HTML5 will be the last version of HTML

By on January 21, 2011, 2:04 PM
The HTML specification will no longer have a version number attached. The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) version of the specification will be updated as additions are integrated. As a result, the HTML specification will henceforth just be known as HTML, and will be considered a "living standard."

"In practice, the WHATWG has basically been operating like this for years, and indeed we were going to change the name last year but ended up deciding to wait a bit since people still used the term 'HTML5' a lot," Ian Hickson, an HTML specification editor, said in a statement. "However, the term is now basically being used to mean anything Web-standards-related, so it's time to move on!"

The need for HTML versioning has become less and less important as browser vendors simply implement new HTML features at their own pace and tend to ignore whether they have been standardized or not. Web developers in turn adopt the new features when enough mainstream browsers support them.

Of course, there is still interest in publishing a snapshot of HTML5, and the W3C is still working in conjunction with the WHATWG. An official HTML5 logo was released by the W3C earlier this week.

WHATWG is taking questions and comments on IRC. If you just want to read the answers, check out the FAQ.

User Comments: 7

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jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

for the record, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the standards authority on many technologies, including all version of HTML

MrAnderson said:

I'm confused... and well this will make it even more difficult to determine which browsers have what in them. You need a versioning or sub title to group functionality together. Otherwise Apple and all the rest cannot say they browser or site has HTML5 functionality (which by they way means it is using some of the new stuff) but newer stuff which who know what it will be called...

Maybe they should break functionality into smaller groups across versioning so that moving up the version latter can be charted.

They should ask why it works for OpenGL and Wifi Specs... maybe you are trying to squeeze to much functionality under one version. Do it in layers so that versions will have small enough subsets of functionality that can be implemented. They prgrammers/scripters can query each implemetation for versions (a complete set of functionality) then have to ask if this function is here and that function is there instead of continue to live (if you can call it living) in code branch purgatory.

Guest said:

What a mess.

Guest said:

Feels like a step backwards in terms of standards-compliance. I don't mind the part of things continually evolving, but version numbers gives us a target for minimal requirements. It also lets people cry foul on people like Apple who just give HTML5 a bad name.

The alternative is to say that a web browser has implemented HTML features "up through 2011, January 14th" or somesuch, which in itself becomes a version number. Except a lot messier.

I'd wager one reason the major browser makers are jumping on the HTML5 ship is so that, should this bureaucratic monstrosity finally become a W3C Recommendation, we don't have to wait years for it to get gradually implemented, and they can say, "Yes, we are completely HTML5 standards-compliant RIGHT NOW."

Also, it's kinda' hard to explain to someone that they don't have support for <beer>, <threecolumnformat>, and <worldpeace> tags because you need the latest version (or worse, the latest version of specific a browser).

Guest said:

My thoughts on that topic and why I think that it would be a mess, if HTML loses its version number, can be found here:

Mizzou Mizzou said:

for the record, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the standards authority on many technologies, including all version of HTML

And for the greater good will hopefully remain as the governing body.

Cota Cota said:

I feel violated, its really...... strange^(1/0)

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