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`Picture` in the HTML5 Spec

Paul Cotton, one of the HTML WG Chairs, has arranged for me to work with several members of the HTMLWG on a final draft of the `picture` specification, as we discussed at the HTML WG weekly teleconference on July 26th.

picture is tentatively slated for inclusion under the HTML5 umbrella, rather than being pushed to The status of the proposal can be tracked via the W3C Bugtracker. I’ll be working with Adrian Bateman and Frank Oliver from Microsoft on a formal specification in the coming weeks, and will have an update on our progress by August 16th (per ).

Laura Carlson has also been working to gather feedback from the HTML WG Accessibility Task Force on the proposed markup, in addition to being tremendously helpful in navigating the standards process. Welcome to the RICG, Laura!

13 Responses to `Picture` in the HTML5 Spec

  • This is awesome news. Thanks for keeping the CG updated and continuing to push this forward.


  • Awesome! Will follow the next developments.

    Keep it up Matthew, we all appreciate it very much.

    Also, it would be cool if a mechanism could be included/devised that wouldn’t require explicit definition of conditions for each source element… something document-wide, like the base element of old.

    What’s the best place to provide feedback for little adjustments like this, at this sage?


  • David Clements

    Great news! Will this incorporate “florians compromise” (eg support for srcset?)


  • Anselm Hannemann

    Thanks for this update, Mat. This is great news and I really appreciate all work that has been done so far from everyone here so that we now finally are in a stage of a spec ٩(。͡•‿•。)۶


  • Great news, thanks for the update.


  • Really interesting news! Congrats!



  • I don’t want to be a wet blanket or anything, but I think it’s worth pointing out that it doesn’t matter *which* version of the W3C’s HTML spec contains the picture element — what matters is when it is supported by browsers …and there is no correlation between W3C snapshots of HTML and speed of implementation by browsers.

    Like I said, I’m not trying to be negative here; I just want to point out that this news isn’t actually of any significance to getting this feature into browsers (and I’m worried that people may misinterpret this news as a fait acompli that picture will be shipping in browsers any faster).


    • Mathew Marquis

      No question, Jeremy. While it’s certainly good news that things are marching along, this shouldn’t be interpreted as us crossing any sort of finish line. Keeping the proposal in HTML5 rather than does mean it’s up for discussion within the HTML WG sooner rather than later, but doesn’t say anything about a potential implementation.

      A sample implementation of picture landing in a browser is a very different matter—and another announcement altogether.


  • Hi Jeremy,

    It is true to say that having a feature specified does not always equate to speed of implementation. The command feature has been specified for years with zero implementation.

    But it is all true that specification can spur implementation. A few months after the dialog element was specified, a start on implementation has occurred in webkit.

    What is significant in Mat’s announcement is that one browser vendor (not normally known for their responsiveness) is working directly with the community group to formalise the specification of the proposed feature. It also is significant as an example of the W3C & the HTML WG responding to the community in months not years.

    I can understand that for people not involved in the HTML standardisation effort, the significance may not be apparent.


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  • Great news !
    Thanks for working for a better world 🙂


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