HTML5 Specifications Due In 2014

The World Wide Web Consortium has promised that final specification for HTML5 will arrive in 2014

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has confirmed a timeframe for the HTML5 specification, with May this year as the last call date, and a final full spec due out by 2014.

Coming in May 2014, the “Last Call” phase of the HTML5 spec proffers an invitation to communities inside and outside the W3C to confirm the technical soundness of the specification.

The group will then shift focus to gathering implementation experience. The W3C is developing a comprehensive test suite to achieve broad interoperability for the full specification by 2014, the target date for Recommendation, the W3C said in a press release.

Agreed Timeframe

The 2014 time frame is significant because the W3C has had different targets for the HTML5 spec, including not seeing the final specification until 2022.

“Even as innovation continues, advancing HTML5 to Recommendation provides the entire web ecosystem with a stable, tested, interoperable standard,” Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO, said in a statement. “The decision to schedule the HTML5 Last Call for May 2011 was an important step in setting industry expectations. Today we take the next step, announcing 2014 as the target for Recommendation.”

Although W3C officials have warned developers not to adopt the HTML5 capabilities prematurely, the standards body also is encouraging developers to implement HTML5 where appropriate. For example, the Apple iPad supports HTML5 and Apple even recently redesigned its homepage using HTML5 technologies. Microsoft also is betting heavily on HTML5 in its Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) browser technology

By setting a date for HTML5 standardisation, the W3C will ensure broad interoperability of the emerging web technologies over a variety of platforms – from mobile browsers to web on TV, W3C officials said.

Wide Support

The W3C said there are more than 50 organisations participating in the HTML Working Group, all committed to royalty-free licensing under the W3C Patent Policy. There are more than 400 individuals from all over the world in the group, including designers, content authors, accessibility experts, and representatives from browser vendors, authoring tool vendors, telecoms, equipment manufacturers and other IT companies.

Meanwhile, as the audience for the web platform continues to grow, so does the need for interoperability among the many technologies of W3C’s Open Web Platform, including HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, various APIs and more. Nearly all of these technologies are already in use, at varying degrees of maturity and implementation.

Additionally, because HTML5 anchors the Open Web Platform, the W3C has started work on a test suite to ensure high levels of interoperability. The W3C invites test suite contributions from the community, which will enable software implementers to fulfill the W3C’s implementation criteria and make it easier to create content and applications. The testing effort will play an important role in the timely completion of the standard.

Submitted Tests

As part of developing IE9, which is in a “release candidate” phase, Microsoft submitted thousands of tests to the W3C and other standards groups. In a 10 February blog post, Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, said:

“Implementing web standards is just the start of our commitment to an interoperable web and Same Markup. Comprehensive test suites developed through the standards bodies are crucial to making sure that browser vendors implement these standards consistently. With this Release Candidate we’ve added over a thousand new test cases for JavaScript and updated over fifty test cases based on community feedback. During IE9 development we have now submitted just under 4000 test cases in total for standards like HTML5. We have submitted these tests to the appropriate standards bodies for feedback and eventual inclusion in their official test suites. You can try them out for yourself at the IE Test Center.”

Also, according to the W3C, stable standards play an important role in the broad deployment of technology. As reference points, they make it easier for large numbers of independent implementers to achieve interoperability across diverse platforms, devices and industries. This is particularly important in the rich ecosystem of HTML producers and consumers, which includes authoring tools, browsers, email clients, security applications, content management systems, tools to analyse or convert content, assistive technologies, and unanticipated applications. Stable standards with community support give developers and implementers confidence that what they build today will continue to work in the future, the W3C said.

Meanwhile, as part of the mission of the W3C HTML Working Group to continue the evolution of HTML, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee also encourages the group to begin discussion of requirements for future versions of HTML.