One of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your web pages will be accessible is to code them using standards based markup. Coding to standards will reduce development and maintenance costs, make your content more flexible, and ensure your pages will be more ‘future compliant’.
But which standard should you adopt – surely the one thing we can be sure of is that standards are always changing and being ‘upgraded’
Well here’s a wee tip: there is one standard you can rely on to never change (apart from bug fixes) and that is HTML 4.01.
In a sea of changing and unpredictable variables, there are few rocks for you to base the building of your site on – but marking up the content of your site using valid HTML 4.01 is one.
So should you code your pages using HTML 4.01 or make the leap to XHTML or XML, HTML5? That is up to you to decide, but consider this quote from Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web and director of the W3C ,
“I think HTML 4.0 will be a standard which you will be able to read in 200 years time. There is so much HTML. There is also enough investment in it that any new format will have ways of moving an HTML website into that format. But — do use standard HTML!! If you use some proprietary version then you could be stuck with material which makes no sense in 200 years time — or 20. ” Tim Berners-Lee. http://www.time.com/time/community/transcripts/1999/092999berners-lee.html