W3C announces HTML 5

January 24, 2008 // 8:54 a.m.

Tags: #code #html #language #programming #w3c #web

The World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for setting standards for the Interweb, has announced the first working draft for the next version of the HTML standard.

The next edition of the markup language, somewhat unsurprisingly called HTML 5, marks the first significant change to the HTML standard in ten years.

The new release reflects the growth of the web from its origins as a text-based medium through whizzy 90s .GIF graphics to its current incarnation as a multimedia platform. Accordingly, HTML 5 will bring new APIs for drawing dynamic two-dimensional content within the browser, better ways of embedding videos, client-side persistent data storage via a JavaScript API and embedded databases, push data connections that will end the need to keep hitting 'refresh' on your webmail, and even Wiki-style editable pages.

Perhaps most interesting is the stuff that didn't make it into the standard, with frames support being ditched completely in favour of a combination of tables and cascading style sheets to control your page layouts. Its a move I for one will certainly welcome: my first tentative steps onto the web were via an early version of Netscape, and frames and Netscape didn't mix particularly well.

Parts of the old HTML 4 standard deprecated by HTML 5 aren't going to vanish overnight, of course. Browsers will continue to support HTML 4 markup for quite some time – possibly forever. It'll also be a while before browsers have implemented everything detailed within the working draft, with Opera currently leading the way for HTML support.

If you're wondering about all the new features introduced in the draft – especially if you're a webmaster wanting to get a headstart on making your pages HTML 5 compliant – you can read the full working draft at the W3C website.

Looking forward to grappling with the new features, or is plain-old HTML 1 good enough for you? Share your thoughts on the new standard over in the forums.

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