Re: Start with HTML or XHTML? (slightly OT)

by "Darrell King" <darrell(at)>

 Date:  Wed, 13 Mar 2002 08:23:01 -0500
 To:  <hwg-techniques(at)>
 References:  hotmail
  todo: View Thread, Original
I have taught Continuing Education classes as well as looked over the
shoulder of current college students many times over the past few years.

My students learned more in the 6-week classes I taught that the college
students did in their classes.  It seemed like the college-level curriculums
were 2 years behind the times.  I felt sorry for those graduating in 2001
with a complete and thorough understanding of HTML 3.2 and NN3.0 or IE
4.0...and no time at all spent on CSS or newer browsers.

XHTML is simply a more structured version of HTML 4.  The major difference
from a teaching perspective is the heavier emphasis on CSS when using XHTML.

Since at least a passing familiarity with table layouts and font tags might
be advantageous for another year or so, I'd suggest a spread of about:

* 25% XHTML Transitional with emphasis on using deprecated tags and some
historical background on browser wars and compatibility issues...

* 75% XHTML Strict with a good deal of emphasis on CSS (separating structure
and presentation) and a peek ahead at XHTML Basic, XML and the growing
proliferation of alternative platforms, such as wireless.

Throughout the whole thing, you might frequently touch on the tentative
balance achieved by the tugging of accessibility and universal access on one
side and commercialization on the other.  The constant need to balance eye
candy with accessibility.

Now that I've made your simple question way too complex, I'll bow out and


----- Original Message -----
From: "LSN Bluff" <lsnbluff(at)>

As a web development instructor at a community college, I plan the courses
for our students.

I'm asking experienced developers for your opinions on what you would
recommend a beginning web developer learn FIRST these days. (We all know
that you never stop learning in this field...) Would you recommend that a
beginner start with HTML and later transition to XHTML? OR would you
recommend that the beginner start coding pages using XHTML syntax right from
the start?

Thanks in advance for your opinions!

Terry Felke

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