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Archive for the ‘WHATWG’ Category

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

As support for WebM is ramping up, Web authors can start using it. However, since not everyone has a WebM-enabled browser, yet, using WebM on your site poses the problem of having to explain to the visitors of your site how they can view WebM. It is inefficient for everyone to have to do this from scratch on their sites. Also, chances are that per-site help text will be incomplete and out of date soon.

To address this problem, with hosting and domain name help from Anne van Kesteren, I have made as a place to pool the effort. When you publish WebM content, instead of explaining which browsers support WebM, you can simply link to and it will detect if the user’s browser supports WebM. If the browser doesn’t support WebM, the page will suggest upgrading the browser to a new version that supports WebM, installing a WebM decoder if the browser supports 3rd-party decoders and one is available, switching to another browser or using another operating system (as applicable and in that order).

The dull visual appearance of the page is a known problem. Visual design isn’t my strong point. I have also avoided using logos without permission. If you’d like to contribute nicer CSS or a nicer-looking (but still short and on-topic) test clip, please find hsivonen on the #whatwg IRC channel on Freenode. Also, if you can contribute accurate advice for platforms that aren’t already covered (e.g. FreeBSD, AIX or OS/2), please drop a line on IRC or in the comments here. (You can view source on to see what is already covered.)

Posted in WHATWG | 16 Comments »

HTML is the new HTML5

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In 2009 we announced that the HTML5 specification at the WHATWG was progressing to Last Call. The plan at the time was to finish the specification this year and publish a snapshot of "HTML5" in 2012. However, shortly after that we realised that the demand for new features in HTML remained high, and so we would have to continue maintaining HTML and adding features to it before we could call "HTML5" complete, and as a result we moved to a new development model, where the technology is not versioned and instead we just have a living document that defines the technology as it evolves.

As there is still interest in publishing a snapshot of HTML5, the W3C is still working on that (in conjunction with the WHATWG).

Because the specification is now a living document, we are today announcing two changes:

  1. The HTML specification will henceforth just be known as "HTML", with the URL (We will also continue to maintain the Web Applications 1.0 specification that contains HTML and a number of related APIs like Web Storage, Web Workers, and Server-Sent Events.)
  2. The WHATWG HTML spec can now be considered a "living standard". It's more mature than any version of the HTML specification to date, so it made no sense for us to keep referring to it as merely a draft. We will no longer be following the "snapshot" model of spec development, with the occasional "call for comments", "call for implementations", and so forth.

In practice, the WHATWG has basically been operating like this for years, and indeed we were going to change the name last year but ended up deciding to wait a bit since people still used the term "HTML5" a lot. However, the term is now basically being used to mean anything Web-standards-related, so it's time to move on!

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask them in the comments or on IRC. We'll update the FAQ with the most commonly asked questions.

Posted in WHATWG | 152 Comments »

XHTML5 in a nutshell

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The WHATWG Wiki portal has a nice section describing HTML vs. XHTML differences, as well as specifics of a polyglot HTML document that also would be able to serve HTML5 document as valid XML document. I'd like to review what it takes to transform an HTML5 polyglot document into a valid XHTML5 document: it appears, finally the 'XHTML5' has become an official name.

The W3C first public working draft of "Polyglot Markup" recommendation describes polyglot HTML document as a document that conforms to both the HTML and XHTML syntax by using a common subset of both the HTML and XHTML and in a nutshell the HTML5 polyglot document is:

Polyglot document could serve as either HTML or XHTML, depending on browser support and MIME type. A polyglot HTML5 code essentially becomes XHTML5 document if it is served with the XML MIME type application/xhtml+xml . In a nutshell the XHTML5 document is: Finally, the basic XHTML5 document would look like this:
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns="">
<meta charset="UTF-8" />


<svg xmlns="">
<rect stroke="black" fill="blue" x="45px" y="45px" width="200px" height="100px" stroke-width="2" />

The XML declaration <?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”UTF-8”?> is not required if the default UTF-8 encoding is used: an XHTML5 validator would not mind if it is omitted. However it is strongly recommended to configure the encoding using server HTTP Content-Type header, otherwise this character encoding could be included in the document as part of a meta tag <meta charset="UTF-8" />. This encoding declaration would be needed for a polyglot document so that it will be treated as UTF-8 if served as either HTML or XHTML.

The Total Validator Tool - Firefox plugin/desktop app has now the user-selectable option for XHTML5-specific validation.

I would say that the main advantage of using XHTML5 would be the ability to extend HTML5 to XML-based technologies such as SVG and MathML. The disadvantage is the lack of Internet Explorer support, more verbose code, and error handling. Unless we need that extensibility, HTML5 is the way to go.

Posted in Syntax, What's Next, WHATWG | 26 Comments »

HTML5 Rationale document

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I've started a page on the wiki to document the rationale for the decisions made about the HTML specification.

There are two goals for this document:

  1. Explain why things are the way they are
  2. Explain the difference between multiple similar elements by providing example usages.

One person can not possibly write the entire thing so I hope that this becomes a group process where anyone interested can contribute so go sign up, log in, and edit.

Posted in Syntax, WHATWG | 5 Comments »

HTML5 at Last Call

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

For a brief period today, there were no outstanding e-mails or bugs on the specs, and so I took that opportunity to transition us here at the WHATWG to the next stage of HTML5's development: Last Call! This affects three specs at the WHATWG:

There's also a version of the spec called Web Applications 1.0 (for nostalgic reasons) that has all of the above as well as a number of other specs, namely Web Storage, Web Database, Server-sent Events, and the Web Sockets API and protocol, all together in one document. With the exception of the Web Database spec, they're all now in last call at the WHATWG.

So if you've been waiting to see if someone else would report the problem that you had seen, well, if it's not fixed, they didn't! So you should now send that feedback in yourself.

There's two ways to send feedback. If your feedback is something short and simple, you can just load up the spec in your browser, click on the section with the problem, then type in your message using the review comments box that appears at the bottom of the window, and hit the "Submit Review Comments" button. This works for the HTML5 and Web Applications 1.0 specs. (Thanks to the W3C HTML Working Group for making their bug database available to us for this purpose.)

If your feedback is more elaborate, then you should subscribe to the mailing list and then send your feedback there.

Note: Lest there be any confusion, the W3C HTML WG has not yet transitioned HTML5 to Last Call at the W3C. HTML5 is a joint effort of W3C and WHATWG groups, but we have different issues lists and different criteria for going to Last Call. For more details on the W3C HTML WG's processes, see the W3C HTML WG charter.

Posted in WHATWG | 16 Comments »