The WHATWG Blog

Please leave your sense of logic at the door, thanks!

W3C restarts HTML effort

by Ian Hickson in WHATWG

The W3C today publicly announced that they are restarting an HTML specification effort. This is great news and a clear validation of the WHATWG effort, which has been leading the maintenance and development of HTML since 2004.

Surprisingly, the W3C never actually contacted the WHATWG during the chartering process. However, the WHATWG model has clearly had some influence on the creation of this group, and the charter says that the W3C will try to "actively pursue convergence with WHATWG". Hopefully they will get in contact soon.

In the meantime, apparently anyone can actually join the W3C effort. The instructions to join the group are as follows:

  1. Fill in the Public Access Request Form; in the "Reason" field, put: "To apply for participation in the HTML Working Group as an Invited Expert."
  2. Within about five minutes you'll receive a confirmation code by e-mail. Follow the instructions in that e-mail.
  3. You should get a reply back from that within two days, giving you a username and password. Fill in the W3C Invited Expert Application form. Under "Financial Support", if you're not going to attend any meetings or if you're going to attend meetings on your own dime, just put "Self-supported". Under "Possible W3C Membership", if you're employed but your employer doesn't know you're doing this, or doesn't care, just pick "My employer does not intend to join".
  4. E-mail Dan Connolly and Karl DubostMike Smith (connolly@w3.org, karl@w3.orgmike@w3.org) asking for approval. (Just say "Hi, I'd like to join the HTML working group. Thanks.")
  5. You should get a reply back within about ten days, at which point you can fill in the Joining the HTML Working Group form.

I would encourage everyone interested in working with the HTML working group to go through these steps as soon as possible, so that you will be a member of the group before the work starts.

Joining the group doesn't commit you to anything (e.g. you won't have to attend meetings or anything if you don't want to). The group's charter clearly says that all decisions will be made in ways that don't require attending meetings.

This post has been updated a few times to take into account new information about how to join the group.

21 Responses to “W3C restarts HTML effort”

  1. [...] Ian Hickson commented over at the WHATWG: Surprisingly, the W3C never actually contacted the WHATWG during the chartering process. However, the WHATWG model has clearly had some influence on the creation of this group, and the charter says that the W3C will try to “actively pursue convergence with WHATWG”. Hopefully they will get in contact soon. [...]

  2. Fazal Majid says:

    Like Mark Pilgrim, I stopped paying attention to what W3C has to say after their gambit to replace forms with the half-baked XForms and generally break backward compatibility with HTML.

    The press release suggests they are still trying to sell the XForms snake oil. The W3C is a pay-to-play group, and like most standards, XHTML suffers from an arrogant not-invented-here reinvent-the-square-wheel mentality. In light of this, it’s not surprising an invitation to WHATWG was conveniently misplaced…

  3. [...] Im Blog der Konkurrenz-Organisation WHAT WG, ruft man tatsächlich auf, sich schnellstens anzumelden, bevor die Arbeit beginnt. Mit anderen Worten, werden die in der WHAT WG zusammengeschlossenen Experten es sich nicht nehmen lassen, auch an der W3C-Gruppe teilzunehmen. Allerdings gibt man sich auch leicht vergrätzt, dass man nicht schon eingeladen wurde: Zitat von blog.whatwg.org:Surprisingly, the W3C never actually contacted the WHATWG during the chartering process. However, the WHATWG model has clearly had some influence on the creation of this group, and the charter says that the W3C will try to “actively pursue convergence with WHATWG”. Hopefully they will get in contact soon. [...]

  4. SLV Dweller says:

    By forming a new HTML working group, I think the W3C is beginning to acknowledge the influence of browsers from Apple, Mozilla and Opera. Whatever the outcome of any W3C/WHATWG collaboration may be, I think the evolution of the web in a public manner stands to benefit everyone.

    I’m hoping that such evolution will help foster the adoption of the application/xhtml+xml MIME type. Its implications for blog software developers and users will also be a factor on how well XHTML5 (or whatever its name ends up being) is deployed.

  5. [...] WHATWG Blog: »W3C restarts HTML effort« [...]

  6. [...] Sam Ruby mentions Ian Hickson’s entry informing that the W3C is restarting the HTML specification effort (press release). Since it was decided that HTML was going to live, X/HTML 5 specification had been in focus. The good part is that the new activity is going to be open to contributions from the field. That will surely help. I have a feeling this will end up being something very critical for the future of Web. OpenIDSay your thought! [...]

  7. Robert says:

    Now that W3C’s HTML 5 implementation can be expected, I’m very curious about how WHATWG and W3C versions of HTML 5 will interoperate in the browser space if there are conflicts between the two. I’ve discussed my view at length in my blog (linked above), but I’d like to get an official opinion. The gist of it is as follows:

    If the two recommendations differ about how an element should be displayed, how will the browser know which version the author meant to use? If the W3C decides to use the DTDless DOCTYPE (like the WHATWG specifies), there is nothing the browser can sniff on (just because they don’t care about DTDs now doesn’t mean they never will). Is this a problem, or does WHATWG expect either a) to add some versioning system, DTD or otherwise, to the DOCTYPE or b) for the W3C to continue the use of the DTD in the DOCTYPE?

  8. Ian Hickson says:

    Robert: I intend to make every effort to keep the two in sync.

  9. [...] As Ian Hickson has suggested, i will try to join W3C HTML working group, though i do not consider myself a big expert in this area, i have certainly read a couple of W3C’s documents and as a software developer and a project manager, i have had a lot of things to do with specifications based on the W3C standards. The most important thing about working in such group should be a common sense and being more or less reasonable which i hope to be. =O) HTML and xHTML represent a very big interest for me, all web design is based on them and there are so many elements and functionalities that all web developers are missing. [...]

  10. [...] 7 марта 2007 года произошло, простите мне пафос, историческое событие: W3C официально сообщил о возобновлении разработки HTML (узнал от Йена Хиксона). Также в связи с этим открыта и страница HTML на сайте W3C. [...]

  11. der-vertrag says:

    I Think HTML gives you all you need,we dont need another standard,it is enough with flash,html,xhtml …..

    Best Regards

    Timo

  12. Hi Ian Hickson,

    Nice simple steps to join the HTML Working Group. I have just submitted my request.

    Thanks for pointing us :) .

  13. Clair Dunn says:

    Ian –
    I started out to follow the instructions above, but didn’t get far– as the first thing it said was “as an Invited Expert you must give the name … etc.”

    How can I get past this??

    Would appreciate help, as I would really like to be a part of this.

    Thanks!
    Clair

  14. Now that W3C’s HTML 5 implementation can be expected, I’m very curious about how WHATWG and W3C versions of HTML 5 will interoperate in the browser space if there are conflicts between the two. I’ve discussed my view at length in my blog (linked above), but I’d like to get an official opinion.

  15. [...] A few weeks ago, I joined the HTML WG as soon as it started, which is open to anyone. For this group, I’ll be contributing much like I have been doing for the past 3 years with the WHATWG. [...]

  16. [...] If you also need to join the WG, please read the post W3C restarts HTML effort on the (highly recommended) WHATWG Blog. [...]

  17. [...] The W3C has recently chartered a new HTML Working Group, separate from the working group that is chartered to produce XHTML2. The HTML Working Group is open to the public through the mechanism for becoming an invited expert. How it ties in with work from the other W3C working groups—as well as with the WHATWG —remains to be seen. The chairs of the new group are Chris Wilson, Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft, and Dan Connolly of the W3C. [...]

  18. [...] Es el momento de ponerse las pilas. Por el momento JavaScript 1.7 está en el tintero pero afortunadamente no está limitando los desarrollos. La nueva versión de HTML (la 5 ya) aunque se ha estancado parece que está recibiendo una patada en los huevos del grupo de WHATWG (que si tenemos suerte serán los que definan el próximo estándar, considerando como se les cae la pelota a la W3C con HTML). Finalmente tenemos CSS2.1 funcionando ahora y los navegadores implementando partes de CSS3 porque no pueden esperar más (algunos desde hace años). [...]

  19. [...] I’ll admit I have not taken a great deal of direct notice in the development of the HTML5 specification by the WHATWG. I have read over the specification from time to time, that’s about it. It’s not that I’m not interested; it’s been a question of resources and time. However with the W3C HTML working group announcing the opening up the process of the draft development process and the merging of their current effort with the HTML5 spec, this has brought the process back onto my radar again. Okay maybe a little belatedly, since this happened in late March (2007). [...]

  20. tshirts says:

    Personally, I support the W3C’s efforts, but I have heard a number of complaints recently from several quarters. Some have argued that standards have a tendency to stunt experimentation among programmers, resulting in less creativity and less stagnation in programming generally. Others have suggested that the certification process is unfairly weighted, such that a small site with a great many errors receives essentially the same rating as a large site with complex code and one or two minor errors. The most valid complaint I’ve heard is that many small-time designers feel that the W3C is only listening to input from larger players in the industry as it goes forward with development. I wouldn’t say that these necessarily doom standards initiatives. Ultimately standards is too important an idea. There does seem to be a need for improvement in operation though.