The Future of HTML5

The term "HTML5" has become synonymous with the future of the Web

What exactly is it?

Where did it come from? Where is it going?

A History of Specifications

The first draft of HTML was created by Tim Berners-Lee & Daniel Connolly in 1993 and was introduced as "a simple format for providing linked information." But things didn't stop there. Today the W3C is working on HTML5.

HTML 1993

HTML 2 1995

HTML 3 1997

HTML 4 1997-98

HTML 4.1 1999

HTML 5 In progress



ECMAScript 5




How a Standard is Made

It all starts with an idea. A working group of experts and interested parties work to shape the idea through a series of working drafts. Eventually, the specification reaches Last Call which means it is feature complete. But the work is not complete yet, more is needed before it finally becomes a recommendation.

  1. First Working Draft

  2. Working Draft

  3. Last Call

  4. Candidate Recommendation

  5. Recommendation

The Unpredictable Path

Creating a standard is complicated. While the process is clear, the path can be unpredictable with issues arising along the way.


Sometimes the process can involve a very large number of working draft. WebSockets has gone through over 80 working drafts and has not yet reached Last Call.


At other times a specification may never be completed. WebSQL went through a large number of working drafts, but was eventually discontinued.

Map of Specifications

If you look at the maturity across the web platform, there are varying levels of readiness and stability across the specs.

There has been some discussion about when the web platform will be ready for use. The reality is that there won't be a point in time when everything is fully ready.

Instead, as some specifications mature, new ones are added.

The Map of HTML5

  1. First Public Working Draft
  2. Working Draft
  3. Last Call
  4. Candidate Recommendation
  5. Recommendation

Getting to Interoperability

Interoperability is difficult, but critical. History has repeatedly shown that designers, developers and users alike suffer when browsers aren't interoperable.

Looking to the Future

The web is not standing still. As it expands, it's becoming a core part of more and more devices, from PC's to phones to TVs to cars. Developers want to reach users across all these devices.

Getting standards and interoperability right is more important than ever before. It means more time spent creating great experiences and less time spent handling inconsistencies. Everybody wins.

Forwards Backwards