1. Introduction

1.1. What is xhtml2to1?

It is a set of XSLT stylesheets for publishing XHTML 2.0 documents, converting it to the XHTML 1.0 format which can be read by Web browsers.

It is geared towards technical documentation that is mostly static (as opposed to a blog site, or photo gallery, for example), and requires highly-structured, careful markup (as opposed to a Wiki).

Consider it as an alternative1 to DocBook.

1.2. Features

  • Clean, modern XHTML output
  • Judicial use of CSS and client-side JavaScript to make the output look nice and improve usability2
  • Can incrementally process large documents
  • The tool is well-documented
  • Designed to be as easy to use as possible
  • Easily extensible3
  • Can flexibly link to other Web resources

1.3. Why use xhtml2to1, and not DocBook?

The author makes some criticisms of using DocBook for writing technical documentation, and argues for using XHTML 2.0 instead, in this discussion of the documentation format in RDFcat

Of course, it is usually easy to criticize something and much harder to come up with the correct fix. The present program, xhtml2to1, is the author’s attempt at that fix. He hopes that the quality of its output, and the quality of its construction — it is a literate program — will convince the reader that he has succeeded.


  1. xhtml2to1 works a lot like the DocBook Website document type, but based on XHTML rather than DocBook.
  2. Unlike the DocBook XSL stylesheets, which seem to be stuck in the stone age with regards to its support for Web browser features.
  3. Yes, the DocBook XSL stylesheets are modular in theory. But DocBook and its stylesheets are usually too complex to extend for most people, for in all these years, nobody has added real CSS and JavaScript support for its HTML output.