HTML5 Now Finalized as a W3C Recommendation

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) published HTML5 as a Recommendation this week, signaling the conclusion of the organization's standards work on a collection of Internet technologies.

The publication is a bit moot, since HTML5 technologies already are being used by developers and they already are incorporated into Web browsers. Essentially, though, the organization has completed its work on HTML5. It's now moving on to devise, discuss and test the next generation of Web standards, or HTML5.1.

HTML5 is notable for having provided "native" browser support for video and audio, without requiring application plug-ins to get it to work. The standard includes support for scalable vector graphics and includes a specification for a "resolution-dependent bitmap canvas" that enables graphics support, according to the W3C's announcement.

The HTML5 Recommendation contains royalty-free technologies from more than 60 companies. It's now part of the Open Web Platform, which waves licensing fees.

The standards work on HTML5 started back in 2007 at the W3C. It took 45,000 messages to resolve "4,000 errors, ambiguities, and controversies," to bring it to Recommendation status, according to Paul Cotton, director of standards for Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. and a W3C HTML Working Group cochair, in a blog post. Microsoft, along with Adobe, Facebook, Intel, Mozilla and Opera, are credited with having helped the W3C with its vast testing efforts.

Back in in June, the W3C indicated that it had found failures in just 3.3 percent of its 97,000 tests, suggesting that HTML5 was fast approaching Recommendation status. The features that didn't pass those interoperability tests will be rolled into HTML5.1, according to Philippe Le Hégaret, head of the W3C's Interaction Domain group.

The next phase of HTML development is already being discussed at the W3C's TPAC 2014 meeting, which is happening this week. The group is contemplating adding identity, cryptography and multifactor authentication to the specification. It's also considering standards for hardware sensors, including near-field communications, vibration and Bluetooth wireless.

Eight so-called "application foundations" are being proposed for the next W3C HTML effort, including:

  • Security and Privacy
  • Core Web Design and Development
  • Device Interaction
  • Application Lifecycle
  • Media and Real-Time Communications
  • Performance and Tuning
  • Usability and Accessibility
  • Services

These application foundations are conceived as "a collection of services and capabilities that should be available for all applications."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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