January 25, 2008 10:09 AM PST

World Wide Web Consortium releases draft of HTML 5

World Wide Web Consortium releases draft of HTML 5
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The World Wide Web Consortium has published a public draft of the first major upgrade to HTML in over a decade.

Released on Tuesday, the first working draft for HTML 5 is a result of work carried out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML Working Group, which brings developers, browser vendors, and content providers together.

In its final form by 2010, HTML 5 is intended to bring the markup language forward into today's richer Internet environments, with new application programming interfaces to control audio and 2D video content.

"HTML is of course a very important standard," said Tim Berners-Lee, author of the first version of HTML, and W3C director. "I am glad to see that the community of developers, including browser vendors, is working together to create the best possible path for the Web. To integrate the input of so many people is hard work, as is the challenge of balancing stability with innovation; pragmatism with idealism."

The W3C HTML Working Group studied the Web's evolution and was driven by developments, such as the Ajax development process, to draw up the new standard for a Web that is now far beyond a collection of static pages. New features in HTML 5 will mean that elements of today's most popular Web sites can be standardized to promote interoperability. Ultimately, these elements will then proliferate as they begin to show up in authoring tools, experts have claimed.

HTML 5 will focus on client-side data storage to enable users to edit documents interactively. It will also address costs by providing concise rules on handling HTML documents correctly, alongside instructions for how to recover from errors. In line with these augmentations, new features are also planned to help bring familiar page sections and navigation elements to the screen. Written in either "classic" HTML syntax or an XML syntax, HTML 5 is also intended to extend Web-application interoperability outward to the mobile platform.

"A huge amount of data is recorded on the Web in HTML, but often encoded to work for a specific program, rather than following the existing specifications. In order to preserve this information, we need to know how to process it even if the particular programs it was designed for disappear," said Charles McCathieNevile, chief standards officer for mobile-browser company Opera. "The new HTML 5 drafts clarify how existing HTML can be parsed in a reliable way according to a specification that others can freely implement in the future. They also add specifications for a number of important Web features that have been implemented and found acceptance over the last decade."

News of HTML 5 comes at a time when vendors such as Microsoft are becoming increasingly vocal about browser interoperability. In December, Microsoft claimed Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) correctly passed the Acid2 browser test, a part of the Web Standards Project. "Successfully rendering Acid2 is an important landmark for IE8, as it highlights the interoperability, standards compliance and backwards compatibility that we're committed to for this release," said a Microsoft representative.

However, some experts have claimed that Microsoft's Acid2 assertions may be premature. The company has attracted some criticism from developers over its approach to render modes in IE8.

HTML 5 will be the first implementation under the W3C's royalty-free license scheme. The HTML Working Group is made up of around 500 participants, including AOL, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera.

Adrian Bridgwater of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
interoperability, browser company, HTML, Internet Explorer 8, specification

5 comments

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What is the point?
XHTML 1.0 was supposed to be HTML 5.
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
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Yeah. Sure
That's what I thought. However, everyone keeps saying that HTML and XHTML are two different things. Way it to make easy for people right?

I think XHTML just confused the average Joe. It's little bitty thing that opens a window into this massive big thing called XML that only programmers really need.

So apparently it was back to the drawing board with HTML all over. Maybe this is the way they always meant it to be though. Maybe XHTML was just a way to represent HTML in an XML environment. Who knows? It's like they went out of their way to make it more complicated than it needed to be.
Posted by Imalittleteapot (835 comments )
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XHTML added no new features
Even though XHTML was supposed to replace HTML, it was obvious from the start that it wouldn't. XHTML is simply "pretty" HTML. Perhaps the best way to describe it "HTML the way it should be written", because the only thing "new" about it was that it required that all tags have a corresponding end tag. The other feature, the ability to embed other XML dialects and namespaces into XHTML have been greatly overlooked and very few people that I know of have taken advantage of it (not to mention the browser's incapability of rendering non-XHTML tags). Take MathML for example. MathML simplifies the rendering of math equations on Web Pages by using simple XML tags. However, as far as I know only Firefox can display them, and then you need a plugin from the Mozilla website to be able to. Why use such an unknown technique, when you can simply use static images for equations, or perhaps a Flash based solution?

That being said, a new version of HTML at this point is an unnecessary publicity stunt. The fact that the drafters are the big companies that make the browsers doesn't help either. I can't help but wonder what new "feaures" this new version will include to limit user's ability to control what they see (will they remove the possibilty of annoying ads, or will they add more ways to do it?) and to protect the interests of the big media companies (will it limit our ability to download MP3s or other media from the Web?). Everything nowawadays since to have those same goals in mind: to restrict the consumer so that big money-grubber's interests are protected.
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
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<a href="http://www.mircse.com">mirc</a>
Posted by ircdns (2 comments )
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<a href="http://www.mircse.com">mirc</a>
Posted by ircdns (2 comments )
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