Watching the Google I/O first day keynote, I’m pleased to see the level of support and interest from Google about HTML5. Sure enough, I wished SVG would have been mentioned there, as they did for the Canvas API, since I believe both technologies have relevant use cases. As an example, I made a demo of the HTML5 video element using SVG for the player interface. But overall, we do indeed need to tell the world that HTML is evolving to become the platform for a rich array of Web applications. New Web browser features aren’t just limited to new user chrome or extensions.
I did notice however several mentions of the “HTML5 standard” that led me to write this post to remind the community of the current status of the specification, both in practice and on the standards track.. HTML5 isn’t a W3C standard. We certainly look forward to the day when it is, but it isn’t yet. In fact, the specification, co-authored by Ian Hickson from Google, is still very much a work in progress. We still don’t have a required video codec to be supported by all browsers. Lively discussion is still happening in the HTML Working Group about the level of consensus around the spec. Sam Ruby of IBM and Chris Wilson of Microsoft are trying to move the Group forward. At the moment, HTML5 is only a working draft and Ian hopes to get it ready for Last Call review in October/November 2009 timeframe. Some of the work is also happening in the Geolocation, CSS and Web Applications Working Groups, so not all of it is under “HTML5”.
So, while it is great to see support for and implementation of HTML 5, the community has not yet reached agreement enough to call it a standard, and it has not been implemented consistently across multiple browsers. Building a test suite will help a lot and we don’t have one yet. This is an area that we intend to explore and to seek community support.