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Internet Librarian International. Birmingham, UK. Authoring Web Sites in XHTML . Darlene Fichter [email protected] University of Saskatchewan Library Canada . 26 March, 2003. Overview. Frameworks Portlets Why use XHTML? XHTML syntax How XHTML differs from HTML XHTML and CSS

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Authoring web sites in xhtml l.jpg

Internet Librarian International

Birmingham, UK

Authoring Web Sites in XHTML

Darlene Fichter

[email protected]

University of Saskatchewan Library


26 March, 2003

Overview l.jpg

  • Frameworks

  • Portlets

  • Why use XHTML?

  • XHTML syntax

    • How XHTML differs from HTML

  • XHTML and CSS

  • XHTML tools

Slide7 l.jpg

Static HTML

hand coding


Web Page

Tag Editors

HTML, Forms,

Client Side Scripts

Web Services

Portals & Personalization

“My Library”

Objects - XML


Management Tools

Distributed Authoring

Portals & Portlets

Web Services


Web Site

Dynamic / Database



Authoring & workflow

Content challenges in 2003 document collections l.jpg
Content Challenges in 2003: Document Collections

  • Storage & Management

    • Content

    • Structure

  • Work

    • Ease of use

    • Ease of creation

    • Good retrieval

Service challenges l.jpg
Service Challenges

  • Just in Time

    • Repackaging

  • Over the Long Term

    • Preservation

    • Migration

Slide10 l.jpg

  • Simple, general-purpose document markup language

  • Simple hyperlinking

  • Designed for collaborative authoring

  • Combined authoring and viewing roles

Html strengths l.jpg
HTML Strengths

  • Open standard

  • Lots of tools and applications

  • Easy and cheap

  • Rapidly adopted

Html weaknesses l.jpg
HTML Weaknesses

  • Not extensible

  • Supports only “simple” document types

  • Mixes presentation and structure

  • Cross-browser wars

Slide13 l.jpg

  • More meaningful searches

  • Flexible web applications

    • data from disparate sources/applications

    • client processing

    • multiple views

    • granular updates

  • Open standard

  • Unicode

  • Hope --> good for web delivery

What is xhtml l.jpg
What is XHTML?

  • Called “Next generation” HTML

  • HTML that conforms to XML standards

  • Will eventually support integration with other XML applications

  • Device independent web access

Why use xhtml l.jpg
Why use XHTML?

  • Most documents on the Internet are in HTML – this is the logical next step

  • Simpler than XML for most authors

  • XHTML documents are XML compliant, which allows you to use XML tools such as XSL

  • Future -- XHTML easier than HTML with the next generation of browsers

Why do we need xhtml l.jpg
Why do We Need XHTML?

  • Both HTML and SGML have major drawbacks.

  • XML’s use for encoding web documents is still at early stages of adoption

Benefits of adoption l.jpg
Benefits of Adoption

  • Easier to develop software

    • handle specialized information distributed over the Web

  • Process data using inexpensive software

  • Allows greater end-user control of information display

    • stylesheets

  • Metadata for resource discovery

Xhtml what does it take l.jpg
XHTML - What does it take?

  • All documents must have a doctype declaration

    • The transitional doctype declaration--

      <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">

  • Head and body

  • Syntax

Xhtml 3 variations l.jpg
XHTML – 3 Variations

  • Strict

    • <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "">

    • Used when CSS is used for all your formatting

  • Transitional

    • <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">

  • Frameset

    • <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN" "">

Syntax lower case l.jpg
Syntax: Lower case

  • Case matters

    • HTML:

      <Title> or <TITLE> or <title>

    • XHTML:


Syntax attributes l.jpg
Syntax: Attributes

  • Attributes must be quoted

    • HTML

      <p class=quotes>

    • XHTML

      <p class=“quotes”>

Syntax close elements l.jpg
Syntax: Close Elements

  • All tags must be closed

    • HTML:

      <p>Le chien dort. <p>La chat joue.

    • XHTML:

      <p>Le chien dort. </p><p>La chat joue.</p>

Syntax empty elements l.jpg
Syntax: Empty Elements

  • Empty elements must be terminated

    • HTML:


    • XHTML:

      <br />

Elements must be nested l.jpg
Elements Must Be Nested








Scripts l.jpg

  • <script> and <style> tags must be marked as CDATA


    <!-- <![CDATA]


    ]]> - ->


Tip: Place your scripts in a external file.

Use entities for all ampersands l.jpg
Use entities for all ampersands

  • <a href="">

  • <a href="; id=9">

Style sheets xhtml l.jpg
Style Sheets & XHTML

  • The use of external style sheets is recommended

    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=“lib.css" />

  • The type attribute is mandatory for <style> tag – text/css

  • Enclose inline styles with <![CDATA[ and the ending tag ]]>

Find out more xhtml syntax l.jpg
Find Out More: XHTML syntax

  • W3C

  • XHTML: le web devient coopératif




  • Darlene Fichter. “Web Authoring in XHTML”. ONLINE Magazine November/December 2002


What about conversion l.jpg
What about conversion?

  • HTMLTidy


Resources for conversion l.jpg
Resources for Conversion

  • Converting HTML documents to XHTML by Bejoy Alex Jaison

  • Roy Tennant. XML for Libraries. Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2002.

Xhtml validators l.jpg
XHTML Validators

  • Validator


Typical web author l.jpg
Typical Web Author

XHTML is available in standard tools

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver

  • HTML-Kit

  • Macromedia HomeSite 5

  • NoteTab Pro

Content provider l.jpg
Content Provider

  • Usually authoring in Word

    • Import in Dreamweaver

    • Run it through a program like HTML TIDY

Slide34 l.jpg

New York Public Library

Major project l.jpg
Major Project

  • Consider the value of the content over the long term

  • Likelihood of delivery to “appliances”

  • If there is an XML “dialect”, use it

  • If not, use XHTML (ideally XML rendered as XHTML)

Example law cases l.jpg
Example: Law Cases

  • 1994

    • 527 law cases edited, and formatted as HTML

    • rigourous coding rules, poor validation

    • Cost: $150,000

  • 2001

    • converted to XML, DTD creation, enhanced, rendered as XHTML

    • Cost: $15,000

  • Future

    • Cost < $300

Canadian Native Law Cases


Developers l.jpg

  • Repackaging, reuse, migration, archiving

  • Code

    • How long will this content be around?

    • Always wise to separate presentation from content

  • Decision/Balance

    • Short term pain/effort vs. long term gain?

Xhtml amp you l.jpg
XHTML &amp; You

  • XHTML will make your life a little more challenging

  • XHTML will make your computer happier (eventually)

Silver bullets xhtml xml l.jpg
Silver Bullets? XHTML / XML

  • No! In fact, these new choices just raise some interesting challenges

  • Only certainty is change

Content will outlive devices!

Thank you l.jpg
Thank you!