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This is a FAQ for questions related to the HTML5 Candidate Recommendation (CR) specification.

When did the documents move to CR?

The Working Group decided to move the documents to CR on November 27, 2012. The W3C Director approved the transition on December 17, 2012.

What is CR?

Candidate Recommendation (CR) indicates that the W3C believes the technical report is stable and appropriate for implementation. The technical report MAY still change based on implementation experience. (W3C Process, 7.4.3 Call for Implementations)

Which documents were transitioned to CR?

The HTML Working Group publishes several documents. Only two of them were approved as CR on December 17:

  1. HTML5;
  2. HTML Canvas 2D Context.

When will CR end?

The HTML5 specification is expected to advance to Proposed Recommendation no earlier than September 1st, 2014.

The timeline for HTML5 was outlined in the plan 2014:

CR 2012 Q4
LCf 2014 Q3
PR 2014 Q4
Rec 2014 Q4

The HTML Canvas 2D Context specification is expected to advance to Proposed Recommendation no earlier than June 17th, 2013.

What are the criteria to move beyond CR?

The HTML Working Group established CR exit criteria. There must be at least two independent, interoperable implementations of each feature. Each feature may be implemented by a different set of products, there is no requirement that all features be implemented by a single product. Qualitatively interoperable are at a judgment level, not necessarily for every spec assertion. A test suite may be used as guidance for the qualitative decision.

Where is the test suite?

This is still work in progress but the test suite is available via github. We encourage everyone to contribute to it!

The CR branch is limited to features that are found in the Candidate Recommendation version of the relevant specifications.

Please make your pull requests either to the master branch or a feature branch.

Where are the bugs opened against the CR documents?

Those can be found in the W3C bugzilla for HTML5 and HTML Canvas 2D Context.

What is this LCf in 2014 Q3?

Plan 2014 mentions a LCf in the third quarter of 2014, just before the transition to Proposed Recommendation (2014 Q4).

The W3C Process indicates that the Working Group MAY remove features from the technical report that were identified as being "at risk" and, if other substantive changes to the technical report are made to the document, the Director MUST return it to the Working Group.

The HTML Working Group Chairs are anticipating that the specification will have other substantive changes over the next 18 months and will be returned to the Working Group for a short period. As such, it is anticipated that the Working Group will republish HTML5 as a new Last Call document in 2014 Q3, with a short review period, before moving directly to Proposed Recommendation.

Can you add more features in HTML5?

At this stage, the Working Group welcome the option of extension specifications that don't merge back at all and instead proceed at different paces and possibly even with different Candidate Recommendation exit criteria. There is however a mechanism to integrate extensions during the CR phase, as outlined in the decision policy. Among the conditions, one must satisfy CR exit criteria of the base specification and get approval from the Working Group using a Call for Consensus.

Were there objections to move to CR?

There were three objections to move the HTML5 specification to CR:

  1. Decentralized extensibility related to a Working Group decision for the specification to not provide any explicit means for defining custom elements and attributes. The objection was reviewed and considered in discussion with the Director, and the determination was made that it need not prevent transition of the specification to Candidate Recommendation.
  1. References related to a working-group decision to make a change to the References section of the HTML5 specification. The objection was based on the fact that the change made did not exactly match the text given in the change proposal from which the decision originated. The objection was reviewed and considered in discussion with the Director, but the change was ultimately found to be reasonable and appropriate, and the determination was made that it need not prevent transition of the specification to Candidate Recommendation.
  1. URLs and Web Architecture related to material in the HTML5 specification that defines the term "URL" and related terms, as well as defining parsing of URLs. The objection asserted that the terminology and definitions in those parts of specification were arbitrarily inconsistent with other specifications, and stated that the material should be removed and replaced with forward-looking definitions to be defined by other specifications. The objection was reviewed and considered in discussion with the Director, and the determination was made that it need not prevent transition of the specification to Candidate Recommendation. The group is encouraged to continue work on the material during the Candidate Recommendation period, and it seems likely that specific replacements or refinements of the material will be proposed and adopted by the group, ultimately leading to significant improvements to those parts of the specification.

There were no objections to move the HTML Canvas 2D Context specification to CR.

Were all issues closed before moving to CR?

The W3C Process indicates that the Working Group MUST formally address all issues raised about the document since the previous step. In addition, the W3C Process also indicates that reviewers SHOULD NOT raise substantive technical issues about a technical report after the end of a Last Call review period. However, this does occur, and as stated above, a Working Group's requirement to formally address those issues extends until the start of a Proposed Recommendation review period. The Working Group MAY decline to make substantive changes to address issues raised between the end of a Last Call review period and publication of a Recommendation.

Around 130 bugs were still opened when the Working Group requested the move to CR. All those bugs were sent after the deadline for comments, August 3rd, 2011.

The HTML Working Group Chairs addressed that point back in May 2011 in the Last Call timeline announcement: The key aspect of this timeline is that there will be a cutoff date for bugs to be considered during Last Call; any bugs after that date will instead be treated during a subsequent Last Call, possibly during Candidate Recommendation or for a subsequent version of HTML. The plan 2014 indicated that it presented a significant risk of infinite regress if we simply proceed to yet another Last Call in response to the previous Last Call, particularly if we remain open to allowing new issues to continue to be raised.

As such, only interoperability issues and non-substantive changes will be addressed in HTML5 CR. Others will be addressed in HTML 5.1 or beyond.

10 issues were also opened at the time of the CR transition. plan 2014 required actual specification text to be published in the form of extension specifications first, and only after said text meets the exit criteria for CR, consider folding the result into the core specification. To prevent unnecessary confusion, the HTML5 specification will drop explicit indications that any given extension is obsolete once an extension specification exists that has been published as a first public Working Draft (FPWD).

There were no open bugs or issues related to the HTML Canvas 2D Context specification when the transition to CR was requested.

Were the documents changed between May 2011 and December 2012?

Both HTML5 and HTML Canvas 2D Context were modified between the publication of the Last Call documents in May 2011 and the publication of the Candidate Recommendation in December 2012. The Working Group published updates in March and October 2012, as allowed by the W3C Process: Between any two steps after a Last Call announcement, the Working Group MAY publish a new draft of the technical report at the same maturity level provided there are no substantive changes since the earlier step. During the transition to CR, the Working Group noted significant changes but indicated that none of those changes were substantive since we didn't believe the changes were invalidating an individual's review or implementation experience. As such, the documents were never returned to the Working Group by the Director and were allowed to move to Candidate Recommendation.