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Monday, June 07, 2010

HTML5 Defined! It's Not Just a Marketing Term

There's been a fair bit of discussion recently about what some folks mean when they say HTML5. I use HTML5 in the wider sense, so it's only right that I take a stab at defining what I mean when I say something is part of HTML5.

From a very high level, when I say HTML5 I mean:

"Everything that is in the formal W3C HTML5 spec; everything that used to be in there but was broken out for various reasons; sibling and related technologies and developments like CSS3, SVG, EcmaScript 5, etc.; and experimental explorations that are pushing the boundaries."

I won't go into the reasons why I use HTML5 in these more expansive terms, as I blogged about that recently.

Going deeper, I've broken these down into separate areas:


One small note; there are actually two HTML5 specs, one maintained by the W3C and the other maintained by the WhatWG.

You need to understand that HTML5 began as a revolution to the established order, initiated by the WhatWG. A peace of sorts developed over the years, with the upstart "Web Applications" and "Web Forms" specs brought in-house to the W3C under the moniker HTML5. Over time I'm assuming that the W3C spec, when Final Call has happened, will be the canonical spec.

To simplify things below, I'm only referencing the W3C HTML5 spec for now. Here's how I would break things down based on what I said above; if you think something should be somewhere else or things get moved around email me and I'll update this (Last Updated: June 14th, 2010). If you want to know the state of where these technologies are implemented see caniuse.com; if you want your code to detect what is available see Mark Pilgrim's book for details.

"HTML5 Strict": Strictly Inside the W3C's HTML5 Spec

"Referenced by HTML5": Referenced from W3C HTML5 spec, including how to parse into an HTML5 DOM; HTML5 parsing engines can optionally include these in DOM and display them

"Broken Out of HTML5": Used to be inside of HTML5, Web Applications, or Web Forms specifications

"HTML5 Family of Technologies": Extended set of technologies not strictly part of HTML5 spec or referenced but likely to be used in conjunction with HTML5
"HTML5++": More experimental technologies pushing the web forward; may or may not see broader adoption

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Comments:
Very nicely done & appreciated. Clarity is goog for everyone & I honestly think this is exactly what has been needed (and I sure would love to see this stay updated somewhere, maybe on a Google blog?). Anyway, I'll certainly be bookmarking it.
 
Oh oh... what's wrong with the links?
Each one seems to drive to a blogger account login.
Anyway this is a great article.

I'm gonna make an echo of it on my html5 blog :

http://on-air.hiseo.fr/
 
I've been struggling with this in conversations lately too. This is a great reference to point to, so I can say "When I say HTML5, I'm referring to the HTML5 family of technologies."
 
A few nits.

getElementsByClassName is still part of the official HTML5 spec at W3C: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/dom.html#dom-tree-accessors

_data attribute are supposed to be used by scripts, but they are not normally put on the script tags. Indeed, they can be put on any (start) tag.
 
Note that getElementsByClassName actually is part of "HTML5 strict".
 
There is also the ePub standard. A distant relative to be sure but there are those in the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) who see it moving toward HTML 5 as a way to include richer media and greater interactivity.

What do you think of that?
 
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