HTML5 will be finished by 2014, what will happen next?

Original author: Scott Gilbertson
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On Monday, developers were given the green light to start using HTML5.

Although many already use an incomplete language to create more complex web applications, the governing organization (W3C) made the transition official, announcing that HTML5 would be completed by 2014. The

W3C expanded the charter of the HTML working group (HTMLWG) creation of HTML5, and announced that HTML5 would reach the Last Call status ( approx. translation: this is a variant of Working Draft before giving a new status, for example, Proposed Recomendation, as is now happening with CSS 2.1 ) later this year. After several years of rigorous testing, the specification should be finalized by the second quarter of 2014.

“Developers can use HTML5 today, and we encourage them to do this,” says Ian Jacobs, W3C's Head of Marketing.

The web cannot evolve at the speed of standardization organizations; it follows web browsers and innovative developers. No one, at least in HTMLWG, expects the web to wait until HTML5 reaches official recommendation status. In fact, developers are already using HTML5 and related standards throughout the web . HTML5 is already here, even if it does not reach official status in a few more years.

2014 may seem very distant, but it is much more encouraging than 2022, which has never been an official date, but is often cited as the date that the W3C is targeting. If HTMLWG reaches its goal, 2014 will be the year we receive the first official update of the HTML specification since HTML 4.01 was released in 1999.

HTML5 will give the web some new tags for markup, for example, video and audio, a canvas element for animations, and new semantic elements like header, article and aside, which give more meaning to elements in web pages. Developers should also keep in mind that 2014 refers only to the HTML5 specification, and not to associated APIs like Geolocation or Web Workers, which are separate standards.

With a clearer date on the horizon, HTML5 is today on the home stretch. Two more years of testing are ahead, but HTMLWG is already preparing to concentrate on the future - the next version of HTML.

WHATWG, consisting of browser vendors implementing the HTML specification, recently announced that their version of HTML will be the “living standard” and that the group will no longer make versions of HTML (see also the guide to understand the difference between HTMLWG and WHATWG ).

Jacobs says there are no plans at W3C to follow the WHATWG reversion-free path. “Many organizations need a stable version [HTML specification] ... they need stability in the standard and a very high level of compatibility.” In other words, moving toward a moving target like the HTML version from WHATWG is not for everyone.

This means that HTML6 may one day appear, but today the W3C uses the unofficial name “”

However, although the specification may expand over time, Philippe Le Hegaret, head of the Interaction Domain at W3C, says the future is with the API. “Not everything should be directly in the specification itself,” says Le Hegaret. Various APIs already cover many of the features often referred to as HTML5, such as the Geolocation API, offline storage API, and Web Workers API.
The advantage of the API is that their development can go with greater speed and individual new technologies can be honed independently, without dependency on any elements in the specification.

This is good news for the future web. development speed is only increasing. The web is already beyond the scope of the PC, it is already on your mobile devices and is starting to fill the space around you.

Whether it is in the specification or as separate APIs, both Jacobs and Le Hegaret believe that at least some of the features of future versions of HTML can lead to the merger of the web and television. Netflix, Sony and LG have recently joined the W3C and are interested in having more televisions connected directly to the web.

Television on the web is likely to bring a new set of requirements - perhaps new tags, new APIs, and even a new platform for their implementation. Le Hegaret says that there are already offers of new features in, but so far none of this is official.

In the meantime, see how HTML5 reaches Last Call status later this summer. After that, the only thing that will separate HTML5 from the finish line in 2014 is thousands of tests to make sure that HTML5 works as it should everywhere.

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