W3C Publishes HTML 5 Draft, Future of Web Content

Web Community Forges Next HTML Standard in Public W3C Forum

Contact Americas, Australia --
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(also available in French and Japanese; see also translations in other languages)

http://www.w3.org/ -- 22 January 2008 -- W3C today published an early draft of HTML 5, a major revision of the markup language for the Web. The HTML Working Group is creating HTML 5 to be the open, royalty-free specification for rich Web content and Web applications. The group operates entirely in public with nearly five hundred participants, including representatives from W3C Members ACCESS, AOL, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera.

"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."

Why the Community Wants HTML 5

Engineers, designers, marketing departments, and users have learned much about the Web as a medium since HTML 4 was first published in December 1997. Web sites reflect this progress: no longer static page collections, they are now media-rich communities that leverage participation and evolve dynamically to better meet customer needs. Ajax and related innovations have propelled demands for a new standard that allows people to create Web applications that interoperate across desktop and mobile platforms.

W3C launched the HTML Working Group in March 2007 as a forum for building consensus around the new standard. The group has already published a set of HTML design principles, which include: ensuring support for existing content, codifying widespread practice, separating concerns (markup from presentation), and enabling universal access. These principles help guide the group's decision-making.

What's New in HTML 5

Some of the most interesting new features for authors are APIs for drawing two-dimensional graphics, embedding and controlling audio and video content, maintaining persistent client-side data storage, and for enabling users to edit documents and parts of documents interactively. Other features make it easier to represent familiar page elements, including <section> <footer>; <nav> (for navigation), and <figure> (for assigning a caption to a photo or other embedded content). Authors write HTML 5 using either a "classic" HTML syntax or an XML syntax, according to application demands. See a list of changes from HTML 4.

The HTML 5 specification helps to improve interoperability and reduce software costs by giving precise rules not only about how to handle all correct HTML documents but also how to recover from errors. This is the first version of HTML developed under W3C's Royalty-Free Patent Policy.

In addition to the browser makers listed above, the following W3C Members are helping to shape the HTML 5 specification: BEA Systems, Inc.; Betfair Limited; Boeing; Cisco; Disruptive Innovations; Dreamlab Technologies AG; France Telecom; Hewlett-Packard; IWA-HWG; Mitsue-Links Co., Ltd.; mTLD Top Level Domain Limited; Openwave Systems Inc.; Oxford Brookes University; PicoForms; Queensland University of Technology; Stanford University; University of Innsbruck; and the U.S. Library of Congress.

W3C welcomes feedback from the public on this First Public Working Draft; see the specification for guidance on sending comments. W3C urges more authoring tool developers to take this opportunity to join the HTML Working Group to ensure that HTML 5 meets the needs of their customers. W3C also encourages people to let software makers know which features of HTML 5 they most value.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan,and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/