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WebKit is about as modern a browser as it gets, supporting nearly every approved web standard we have; the only other browser engine that comes close is the Trident browsing engine used in many of Opera’s browsers. The challenge with today’s browsers is for the first time, desktop browser makers are ahead of the W3C, implementing standards that are being discussed by the W3C working groups but not yet finalized. My hope would be that by the time you read this book, the specifications for HTML5 or XHTML2 (as well as CSS3) will have been finalized, but I’m not going to hold my breath. The debate and discussion of these new standards has been going on for ages, and innovation simply can’t wait for the final specification to be handed down. This means that browser makers are moving forward implementing what and how they think is the best way to go about it, then reporting their findings back to the working groups—WebKit included.

XHTML

When the HTML standard was published in 1990, it was designed for formatting and laying out elements on the screen contextually. For the most part, it was logical, but there were some exceptions that made parsing it quirky. For instance, the open line-break tag <br> did not need to be closed.

A few years later, the similar XML syntax standard for marking up data semantically came out. Because the structure and content of the data is unknown, XML is much stricter about its structure.

Though the two formats look syntactically similar, they have different ...

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