Next-Generation HTML on Its Way
Last month, the W3C published the first public working draft of the next generation of HTML, XHTML 2.0. (Never mind that XHTML 1.0 hasnt caught on yet.)
XHTML 2.0 uses the same modular structure defined in XHTML Modularization 1.0, so small devices can support just a subset of XHTML, but it introduces big changes in tag syntax. It deprecates the ubiquitous <br> and <img> tags in favor of a new <line> element and a generalization of <object>. It includes a new <nl> element for building hierarchical navigation lists, a generic header tag <h> that allows for nested document sections (the writing is on the wall for <h1> to <h6>) and allows any element to have a link attribute (so the practice of using anchor tags will gradually disappear).
XHTML 2.0 adds a Document Object Model binding for XML documents (XML Events), a method for annotating text in East Asian characters and a new XML-based forms model. The new forms module (XForm 1.0) provides strong data typing of entered data, submission of data in XML format and separation of a forms input elements from its visual appearance. These changes in XHTML 2.0 will be a big step forward for businesses maintaining Web-based applications.