HTML Working Group Roadmap

W3C Note 21 July 2000

This version:
Latest version:
Previous version:
Steven Pemberton, CWI
Dave Raggett, W3C/HP


This note describes the time line for deliverables of the HTML working group. It will be updated from time to time.

Status of this document

This document is a Note of the W3C's HTML working group. It describes the plans of the working group for each of its deliverables. While those plans may change, they represent the group's best guess as of the date on this document. This Note may be updated, replaced or rendered obsolete by other W3C documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use W3C Notes as reference material or to cite them as other than "work in progress". This document is work in progress and does not imply endorsement by the W3C membership.

This document has been produced as part of the W3C HTML Activity. The goals of the HTML Working Group (members only) are discussed in the HTML Working Group charter.

Please send detailed comments on this document to www-html-editor@w3.org. We cannot guarantee a personal response, but we will try when it is appropriate. Public discussion on HTML features takes place on the mailing list www-html@w3.org.

A list of current W3C Recommendations and other technical documents can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The HTML Working Group is chartered with the development of an extensible, sub-settable version of HTML that is compatible with XML. It is also chartered with the development of some extensions to HTML - notably in the area of forms. This group's current activities commenced in August 1998, and are scheduled to complete before April 2000. The purpose of this document is to describe the activities of the HTML Working Group, define general milestones for each sub-project, and outline the inter-dependencies among the various deliverables.

This document reflects the project plan of the HTML Working Group. As such, it is a living document subject to change without notice.

2. Working Group Goals

The HTML Working Group's goals can be summarized as follows:

2.1. Editorial revisions and bug fixes to HTML 4

HTML 4 is an updated recommendation for HTML 4 that incorporates editorial corrections and bug fixes for problems detected since HTML 4 became a recommendation. W3C has no intention to extend HTML 4 as such. Instead, further work is focusing on a reformulation of HTML in XML.

2.2. Reformulation of HTML in XML

The XHTML 1.0 specification reformulates HTML 4 in XML, bring the rigor of XML to HTML. XHTML 1.0 can be rendered on existing HTML 4 user agents by following the guidelines given in the XHTML 1.0 specification.

2.3. Modularization of XHTML

For resource constrained devices, it may be impractical to support all of XHTML. Subsets of XHTML are limited to combining selected XHTML modules, and once a module has been chosen, all of its features must be supported. XHTML 1.1 provides an example of how to combine XHTML modules. The modules have been formalized using XML 1.0 DTDs, and further work is underway on recasting them with XML schemas.

2.4. Support for DOM level 2 Events

The W3C Document Object Model level 2 defines a new event mechanism where event handlers can be attached to elements in such a way that ancestor elements can handle events before or after child elements. The HTML working group is defining an XHTML module to support the DOM level 2 event model.

2.5. Document Profiles and Interoperability Guarantees

Authors need a way to ensure that the content they produce will render as intended on target devices. Variations in the level of support for html, style sheets, scripting, and image formats etc. make this hard to achieve. W3C's solution to this problem involves:

Document profiles are intended to formally describe which document features authors can safely use for given categories of browsers. This offers the means for automated checks as part of the content development process. The HTML working group is chartered to work on XHTML profiles and will work in coordination with the CC/PP working group, which is chartered to work on browser capabilities.

2.6. Next Generation Forms

Work on the next generation of Web forms has now been handed over to the XForms working group. For more information please refer to the XForms home page.

3. Development Schedule

The general development plan of the HTML Working Group is described in the following table. The dates show are actual (past) or projected (future) dates when each document enters the given phase in its process. Completion of that phase of subject to W3C procedures.

Deliverable 1st draft 2nd draft last call ends CR/PR Rec
HTML 4.01 26 Mar 99 - 28 Jun 99   10 Dec 99 26 Jan 00
XHTML 1.0 5 Dec 98 24 Feb 99 5 May 99   10 Dec 99 26 Jan 00
Modularisation 6 Apr 99 10 Sep 99 31 Jan 00   july 00 sep 00
XHTML 1.1 6 Apr 99 10 Sep 99 31 Jan 00   july 00 sep 00
XHTML Basic 21 Dec 99 - 28 Feb 00 15 Mar 00 july 00 sep 00
Profile reqs 6 Sep 99 - -   - -
Profile vocab wait for cc/pp ?   ? ?
Events 21 Dec 99 aug 00 31 Dec 00 TBD TBD  
Schemas for XHTML 1.1 and Basic aug 00 - - - - -
XHTML 2.0 31 Dec 00 TBD TBD TBD TBD  
Mime type 31 Dec 00          
Charter 30 Apr 00          

Each of these deliverables is described in the following sections.

4. Working Group Deliverables

4.1. XHTML 1.0 - Extensible HTML

Editor: Steven Pemberton, et. al.


XHTML 1.0 is a definition of traditional HTML 4 expressed in three XML DTDs. It also defines conformance requirements for XHTML 1.0 documents and user agents. Finally, it provides guidelines for developing XHTML 1.0 conforming content that will operate in today's HTML 4-conforming user agents.

This specification forms the basis for a family of document types and modules that will collectively be known as "XHTML". It is targeted at content developers who want to be forward looking and backward compatible, and also at user agent developers who want to start making the transition from SGML to XML.

4.2. HTML 4.01

Editor: Ian Jacobs, W3C et. al.


A revision to HTML 4 that incorporates all errata and makes substantive changes to the DTD to fix errors and omissions.

4.3. XHTML Modularization

Editor: Shane McCarron, ApTest et. al.

Latest Draft

XHTML Modularization defines a collection of abstract modules that can be grouped together and used as the basis for future document type definitions. It also defines a framework for defining additional abstract modules and their implementations via XML DTDs. Finally, it provides an implementation of these modules using XML DTDs, and then uses that implementation as components to reconstruct the XHTML 1.0 DTDs and some additional DTDs as examples.

This specification is targeted at client developers who wish to augment the basic definitions of XHTML with additional client-specific markup. It is also useful for content developers who wish to extend XHTML with document-specific markup. Finally, it is extremely useful for other standards groups (both within and outside of the W3C) who are designing new markup that should be combinable with XHTML.

4.4. XHTML 1.1

Editor: Shane McCarron, ApTest et. al.

Latest Draft

XHTML 1.1 is a forward-looking markup language built using modules defined in XHTML Modularization. This language will likely contain none of the transitional material from XHTML 1.0 (and from HTML 4). XHTML 1.1 will not necessarily be backward compatible with HTML 4-based user agents. Any incompatibilities will be clearly defined.

4.5. XHTML Basic

Editor: Peter Stark, Phone.com et. al.

Latest Draft

XHTML Basic is a simplified yet forward-looking markup language built using modules defined in XHTML Modularization. It is intended for use as the basis of other markup languages targeted at thin clients, such as those being produced by the television and wireless communities.

4.6. XHTML Profile Requirements

Editor: Dave Raggett, W3C et. al.

Latest Draft

This document describes the set of agreed upon requirements for an XHTML Profiling mechanism. These requirements are to be addressed by the XHTML Profile Vocabulary document.

4.7. XHTML Profile Vocabulary

Editor: Dave Raggett, W3C et. al.

No public draft yet available

The XHTML Profile Vocabulary is a document that will define the terms that other profiling mechanisms (e.g. CC/PP) can use to reference aspects of XHTML.

4.8. Extended Events Module

Editor: Ted Wugofski, Gateway et. al.

Latest draft

This specification defines an add-on module, via the XHTML Modularization framework, that defines a new events model with functionality orthogonal to that provided by traditional intrinsic events. This module is intended to support the requirements of XHTML, SYMM, and other future XHTML-compatible modules that require events processing.

These specifications are targeted at client developers and content providers.

4.9. Applying XML Schema to XHTML

Editor: Dave Raggett, W3C/HP and Masayasu Ishikawa, W3C

No public draft yet available

This work will explore the reformulation of XHTML using XML Schema. We expect to provide schemas for XHTML Basic, XHTML 1.1 and 2.0. An investigation into applying XML Schema to XHTML Modularization has been started, resulting in the discovery of a number of issues that could be addressed by future revisions to XML Schema.

This specification is targeted at client developers and content providers.

4.10. XHTML 2.0

Editor: Shane McCarron, ApTest et. al.

No public draft yet available

XHTML 2.0 is a next generation markup language. In this version, the functionality is expected to remain similar to (or a superset of) that of XHTML 1.1. However, the markup language may be altered semantically and syntacticly to conform to the requirements of related XML standards such as XML Linking and XML Schema. The objective of these changes is to ensure that XHTML 2.0 can be readily supported by XML browsers that have no arcane knowledge of HTML semantics such as linking, image maps, forms, etc. The development of XHTML 2.0 will likely require the development of new XHTML modules or revisions to existing XHTML modules.