The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced that after 3 years of painstaking work the HTML 5 specification has been finalised. Though not yet W3C standards, these specifications are now feature complete, meaning businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning. While many web designers/developers have already jumped on board the HTML5 bandwagon with the W3C stating that “HTML5 is the cornerstone of the Open Web Platform” (or “web standards” to us mere mortals) they can use the specification with confidence that things will not change.
The W3C will now embark on the stage of W3C standardization devoted to interoperability and testing. This will prevent, browser fragmentation, while for users, a finalized specification means we can look forward to more capable, reliable web applications.
This new focus on performance will hopefully help narrow the gap between web and native applications on mobile devices. Facebook notoriously switched from HTML5 to native apps for their mobile presence, claiming that going HTML5 was a mistake. This led to many to questions as to whether the Open Web Platform can compete.
Additionally, despite the good news regarding the specification, big question marks surround the issue of HTML5 video for which we have no clearer picture. The W3C still need to decide which codec to use. Apple and Microsoft are both supporting the Motion Picture Experts Group’s H.264 standard, while Google and Mozilla both support VP8 (the video component of WebM). The W3C has a royalty-free patent policy, which requires that any technology essential to its specifications be made freely available to all member organizations. They are helping with work towards royalty-free codecs for the WebRTC specification.
The HTML Working Group also published first drafts of HTML 5.1, HTML Canvas 2D Context, Level 2, and main element, providing an early view of the next round of standardization.
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