Recently the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body handling all things web related, pushed a new HTML5 logo. The idea was to provide a visual identity for the emerging standard, but it also bundled things like CSS3, SVG and so on, technologies that are certainly not HTML.
Already, plenty of developers were complaining about the confusion fed by the media. HTML5 was becoming a buzzword for a number of related web technologies.
With the new HTML5 logo
, promoted by the W3C but not yet official, the organization was only adding to the confusion, leading to quite a lot of backlash. Plenty of people had enough.HTML5 will be known simply as HTML
Among them, HTML5 editor Ian Hickson who has announced that the WHATWG, the group responsible for the proposed HTML5 standard and a number of related technologies, will be dropping the version number and will instead treat HTML as a 'living standard,' constantly evolving.
"The HTML specification will henceforth just be known as 'HTML'," Ian Hickson announced
on the WHATWG blog.
"The WHATWG HTML spec can now be considered a 'living standard'. It's more mature than any version of the HTML specification to date, so it made no sense for us to keep referring to it as merely a draft. We will no longer be following the 'snapshot' model of spec development, with the occasional 'call for comments', 'call for implementations', and so forth," he explained.A little history lesson
The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group came about quite a few years ago as a result of the direction the W3C was taking. The formal standards body had dropped development on HTML and was instead focusing on XHTML, a new XML-based standard.
However, people from Opera, Mozilla and Apple went off and created the WHATWG to continue development on the HTML standard and started working on HTML5.
The W3C eventually failed to do anything with XHMTL, it was hard to do so without the support of browser makers, and instead adopted HTML5. However, it is still working towards a formal standard and labels HTML5 as in draft. What it means for the future of HTML/HTML5
Most browser makers already use the WHATWG versions of the standard, rather than the W3C vetted snapshots, with the notable exception of Microsoft.
So, in practice, there really shouldn't be much that changes. What's more, WHATWG says that it has effectively operated like this until now, it's only a name change and nothing more.
However, there are those that don't see this as a smart move. After all a standard that constantly changes is not really much of a standard and pretty much defeats the point. Website makers are also weary of having to maintain their websites following a standard that may be change frequently.