If you are frustrated with the US Congress and its proclivity to kick burning issues down the road – take a look at what the W3C HTML5 Working Group is doing. This blog has been warning users and developers that HTML5 is facing major issues. So that if you want to use HTML5 for example as an offline and online data source or the Steve Jobs assigned replacement for Flash – think again. Now this Ars Technica story has just revealed the big changes for HTML5:.
the HTML Working Group will produce an HTML 5.0 Candidate Recommendation by the end of 2012 that includes only those features that are specified, stable, and implemented in real browsers. Anything controversial or unstable will be excluded from this specification. The group will also remove anything known to have interoperability problems between existing implementations. This Candidate Recommendation will form the basis of the 5.0 specification….
HTML 5’s standardization has been a fractious process, with many arguments and squabbles as different groups with different priorities struggled to find common ground. The new plan notes that the “negative tone of discussion has been an ongoing problem” and says that the Working Group will need to be better to combat anti-social behavior.
The basic change is that HTML5 will be divided into HTML5.0 and HT’ML5.1. The idea is to establish the non-contentious parts of HTML5 as a base standard. for a proposed recommendation by the end of this year and an accepted standard by 2014. Then HTML5.1 recommendation is supposed to appear in 2014 immediately after and iHTML5.1 will contain all deferred features from HTML 5.0 plus some new directions. Classic divide and conquer.
But the problem is that HTML5 has become very contentious. The process because the process of reaching standards agreements has become seriously divisive and flawed. The Ars Technica article describes the situation in frank terms:
HTML 5’s standardization has been a fractious process, with many arguments and squabbles as different groups with different priorities struggled to find common ground. The new plan notes that the “negative tone of discussion has been an ongoing problem” and says that the Working Group will need to be better to combat anti-social behavior. The proposed plan was, however, not universally welcomed. Some Working Group members were unhappy with the proposed treatment of their particular areas of expertise.
So watch carefully what gets split out of HTML5 into the delayed HTML5.1 when the candidate recommendation comes out later this year.
Now clearly HTML5 has some interesting trends developing around it. The availability of SVG, Canvas, CSS3, and Web Workers presents some real opportunities. And there are some ambitious plans – like Mozilla HTML5 based OS. Or some outstanding HTML5 Canvas examples. But HTML5 Web SQL vs Indexed DB has diverging proponents.
But a comment at Ars Technica catches the underlying problem well
I really wonder if people don’t realize how much easier it is to implement things than it is to actually write up good spec documents and tests for them. Especially when half the players in the game (despite their public love for HTML) are actively trying to patent/keep things secret for as long as they possibly can.
So look for contending groups to hover around the HTML5.0 Candidate Recommendation as it takes shape over the next few months. Here is the place to go to follow the details.