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Internet Basics
   About the Internet
   About Web Browsers
   Why Domain Names

Getting Started
   HTML vs XHTML
   Making Webpage Files
   Naming Webpage Files

HTML Basics
   About HTML Tags
   Basic HTML Page
   DTDs and Doctype Tags
   Spaces and New Lines
   Special Characters
   Bold, Italics, More
   Writing Headlines
   Adding Links
   Making Lists
   Comments in HTML

Images and Colors
   How to Add Images
   Sources of Images
   Image File Formats
   Optimizing Images
   Color in HTML & CSS
   "Web-safe" Color Chart

More Advanced HTML
   Making Tables
   Formatting with Tables
   Making Forms
   Using Imagemaps
   Using Frames
   Meta Tags

Cascading Style Sheets
   Intro to CSS
   Ways to include CSS
   Some Useful CSS
   CSS Hover for Links

More
   Promoting Your Site
   How-To's Homepage
   Links

HTML vs XHTML

XHTML - eXtensible HyperText Markup Language is poised to replace HTML - plain old HyperText Markup Language the original core language which is the heart of every web page.

XHTML is really HTML forced to conform to XML (eXtenisible Markup Language) rules. XML is commonly used in web applications and services. The strict rules allow better automation of data processing, but even with plain static webpages, adherence to the rules makes it more likely that the page will display correctly in all browsers.

If you are just learning web design then do it right and start with XHTML. If you already know HTML don't worry - you almost know XHTML. You may have a few old coding habits to break and a few new ones to learn that's about it.

The average web surfer will not notice any difference between XHTML and HTML pages. Older browsers should have no problem with XHTML, to them it just looks like stricter, well-formed HTML.

On the other hand for newer browsers and other devices, including pdas, cell-phones, and screen readers for the blind using XHTML increases compatibility and allows them to better interpret web pages and make them more accessible. This is good news if you care about reaching your full potential audience.

What's changed?

XHTML requires a doctype to be specified. See DTD article in HTML Basics.

All tags and attributes must be written in lower case. All attribute values must have quotes around them, either " or ' will work as long as you use the same character to end the quote as you did to start it. See Tags article in HTML Basics.

All tags must be closed, even non-container ones like img, br, and hr. There is a special shorthand for this. So instead of having to write <br></br> you can simply write <br />. As long as you put the blank space between the end of the tag and the closing /> older browsers have no trouble understanding this.

Tags who's closing was optional in HTML, but that contain data are closed as you should expect. For example a list item would properly be <li>Some Item </li>.

All tags must be properly nested, but this has always been part of the rules even if some browsers have been lax about it.

Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to format your text. The font tag is gone from XHTML. CSS for things like text size and colors is easier to maintain and update than font tags anyways, so rejoice.

Use of CSS for positioning page layouts instead of using tables to do so is increasing, and often vehemently recommended. It has its benefits and its headaches. I am still deciding on a case-by-case site-by-site basis how much of each to use.