Major HTML update unveiled
The first major update to HTML in 10 years - factoring in changing tastes around rich-media applications and online collaboration - has been unveiled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The group has published the first public working draft for what it termed a "major revision" to the mark-up language.
Much has changed since the early dot-com days of December 1997 when HTML 4 was published, as developers, designers and users have unlocked the web's potential. Web sites have moved from being a collection of static pages to media-rich communities leveraging participation.[Fire up the hookah, boys - Ed]
HTML 5 is designed to reflect this, with APIs for drawing two-dimensional graphics, embedding and controlling multimedia, managing client-side data storage and editing parts of documents. Turning to more bread-and-butter stuff, HTML 5 will also make it easier to represent familiar page elements. A full list of changes can be found here.
"Ajax and related innovations have propelled demands for a new standard that allows people to create web applications that interoperate across desktop and mobile," the group said.
HTML 5 is designed to inject more consistency into the ways vendors and end users have gone about building today's generation of sites. According to the W3C, HTML 5 will: "Improve interoperability and reduce software costs by giving precise rules not only about how to handle all correct HTML documents but also how to recover errors."
The work is being stewarded by the W3C's HTML Working Group, founded in March 2007. Members include Google, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla and Nokia.®
for those who demand implementations...
Note the following quote from the W3C statement of HTML 5 differences from HTML 4:
"The HTML 5 specification will not be considered finished before there are at least two complete implementations of the specification. This is a different approach than previous versions of HTML had. The goal is to ensure that the specification is implementable and usable by designers and developers once it is finished."
I've heard rumours that frames have been dropped in HTML 5.0.
I know I could have a look at the spec meself, but I'm about to nip out for a paper, so I thought I'd harness the mighty opinionsphere that is the El Reg comments form instead.
If true, it will be a bit of a pain. I know tha tpurists rather look down on frames, but I do find them to be useful on occasion.
HTML has layout tags already
"They need to address layout by having a table-like set of tags that can be ignored/understood by non-visual user-agents (readers etc.)"
They have this: it's called the table tag. The table tag is brilliant for laying out content that is readable in a text-only browser. The key is to actually check your design in a text-only browser (or Opera's text browser simulation) as you develop it. That way nasties can be caught and fixed early. As an added bonus, this method avoids the unreadable vile bodge that is DIVs & CSS used to do little more than simulate tables.