HTML is by far the most preferred web language by web designers. They cannot do without HTML. Developers also need HTML tags to place their code in a web page. With web development getting very popular, HTML4 gave way to XHTML which was stricter with the tags and preferred by developers. For the same reason many developers found it too inconvenient and hence HTML5 is more in use than XHTML. Further W3C supports HTML5 and not XHTML.
XHTML is Extensible HyperText Markup Language. Though not much in use and not supported by most browsers, XHTML has some advantages over HTML5. Some of the main features of XHTML are:
Strict tags. Once opened, the tag has to be explicitly closed.
Extensible, is used as an application of XML
Interoperable – can interact easily with other data formats
HTML5 is more popular among developers and W3C for building web pages. The main advantages HTML5 has over XHTML are:
Tags can be loosely coded. Not very strict on closing tags
Doctype is much simpler than XHTML and HTML
Content developers do not have to bother about styling. The font and other styling factors have to be managed separately with CSS. HTML5 is bothered only about the content.
Online validation tools available
Better integration with 3rd party tools and CSS
HTML5 Vs XHTML
Easy to learn and teach – Though HTML5 seems to be winning the race currently, it is still much easier to learn and teach XHTML.
Easy Maintenance – Similarly maintaining an XHTML page is much easier than HTML5.
Doctype tag – The ‘doctype’, which is the main tag used in both HTML5 and XTHML, is much simpler to use in HTML5.
Compatibility – HTML5 is compatible with all browsers while XHTML is not
Case Sensitive – HTML5 is not case-sensitive while XHTML is
Closing Tags – HTML5 is not very strict about closing tags while XHTML is
Styling – All styling elements like font and size are taken care of by the CSS in HTML5 while in XHTML the content developer has to manage styling also.
Media integration – Better media integration with HTML5 than XHTML
Mobility – HTML5 is compatible for mobile phone browsers while XHTML looks better on computer screen.
With more advantageous features, HTML5 definitely seems to be winning the race. Yet depending on the company’s requirement, XHTML can be a better choice since it is easier to teach, learn and manage. The stricter tags can save a lot of web time and validations with XHTML if media support is not required.
The experienced web developers would prefer to stick to XHTML owing to the ease of maintenance. On the other side, the newer developers would definitely prefer the latest version HTML5 since it gives them freedom from closing tags and content styling.