HTML5 is now a W3C Recommendation

Developers, browser vendors and the press have been talking about HTML5 for many years. In reality, however, HTML5 has been flux for a long time. But just yesterdays W3C Declares HTML5 Standard Complete as W3C today published its Recommendation of HTML5 — the final version of the standard after years of adding features and making changes to it. Although many of the HTML5 features standardized today were sketched out several years ago, it took a lot of hard work to get the details right (the Working Group has resolved more than 4,000 errors, ambiguities, and controversies).

HTML 5.0 now serves as the cornerstone of the W3C Open Web Platform. As a user, you won’t notice any changes and your up-to-date browser already supports most HTML5 features.  HTML5 brings to the Web video and audio tracks without needing plugins; programmatic access to a resolution-dependent bitmap canvas, which is useful for rendering graphs, game graphics, or other visual images on the fly; native support for scalable vector graphics (SVG) and math (MathML); annotations important for East Asian typography (Ruby); features to enable accessibility of rich applications; and much more. Software implementers benefit from Royalty-Free licensing commitments from over sixty companies under W3C’s Patent Policy.

Next version of HTML will be HTML5.1 expected to be ready in 2016.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HTML5 is done, but two groups still wrestle over Web’s future

    The World Wide Web Consortium finishes an update to this seminal Internet technology, but with two organizations in charge of the same Web standard, charting the Web’s future is a mess.

    But while HTML5 is finished, a tug-of-war over how to set such standards — and therefore how to chart the future of the Web — is far from over. That’s because a second organization, the Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group, is also in charge of HTML, and a rift between the two appears to be widening instead of closing.

    The tension between the W3C and the WHATWG has been present for years, but it’s got new consequences now: anything that slows the improvement of the Web means programmers are more likely to devote their energies to writing apps for smartphones and tablets running on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems instead of HTML5. When making their mobile operating systems, Google and Apple aren’t held back by the slower consensus-building processes used to make industry standards like HTML appeal to the broadest range of parties.

    The Web isn’t dying, but slow development lets the world of mobile apps claim the initiative. The Web’s accomplishments — a computing system bigger than any one company working on it, and one with an impressive reach across the computing industry — diminish as its shortcomings rise to prominence.

    W3C Chief Executive Jeff Jaffe acknowledges that the mobile app world is attracting a lot of developer interest. But in his view, the Web will prevail in the long run because it can span so many devices.

    “There’s plenty of time for us to catch up,” Jaffe said. “The power and promise of interoperability across platforms is extraordinarily powerful. The mobile app was just the for the phone, but now it’s not. It’s going to be the e-book reader, the automobile, the TV. And all the sudden, the promise of interoperability is going to become even more important than when it was just the phone.”

    The recommendation stage has two important facets. First, it comes with assurances that the broad membership of the W3C’s HTML Working Group has carefully scrutinized it. Second, it brings patent protections: the group’s members agree that they won’t sue anyone for building technology that uses the standard. That’s not insignificant given the working group’s breadth. It includes browser makers Apple, Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Opera; software maker Adobe and SAP; Chinese search giant Baidu; video companies such as HBO, Netflix and the BBC; hardware companies such as Samsung, Sony, Intel, Nokia, Huawei, IBM and Ericsson; and network operators such as Comcast and Orange.

    Those patent protections may be lawyer-intensive issues most programmers would just as soon ignore, but many W3C members want those assurances

    New features and the URL fracas

    But who will chart the future features for the Web? The W3C is working on HTML 5.1 now, which includes some features still deemed too immature for HTML5. That includes Canvas and drag-and-drop, which lets people take actions like dragging file icons onto an upload target to attach photos to an email.

    But that’s what the WHATWG is working on, too.

    “Overall we seem to be collecting one or two new specs each year,”

    Dueling standards and the browser veto

    When there are two versions of a spec, what’s a programmer to do? There’s no one answer. “Generally we tell developers to look at the WHATWG version, which tends to be developed with better technical accuracy,” advised Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Andreas Gal.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Application Foundations for the Open Web Platform

    My starting point for this discussion is that, now that HTML5 is done, W3C should focus on strengthening the parts of the Open Web Platform that developers most urgently need for success. I call this push for developers “Application Foundations.”

    The OWP is widely deployed, improving in function every day, and transforming industry after industry. According to a survey earlier this year, 42% of developers are using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript when building applications. The promise of the Open Web Platform is to lower the cost of developing powerful applications to reach the most people, on any device.

    As popular as the OWP is, it is still too challenging for developers to create some types of Web applications. Lack of broad interoperability for some features complicates development. Lack of standard features in the platform drives developers to create hybrid applications, implying a larger mix of tools, libraries, and interoperability issues. There is more work to meet growing expectations around privacy, security, and accessibility.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    W3C announces HTML5 is real, long after the rest of the world
    Karma hits Internet Dogma

    THE HTML5 WEB STANDARD, which has been a thing for ages, is now officially a thing, thanks to the W3C Consortium.

    The biggest update to the HTML protocol in over a decade, which has been widely adopted in the Internet Community as a thing, superseding previous things such as Adobe Flash, has now been given ‘Recommendation’ status, which is W3C’s way of saying that the standard is complete, or in other words, a thing embedded in Web Dogma.

    The W3C endorsement still leaves some unanswered questions, however. The WHATWG Consortium, which originally began developing HTML5 while W3C was still mucking about with the abortive XHTML, still has a different idea of what sort of thing the HTML5 thing actually is.

    Theoretically, ‘recommendation’ from the W3C, which published its gospel of HTML5 in 2012, should be an infallible end to the matter, but life is never that simple.

    Earlier this year, the Church of Google began telling its own followers when a website they viewed contained the unholy Flash plugin, as it actively seeks conversion to HTML5, removing Flash support from Android in 2012.

    Google sends anti-Flash Player messages to mobile web browsers

    GOOGLE HAS ADDED a function to its internet search engine to identify websites that won’t run properly on some mobile web browsers.

    The name and shame approach is indirectly aimed at websites that continue to use the increasingly outdated Adobe Flash Player plug-in for animated content.

    Google removed Flash support from its Android mobile operating system in 2012, a move that woke up many developers to the need to migrate to newer protocols.

    The developer community promptly hacked support back into Android, but as the net evolves, the need for lightweight replacements for Adobe Flash has become more and more evident.

    From today, Google search results say “Uses Flash. May not work on your device”, giving the option to try it anyway or click through to an explanation of why Adobe Flash is a bit rubbish.

    Google has taken the opportunity to direct developers to its curated best practices for web design, saying “By following the best practices described in Web Fundamentals you can build a responsive web design, which has long been Google’s recommendation for search-friendly sites.”


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