HTML5
CSS3
JavaScript
Sample
Background

The World Wide Web's markup language has always been HTML. HTML was primarily designed as a language for semantically describing scientific documents, although its general design and adaptations over the years have enabled it to be used to describe a number of other types of documents. The main area that has not been adequately addressed by HTML is a vague subject referred to as Web Applications. This specification attempts to rectify this, while at the same time updating the HTML specifications to address issues raised in the past few years.

Audience

This specification is intended for authors of documents and scripts that use the features defined in this specification, implementors of tools that operate on pages that use the features defined in this specification, and individuals wishing to establish the correctness of documents or implementations with respect to the requirements of this specification. This document is probably not suited to readers who do not already have at least a passing familiarity with Web technologies, as in places it sacrifices clarity for precision, and brevity for completeness. More approachable tutorials and authoring guides can provide a gentler introduction to the topic.

HTML vs XHTML

This specification defines an abstract language for describing documents and applications, and some APIs for interacting with in-memory representations of resources that use this language. The in-memory representation is known as "DOM HTML", or "the DOM" for short. This specification defines version 5 of DOM HTML, known as "DOM5 HTML". There are various concrete syntaxes that can be used to transmit resources that use this abstract language, two of which are defined in this specification.

History
For its first five years (1990-1995), HTML went through a number of revisions and experienced a number of extensions, primarily hosted first at CERN, and then at the IETF.

With the creation of the W3C, HTML's development changed venue again. A first abortive attempt at extending HTML in 1995 known as HTML 3.0 then made way to a more pragmatic approach known as HTML 3.2, which was completed in 1997. HTML4 followed, reaching completion in 1998.

At this time, the W3C membership decided to stop evolving HTML and instead begin work on an XML-based equivalent, called XHTML. This effort started with a reformulation of HTML4 in XML, known as XHTML 1.0, which added no new features except the new serialization, and which was completed in 2000. After XHTML 1.0, the W3C's focus turned to making it easier for other working groups to extend XHTML, under the banner of XHTML Modularization. In parallel with this, the W3C also worked on a new language that was not compatible with the earlier HTML and XHTML languages, calling it XHTML2.

Around the time that HTML's evolution was stopped in 1998, parts of the API for HTML developed by browser vendors were specified and published under the name DOM Level 1 (in 1998) and DOM Level 2 Core and DOM Level 2 HTML (starting in 2000 and culminating in 2003). These efforts then petered out, with some DOM Level 3 specifications published in 2004 but the working group being closed before all the Level 3 drafts were completed.

In 2003, the publication of XForms, a technology which was positioned as the next generation of Web forms, sparked a renewed interest in evolving HTML itself, rather than finding replacements for it. This interest was borne from the realization that XML's deployment as a Web technology was limited to entirely new technologies (like RSS and later Atom), rather than as a replacement for existing deployed technologies (like HTML).

A proof of concept to show that it was possible to extend HTML4's forms to provide many of the features that XForms 1.0 introduced, without requiring browsers to implement rendering engines that were incompatible with existing HTML Web pages, was the first result of this renewed interest. At this early stage, while the draft was already publicly available, and input was already being solicited from all sources, the specification was only under Opera Software's copyright.

The idea that HTML's evolution should be reopened was tested at a W3C workshop in 2004, where some of the principles that underlie the HTML5 work (described below), as well as the aforementioned early draft proposal covering just forms-related features, were presented to the W3C jointly by Mozilla and Opera. The proposal was rejected on the grounds that the proposal conflicted with the previously chosen direction for the Web's evolution; the W3C staff and membership voted to continue developing XML-based replacements instead.

Shortly thereafter, Apple, Mozilla, and Opera jointly announced their intent to continue working on the effort under the umbrella of a new venue called the WHATWG. A public mailing list was created, and the draft was moved to the WHATWG site. The copyright was subsequently amended to be jointly owned by all three vendors, and to allow reuse of the specification.

The WHATWG was based on several core principles, in particular that technologies need to be backwards compatible, that specifications and implementations need to match even if this means changing the specification rather than the implementations, and that specifications need to be detailed enough that implementations can achieve complete interoperability without reverse-engineering each other.

The latter requirement in particular required that the scope of the HTML5 specification include what had previously been specified in three separate documents: HTML4, XHTML1, and DOM2 HTML. It also meant including significantly more detail than had previously been considered the norm.

In 2006, the W3C indicated an interest to participate in the development of HTML5 after all, and in 2007 formed a working group chartered to work with the WHATWG on the development of the HTML5 specification. Apple, Mozilla, and Opera allowed the W3C to publish the specification under the W3C copyright, while keeping a version with the less restrictive license on the WHATWG site.

Since then, both groups have been working together.