Rich media has been a touchy subject for web development over the past few years. Heck, the very nature of web development has been debated as well right down to the general specs. Well, after 15 years we can finally say we have an HTML5 Specification.
he World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry group that oversees the development of the specs used on the Web, today announced that the fifth major version of the hypertext markup language specification, HTML5, was today given Recommendation status, W3C’s terminology for a final, complete spec.
The last version of HTML was 4.01, released in December 1999, making it almost fifteen years between updates. That’s a long time to wait. The story of HTML5’s development was a messy affair. After HTML 4.01, W3C embarked on XHTML, an update to HTML that incorporated various XML features such as stricter validation of Web pages and which was intended to make HTML “modular,” broken down into a range of sub-specifications.
A group of companies formed their own breakaway group, WHATWG, that sought to develop HTML in a way that actually matched Web and browser developer needs. WHATWG did much of the initial work of developing HTML5, as W3C’s XHTML efforts lost steam. The two eventually found a way to work together to complete the spec. The relationship is still a bit tense, but it’s done as far as I can tell.
HTML5 aside, W3C and WHATWG continue to squabble about the development of Web-related specifications. W3C continues to insist on producing versioned specifications, leaving it unable to reference WHATWG’s work directly. This has led W3C to take work done by WHATWG and use it as the basis for its own work. WHATWG’s specs all explicitly permit such usage, but a number of WHATWG contributors have nonetheless complained that W3C has exercised that ability.