For the faithful among you who’ve read Chapter 14 of “The Book” – and should all have read it by now, you know that at some point, further industrialization of the web will compel most if not all of us to give up our horse-n-buggies in favor of the automobile. HTML being the old nag, and XHTML being the kit car version of the Lamborghini Countach (hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big).
Yeah, I know, “my page aint broke, why fix it?” Tim Berners-Lee (the true inventor of the Interenet, not Mr. Gore), is quoted as saying “XHTML 1.0 connects the present Web to the future Web, It provides the bridge to page and site authors for entering the structured data, XML world, while still being able to maintain operability with user agents that support HTML 4.” In other words, we want your pages to start looking and feeling like XML the same way we want everyone here in the States to drive on the right side of the road and to stop on red.
“But what about my needs” you may be asking? Good question. By moving towards XML-ish documents, well eventually, by moving towards bona-fide XML documents, we separate content from formatting. Pages become data-driven. Output format is determined by the client. Or so the theory goes. It also means you can aim the same data at a computerized target with the same ease as a carbon-based creature. Either way, resistance is futile, you will be subsumed.
That said, I know the anxiety such paradigm shifting pronouncements must inspire in the hearts of many of you maintaining your church’s website. And given some of the complexities of XHTML, I’d say some of your fears are to a small degree warranted. Still, this is a doable thing provided you start doing your homework now instead of the night before the exam. You can start by studying this: Kosmoi: Introduction to XHTML: Why do we need XHTML?.