Recognizing the inherent limitations in mobile browsing, and seeking to promote a standard content model for those devices, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has defined a reduced version of XHTML that caters to these devices. Known as XHTML Basic, this version of XHTML defines a standard set of tags that are sufficient for creating effective content for mobile devices, yet are simple enough to ensure that they will be consistently adopted across a wide range of mobile browsers.

Be forewarned: just because a standard supports mobile devices doesn’t mean that a browser will. Often hardware limitations prevent implementation.

Supported Tags

XHTML Basic is best addressed as several groups of tags that together define a minimal but useful version of XHTML.

Basic content

XHTML Basic wouldn’t work if it didn’t support the four core tags that define any document: <html>, <head>, <title>, and <body>. You should never write a document without these tags, of course, and you should use them to delimit your document accordingly.

More complicated document structure is not supported. XHTML Basic specifically excludes frames and layers from mobile web devices.

Within the document body, XHTML Basic supports a core set of text-structural tags, including the six heading tags (<h1> through <h6>), <br>, <p>, <pre>, and <blockquote>. These are sufficient to create flows of text that are organized into paragraphs and blocks of text and are identified by headings at various levels, which makes ...

Get HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.