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From: Terence de Giere
Date: Jun 29, 2005 8:43PM


"Thomas Jedenfelt" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

2) Cell phones (always?, most often?) use XHTML.

Cell phones may not support XHTML at all, and some with full function browsers like the Opera browser, can fully support HTML. In between there are phones with 'microbrowsers' that support XHTML or a subset of XHTML. XHTML has fewer complexities than HTML for rendering software because a number of space-saving routines in SGML (from which HTML is derived) are removed, making rendering software simpler. For example in HTML you can omit the ending </p> tag but it is required in XHTML. The parser for HTML has to scan ahead and figure out where the paragraph ended to correctly render a page, but in XHTML the end of the paragraph is strictly defined, so the renderer doesn't have to solve any ambiguities. At the most limited bandwidth end of phones that support Internet connectivity is the use of WML (wireless markup language).

A number of cell phone manufacturers voiced support for XHTML a couple of years back as being the best solution for a small device. XHTML is a considerable improvement over the more limited WML. XHTML offers extensibility which HTML does not provide. While WML is in theory extensible, XHTML offers the advantage of being able to use the same code, or almost the same code for all devices. Some services provide reformatting of HTML pages (on an intermediate server) to a form usable by particular cell phones. XHTML seems to be where everything is headed.

Another thing to consider is in the current environment of security threats - using old browsers is a liability, and the trend is constant patches of current versions of browsers to stay ahead of intruders. This can be a strain for the disabled, as they often have fewer resources to update technology, but staying current is the only way to go online and not be wide open to attack. This goes for cell phone users as well. XHTML offers the simplest path for development because it is forward compatible and is garnering wide support.

ISO HTML is backward compatible and accessible to a great degree; XHTML is forward compatible to a great degree, and depending on which features you use, XHTML can also be backward compatible and very accessible.

Terence de Giere