W3C Issues HTML 4.0 as a Proposed Recommendation

Voting Now Underway by W3C Member Organizations on HTML -- the Basic Publishing Language of the Web

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CAMBRIDGE, MASS., USA -- 10 November, 1997 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the release of HTML 4.0 as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. The W3C HTML Working Group has determined that the HTML 4.0 specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, is supported for industry-wide adoption, and is ready to enter the review and voting process by all 220 W3C Member organizations.

W3C Process

Specifications developed within W3C working groups must be formally approved by the Membership. Consensus is reached after a specification has proceeded through the following review stages: Working Draft, Proposed Recommendation, and Recommendation.

Stable working drafts are submitted by working groups to the W3C Director for consideration as a Proposed Recommendation. Upon the Director's approval, the document becomes a "Proposed Recommendation", and is forwarded to the W3C Membership to vote on becoming an official W3C Recommendation.

The W3C Advisory Committee -- comprised of one official representative from each Member organization -- submits one of the following votes on the Proposed Recommendation: yes; yes, with comments; no, unless specified deficiencies are corrected; no, this Proposed Recommendation should be abandoned.

During this voting period, the Working Group expects to resolve minor technical issues and communicate its results to the W3C Director. After this time, the Director will announce the disposition of the document; it may become a W3C Recommendation (possibly with minor changes), revert to Working Draft status, or may be dropped as a W3C work item.

The Member voting and review period lasts approximately 6 weeks.

HTML 4.0

Developed by the W3C HTML Working Group, HTML 4.0 improves the look and functionality of Web pages, offering several key improvements over the current HTML 3.2 Recommendation. Features include advanced forms, which allow publishers to display "rich" HTML on any button and build keyboard shortcuts into page controls. Other features include in-line frames, enhanced tables, and support for objects and scripts. Additionally, HTML 4.0 provides the markup needed for any language including multilingual documents; allowing authors to manage differences in language, text direction, and character encoding schemes. HTML 4.0 is also more accessible to users with disabilities, allowing table and form text to be rendered into braille or speech.

The W3C HTML Working Group includes key industry players such as Adobe Systems, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape Communications, Novell, Reuters, SoftQuad, Spyglass and Sun Microsystems; content specialists at HotWired, PathFinder and Verso, and experts in the fields of accessibility and internationalization.

The HTML 4.0 specification has been produced as part of the W3C HTML Activity, and is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/PR-html40/. For more information on HTML, please see http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/


About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 220 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/

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