Difference between XHTML and HTML 5

People who are just starting out on the web often say that they have trouble identifying the difference between HTML 5 and XHTML. There is sometimes a lack of clarity on which of these languages is best for a beginner. It is not surprising that such misunderstanding continues to exist, given that both XHTML and HTML 5 serve, more or less, the same purpose.

Go through this article to get an overview of XHTML and HTML 5 and learn how these two markup languages differ from each other.

What is XHTML?

XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language. The Internet has advanced to the point where this is the next logical stage in its development. The initial document type that belongs to the XHTML family is called XHTML 1.0.

There are just a few key changes between XHTML and HTML 4.01, which are otherwise essentially similar. This version of HTML 4.01 is more organized and adheres to more standards. If you are already familiar with HTML, then learning this most recent version of HTML will need very little effort on your part.

Why Should You Use XHTML?

Developers of websites and the people who make web browsers are always coming up with innovative methods to communicate their thoughts by creating new markup languages.

When working with XML, adding new elements or extra element properties is a pretty straightforward process. The XHTML family is intended to support these expansions by providing XHTML modules and methods for generating new XHTML-conforming module development approaches.

When it comes to generating content and building new user agents, these modules make it possible to combine previously developed features with newly developed ones. Documents written in XHTML are considered to be XML compliant because it is simple to browse, modify, and verify them using standard XML tools.

Example of XHTML

Here's a sample XHTML code −

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
   <title> Title </title>
   Body Part


Body Part

What is HTML 5?

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard computer language for defining the contents and look of Webpages. HTML 5 is the most recent version of HTML.

HTML 5 was created in order to resolve compatibility issues that were present in the previous version of the standard, HTML4. One of the most significant distinctions between HTML 5 and its earlier versions is that prior versions of HTML call for the use of proprietary plugins and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Why Should You Use HTML5?

Support for multimedia content on mobile devices is one of the design objectives for HTML 5, which aims to be more mobile-friendly overall. New syntactic features, such as video, audio, and canvas tags, have been developed in order to provide support for this.

Additionally, HTML5 includes new capabilities that may significantly alter the way users interact with documents, including the following examples −

  • New rules for parsing to allow for more flexibility

  • New characteristics

  • The removal of characteristics that have become obsolete or unnecessary

  • Offline editing features that allow for dragging and dropping content from one HTML5 document to another

  • Messaging upgrades

  • A comprehensive set of rules for the MIME parsing and the protocol handler registration

Example of HTML5

Take a look at the following HTML5 code −

<!DOCTYPE html>
      <a href="#">a tag <a>


a tag

Difference between XHTML and HTML5

The following table highlights the major differences between XHTML and HTML5 −

Basis of Comparison
Developed by
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Collaboration between Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Case Sensitivity
Case sensitive
Not case sensitive
Features and Benefits
A format that is a hybrid of HTML and XML. 
It establishes a standard for online pages that ensures they may be displayed correctly in browsers that support XHTML. 
Pages written in XHTML may be changed and formatted with relative ease, and they need little to no upkeep. It provides a format that is both well-structured and uniform, making it possible for all web browsers to swiftly process and interpret the format. 
Applets and scripts are examples of programmers that may be used inside XHTML texts. These apps need either the HTML document object model or the XML document object model in order to function properly. Using an XML tool, the documents may be seen in addition to being updated and verified.
Users are granted the ability to move items around on a single site by dragging and dropping them from one spot to another. Users of a variety of online apps are granted the ability to disclose their whereabouts using geolocation. 
Server-Sent Events, sometimes known as SSE, is a function included in HTML5 that enables events to flow to web browsers from web servers. We refer to these kinds of events as "Server delivered events." New elements − There have been a number of new components introduced, including a "header," "footer," and "section." Microdata − With the help of this capability, users may expand the semantic scope of web pages beyond what is possible with HTML5 and construct their own vocabularies.
There must be adequate tag nesting. 
Attributes and tags in XHTML must be written using lowercase letters. 
The DOCTYPE declaration is an essential part of every XHTML document. An id attribute must be used in lieu of a name attribute. The language property of the script tag is not acceptable to me.
Uppercase tag name. 
Attribute values are optional. 
Closure of empty elements is optional Quotes are optional for attributes. 
Provides tags like <script> and <link> and Document tags like Figure, Nav, and Article
The essential properties are the class, id, style, and title. 
The language characteristics provide the language that was utilized. 
It has Microsoft-proprietary features such as accesskey, language, tabindex, hidefocus, and a variety of others.
Align is a function that may be used to align tags to the right, left, or center. 
Hidden − Indicates whether or not the element should be hidden from view
 Itemprop − Short for item grouping prop.
Tabindex is a specification that determines the tab order of any element. Data- − Assists in the customization of characteristics and enables the author to specify those attributes himself.


HTML, HTML5, and XHTML are all markup languages, with each one including their own unique subset of capabilities. HTML is the most widely used of the three.

XHTML and HTML5 are both considered to be enhanced variants of the HTML4 markup language. XHTML was meant to combine certain elements of XML, however with the creation of HTML5, we saw a variety of substantial enhancements that make it the best markup language of the three, as well as the one that is by far the most extensively used one today.

It is advised that those who are just beginning their journey into web design forego XHTML and HTML4 and instead focus their attention on studying HTML5 due to the widespread use of this language and the improved capabilities it offers.

Updated on: 29-Jul-2022


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