developerWorks article on XHTML 2

Why I like XHTML 2.

IBM developerWorks has just published an article I wrote called Put XHTML 2 to work now. I originally called it "XHTML 2: Useful Now", the idea being that it's worth doing some work with it now instead of waiting for it to become a Recommendation. They thought that this title might give the impression of "it's finally become useful", so I let them change it.

This quote sums up the main idea of the article:

Many publishers that store content in XML have always known that using an existing, standard schema (by which I mean a W3C Schema, a RELAX NG schema, or a DTD) was better than creating their own from scratch. They looked at DocBook and found it too complex; they looked at HTML or XHTML 1 and found it too simple. For many of them, XHTML 2 will hit a sweet spot between the richness of DocBook and the simplicity of XHTML 1 that makes it a perfectly good format for storing content, whether that content has to be converted to other formats for delivery in various media or not.


XHTML 2 will hit a sweet spot between the richness of DocBook and the simplicity of XHTML 1

I wonder if you the work that the DocBook SubCommittee for Publisher is currently undertaking will be able to reduce (or, if you wanted to be kind, reduce in the culinary sense) DocBook's richness into a useful, approachable subset?

[Disclosure: I'm a subcommittee member]

"Useful to whom" is always the difficult question when subsetting something that has lots of features for a wide variety of people, because it can be customized for some at the expense of others. Given the committee name, I assume you've already determined the audience for your subset, which is an important first step. I was a big fan of Simplified Docbook ( down as I write this), which has been around for a few years.

Plug: Moving Toward XHTML 2.0, my ODF slide deck on how XHTML 2 works. Also available in Powerpoint and PDF.

I’ve put XHTML2 to use in a commercial environment (read: company website and product documentation) for exactly these reasons. Had pretty good experiences with that, although it would have been nice if there was a WYSIWYG editor (or maybe rather WYSIWYM or whatever is the hip word nowadays).

It was output to four different formats, with XSLT to HTML, XHTML+AJAX and Microsoft CHM files, and PDF using PrinceXML.