HTML and CSS Reference
16.5.4. Time, Money, and Standards
XHTML was developed as an XML representation of the HTML standard.
It is intended, going forward, to become the single standard everyone
should use to create content for the Web.
In a perfect world, standards are universally adopted and used. Full
compliance is required of any document before it is placed on the Web.
Conversion of legacy documents is done immediately.
In the real world, a shortage of time and money prevents the universal
use of standards. Under pressure to quickly deliver something that
works, developers turn out pages that work only well enough. Because
browsers allow second-rate content to exist on the Web, the need
to comply with a standard becomes a secondary issueone that is too
quickly ignored in the dizzying pace of web development.
16.5.5. Man Versus Machine
All is not lost, however. While XHTML is painful and tedious for humans
to create, it is quite easy for machines to create. The number of web-
authoring tools continues to increase, and the pages created by these
machines should be completely XHTML compliant. While it doesn't make
much economic sense for a web author to spend a lot of time getting all
those end tags in the right spot, it does make sense for the programmer
developing an authoring tool to ensure that the tool generates all those
correct end tags. The effort the web author expends is leveraged exactly
once for each page; the effort of the tool creator is leveraged over and
over, each time the tool produces a new page.
It seems that the real future of XHTML lies in the realm of machine-gen-
erated content. XHTML is far too picky to be successfully used by the
millions of casual web authors who create small sites. However, if those
same authors use a tool to create their pages, they could be generating
XHTML-compliant pages and never even know it.
If you are among that small community of developers who create tools
that generate HTML output, you are doing a great disservice to your