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55 reasons to design in XHTML

In no particular order 55 reasons for me to do “tableless” websites using valid XHTML for markup, CSS for layout and Flash sparingly, only as an ingredient. By tableless I mean avoiding tables (or a tagsoup of unnecessary divs substituting table trs and tds) for layout purposes and aiming towards as semantic markup as possible. Some of the reasons are “over HTML", some “over Flash full monty” and some over both.

I know this topic has been discussed a plenty, I just needed to reaffirm myself :)

Here we go:

  1. You can get free links from showcase sites like zengarden, stylegala, cssimport or cssbeauty
  2. You don’t have to spend extra thought and time deciding on styling the mark up of your document (upper- or lowercase, quotes or no quotes on attributes)
  3. You don’t need to spend extra thought on which tags should be closed and which can (or should) be left open
  4. You “help” the search engines to deliver more relevant content using semantic markup
  5. You can save in bandwidth costs and visitors will see them faster by making slimmer pages
  6. It’s going to be easier for you to switch to XHTML 2.0 which will give you more semantic tools
  7. Once you’ve practised enough, coding pages becomes a whole lot simpler and faster than any table/tr/td tagsoup
  8. When the coding is faster you can spend more time on thinking about the user experience
  9. Thinking about semantics of a document helps you to make design and information architecture decisions
  10. You can quickly make a dummy site to test your sites information architecture and append a look and feel later with only minor code changes
  11. You can do the design after most of the backend is done which will help your client (or boss) to think realistically about how much work is still needed
  12. It’s possible to link directly to your content pages (compared to Flash)
  13. browser controls like text-size and back and forward buttons work (compared to Flash)
  14. Redesigns and realigns over the whole site are simpler
  15. it’s simpler to make small last minute changes to your designs
  16. Clean markup makes it easier or even unnecessary to build a CMS
  17. Clean markup makes it easier for another developer to jump on board
  18. You can make the backend almost totally independently from the frontend design, by completely different person
  19. You have plenty of ways to play with the markup trying to optimize for search engines, without affecting visible layout
  20. You have total control on print layouts of your pages
  21. Your sites are automatically accessible to all kinds of browsers
  22. Promoting web standards will help your work in the future, not having to code differently to each browser
  23. With all elemets closed you mark up look cleaner
  24. Well-formed code ensures your site works in more browsers
  25. Well-formed code would help browser coders to spend more time on useful features than rendering engines that try to understand borken code
  26. Your website will work in future browsers
  27. Your website works in mobile (and other new) devices
  28. You learn the basics of XML which has many other uses
  29. CSS files are saved in browser cache for fast retrieval and less bandwidth use
  30. Your documents are easy to convert back and forth another format using XSLT
  31. Thinking semantics makes you think more about the content
  32. Learning semantics makes you appreciate organization and write your other documents (even emails) in more organized way
  33. You can write new technologies in your CV or portfolio
  34. Modern browsers render a valid document faster
  35. You feel better about yourself when you are making sites “the right way”
  36. They are doing it: Dan Cederholm, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, Shaun Inman, Cameron Moll, Douglas Bowman, Dave Shea…
  37. You will belong in a “movement", make good contacts etc.
  38. You learn to appreciate newer browsers which makes for more competition and later for better browsers
  39. Blink tag is gone
  40. Strict coding makes you learn to see mistakes quicker
  41. You can aim to making some money writing a book about it
  42. There are more job opportunities if you know these new ways
  43. You learn better to understand how a browser works
  44. You can use hacks and techniques with cool names like “be nice to Opera”
  45. you start to care more about metadata, document and character types
  46. With more people making slimmer pages, the amount of data moving in the whole web will be smaller and all connections faster
  47. XHTML has a cooler name than HTML
  48. There are more people thinking about the advantages and disadvantages and coding tricks of XHTML which makes for a bigger learning forum
  49. You can use basically same markup template for many different websites
  50. Learning to read and write it fast makes it possible to use cheaper tools (notepad)
  51. Google knows this:
    • 4,380,000 xhtml better than html > 4,370,000 html better than xhtml
    • 206 “xhtml is better than html” > 87 “html is better than xhtml”
    • 2,130,000 xhtml sucks < 10,300,000 html sucks
  52. When all browsers start to understand the correct MIME-type (xml), you don’t have to convert all your websites from html, just to switch to correct MIME
  53. By more people using xhtml you ensure that in the future IE will need to understand the correct MIME-type
  54. Accessibility is enforced with requiring Alt attribute for images
  55. There just aren’t this many reasons to use HTML or entirely Flash instead