HTML5 Still Not a Standard Until 2014

W3CFrom the ‘fine print’ files:

The W3C announced today that the HTML5 definition is now complete. This is a big deal for the web and all of us that work and use it…but it’s not end of the story.

The definition is not a final standard for HTML5, though it is an important milestone. HTML5 will not likely be a full bona-fide standard until mid 2014 according to what Jeff Jaffe told me during a conference call today to talk about HTML5.

Between now and mid-2014 the W3C will work ensuring stability and building out test suites.

Today’s news really should come as now surprise. After all, HTML5 has been in development for a looong time. In February of 2011, the last call for HTML5was issued for HTML5.

Work on HTML5 overall has been ongoing since at least 2007. That’s right, from initiation to full specification is likely a seven year marathon.

Does anyone else think that’s a bit nuts?

I have nothing but respect for the W3C, but the web moves faster. Seven years ago, the web was a different place. HTML5 has helped to reshape that web, moving it to a more dynamic and mobile footing — and all of that happened as the standard itself was evolving.

It’s important to remember that while HTML5 is just now hitting its final stages of standardization, developers and hundreds of millions of people around the world already benefit from HTML5 today.

Standards are the end of the road in my view for adoption, not the beginning. Early adopters, like the browser vendors, have implement many (if not most) of the features in the definition already , well ahead of the 2014 final specification.

During the conference call today, Jaffe note that stability, which is what a W3C standard provides, is very critical in a number of industries – among them is set top boxes. It is my belief that in the modern world even firmware bound hardware, like a TV can (and is) often updated. That said, do you really want to update your TV every six weeks?

The HTML5 standards process is now also pushing forward with the first preliminary ideas into HTML 5.1. The process by which 5.1 will evolve is an interesting one.

Jaffe noted that Extension Specifications will be developed by different groups. Then over time different Extensions will be consider for inclusion into the formal HTML 5.1 standard.

The days of HTML 4.x are long since past. The era of HTML5 is now here (so don’t wait until 2014!)

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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