A Preview of HTML 5

A List Apart has a nice article on a Preview of HTML 5 and should be a good informative read for anybody who is in the web business. The articles takes us inside on how HTML 5 will liberate us from the pseudo semantics that we have followed with HTML 4. HTML 4 has been around for nearly a decade and web publishers are seeking new techniques to provide enhanced functionality. Looks like hope is round the corner with HTML 5.

Work on HTML 5, which commenced in 2004, is currently being carried out in a joint effort between the W3C HTML WG and the WHATWG. Many key players are participating in the W3C effort including representatives from the four major browser vendors: Apple, Mozilla, Opera, and Microsoft; and a range of other organisations and individuals with many diverse interests and expertise.

Unlike previous versions of HTML and XHTML, which are defined in terms of their syntax, HTML 5 is being defined in terms of the Document Object Model (DOM) - the tree representation used internally by browsers to represent the document. The advantage of defining HTML 5 in terms of the DOM is that the language itself can be defined independently of the syntax.

Work on HTML 5 is rapidly progressing, yet it is still expected to continue for several years. Due to the requirement to produce test cases and achieve interoperable implementations, current estimates have work finishing in around ten to fifteen years. During this process, feedback from a wide range of people including, among others, web designers and developers, CMS and authoring tool vendors, and browser vendors is vital to ensure its success. Everyone is not only welcome, but actively encouraged to contribute feedback on HTML 5.

In addition to the specification, there are several other related efforts designed to help people better understand the work.

There are numerous venues through which you may contribute. You may join the W3C’s HTML WG and subscribe/contribute to the HTML WG mailing lists or wiki. You may also subscribe and contribute to the any of the WHATWG mailing lists, post to the WHATWG forum, post comments or write articles on the WHATWG blog.