The W3 Consortium Announces HTML 3.2
providing bright future for HTML as a non-proprietary standard

For immediate release

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CAMBRIDGE, USA -- May 7th, 1996 -- Responding to the need for clarification over the status of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, and INRIA have reached an agreement on a major new release of HTML. HTML 3.2 will add widely deployed features such as tables, applets and text flow around images, while providing backwards compatibility with the existing standard HTML 2.0.

HTML 3.2 is W3C's new specification for HTML, developed together with industry leaders IBM, Microsoft, Netscape Communications Corporation, Novell, SoftQuad, Spyglass, and Sun Microsystems. Design work on HTML 3.2 is based upon HTML 2.0 and draws from such sources as the HTML+ and HTML 3.0 drafts by Dave Raggett of Hewlett Packard Laboratories, and extensions proposed by W3C member companies, including major contributions popularized by Netscape Communications Corporation.

The original HTML specification was written by Tim Berners-Lee, now director of W3C, while he was at CERN. Innovations from NCSA and other contributors were reviewed under the auspices of the Internet Engineering Task Force, and published as the HTML 2.0 specification (RFC 1866), edited by Dan Connolly, now at W3C.

W3C is continuing work with vendors on extensions to HTML for multimedia objects, scripting, style sheets, layout, forms, higher quality printing and math. W3C plans on incorporating this work in further versions of HTML.

Dr. Raggett, visiting scientist at W3C and lead architect of W3C's HTML activity said "W3C works closely with member organizations and recognized experts in the development, testing and refinement of HTML"

"IBM is pleased to have contributed to the definition of HTML 3.2" said John Patrick, vice president, Internet technology at IBM. "An open, agreed-upon standard for HTML will enable content providers to share information across as broad an audience as possible, and will allow users to navigate the Web more effectively. We look forward to additional enhancements to HTML, always with the goal of making the Web a more useful place."

"The W3C HTML specification and standard has been a boon for users and companies developing for the Internet," said John Ludwig, Vice President of Microsoft's Internet Platform and Tools Division Corp. "We are excited about the innovations made in the new 3.2 spec and believe its a great base from which new HTML and Stylesheets standards should evolve. Currently Internet Explorer 2.0 embodies our support of HTML 3.2."

"Netscape is very pleased to have been able to cooperate with other W3C member companies and staff to produce this specification. This is an important milestone and is a benefit to the entire industry," said Jeff Treuhaft, director security products, Netscape Communications. "Given its commitment to open Internet standards, Netscape looks forward to helping the W3C continue the process of making these new specifications open Internet standards."

"The W3C has performed a valuable service, coordinating the efforts of the consortium staff with market leaders, technical experts, and content providers." said Murray Maloney, a technical director at SoftQuad Inc. "SoftQuad will continue to support W3C's official version of the HTML language, as well as vendor-specific extensions in HoTMetaL PRO."

"HTML interoperability is important, and has been difficult to achieve," said Spyglass' Eric Sink, Chair of the IETF Working Group for HTML. "Spyglass has been committed to open collaboration from the beginning, and we're excited at the level of leadership that the W3C has shown by providing the right forum to bring key organizations together."

"We applaud the leadership role of the W3C in increasing the scope of HTML and for employing the Java <APPLET> Tag in HTML 3.2," said Eric Schmidt, chief technical officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "As a founder, Sun is an active member of the W3C, and we look forward to future HTML specifications."

"Pathfinder enthusiastically endorses a unified HTML specification that will make the Web experience better for both content providers and for Web consumers," said Oliver Knowlton, Vice President of Technology at Time Inc. New Media.

W3C specifications incorporate significant breadth and depth of technical expertise, and industry experience. In addition to the open forums from which the Web was born, they draw upon W3C member organizations, which span a wide range of industries from computer hardware and software to publishing, banking and manufacturing.

The W3C was created to develop common standards for the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium run by MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science and INRIA. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; a reference code implementation to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date the Consortium comprises some 130 organizations.

Now in its third decade, the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow from a mere curiosity to 10% of the industrial world's economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the Ethernet and spreadsheets.

INRIA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control is a French public-sector scientific institute. INRIA is made up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris), Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. The transfer of research results is one of INRIA's main assignments, in addition to its fundamental and applied research in information processing, control and scientific computation.

Further information on the World Wide Web Consortium is available via the Web at URL "http://www.w3.org/". For information on HTML in particular, see URL "http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/MarkUp".