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W3C apologizes for HTML5 brand confusion

Scales back meaning, clings to madness

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has apologized for the confusion created by its new HTML5 logo

Ian Jacobs, the W3C's head of marketing and communications, has conceded that the wording that accompanied Tuesday's unveiling of the HTML5 logo may have confused some people and slighted others.

Jacobs singled out the statement that the HTML5 logo covers "a broad set of open web technologies", acknowledging that for some, this "muddies the waters" of the open web platform.

In launching the HTML5 logo, the W3C called it a "general-purpose visual identity" that denotes HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and other technologies used to build web applications. The logo FAQ now explains that CSS3 is not part of HTML5.

Otherwise, the FAQ continues to stubbornly bare its backside in the face of mother reason.

The logo still does not come with any certification or validation process, so anybody can slap the HTML5 logo on their web page regardless of whether they use HTML5 or not. You can hack the logo's color and size to look the way you want, making it even more useless. And the logo is not officially endorsed by the W3C. That might come in the next three months, depending on the level of adoption by sites that may or may not be using HTML5 and - we presume - on the numbers of people in the community sporting t-shirts with the logo.

Regardless, Jacobs says of the new wording: "I trust that the updated language better aligns with community expectations."

Meanwhile, Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) is pushing for HTML5 to be considered a finished work. HTML is officially the work of the W3C's HTML Working Group, with HTML5 currently at the editor's draft phase.

WHATWG has determined that HTML5 is more "mature than any specification to date" and that it's senseless to keep calling it a draft. "The WHATWG HTML spec can now be considered a 'living standard'," said Googler Ian Hickson. WHATWG is also dropping the "5" from the spec and just calling it HTML.

WHATWG describes itself as a growing community of people interested in evolving the web, formed by individuals from Apple, the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software in 2004. HTML is the group's main focus. It purports to represent people who "for a number of reasons are unable to join the W3C group", which is responsible for sign-off on HTML5. ®

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