembles a religious battle. That kind of debating usually never ends until someone dies, since it is mostly based upon faith instead of facts.

But a few days ago there was a post from W3C that the XHTML2 Working Group will stop working by the end of 2009 to focus on HTML5. Banzai.

What does this mean for all the developers who use XHTML, which has been a W3C recommendation for ten years? Not much. HTML5 will still need many years in the oven. Until then XHTML1 will remain a perfectly valid spec and no one will get shot for using HTML4 either.

A very good thing is that the specification creators now have a common goal, instead of wasting time while fighting about whether strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream.

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