W3C to Develop New HTML Spec

The World Wide Web Consortium has announced plans to create a new HTML standard and to enhance the XHTML specification. The W3C is issuing a call for participation in the working group that will oversee the new standard, including Apple, Mozilla, Opera and Microsoft. In fact, Chris Wilson, platform architect of the Internet Explorer platform at Microsoft, is the co-chair of the new working group. The W3C is also inviting application developers and content designers to help design the next version of HTML by participating in the new W3C HTML Working Group. "HTML started simply, with structured markup, no licensing requirements, and the ability to link to anything. More than anything, this simplicity and openness has led to its tremendous and continued success. It's time to revisit the standard and see what we can do to meet the current community needs, and to do so effectively with commitments from browser manufacturers in a visible and open way," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and inventor of HTML.

W3C officials originally intended to turn HTML into an XML-based format (XHTML, Extensible HTML), because of the benefits of XML formats, but slow adoption by traditional browser vendors and content developers changed that. The HTML Working Group originally intended to resume development of HTML in a manner that unifies HTML 4 and XHTML 1 but now they will take up the effort to advance the technology instead. The Web developer and design communities have called for the W3C to renew its commitment to HTML by adding new features. W3C officials also noted that because XHTML has proved valuable in many markets and the need for it continues to grow, the group is working on XHTML 2.0, which will define an XML syntax for the new HTML in addition to the classic HTML syntax.

News source: eWeek

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Contributor scandal rocks Wikipedia

Next Story

Quero Toolbar 3.3: Customize IE7 & Block Ads


Commenting is disabled on this article.

I'm all up for a move to XHTML. It took everything we really needed out of HTML and left the backasswards-compatible crap behind -- an enormous breath of fresh air. Now that's done -- and despite what people have said it's actually really easy to code a clean XHTML page without any browser puking -- I don't really see what we need 'old' HTML for any longer. If browsers, with one voice, said "game over" to Spaghetti code, it would be an almighty and much-needed cleaning-up exercise for the WWW as a whole. All those ****ty early-90s sites built in Frontpage just wouldn't work any more, and the engines could take steps to ignore/de-list them. Then, those that cared could be sorted out and get back in the game, on the same page as everyone else, and the orphaned ones (sooooo many!) could just die in ignominy.

Does that sound extreme?

I'd like to see a new style search engine that supported SVG, XHTML and MathML, and such things as RDF (would be cool to search for sites by people who are friends of the creator of a logo, for example)

should build one, one of these days.

They really need to kick that IE guy out.
MS never cared about standards (they were just forced to be somewhat more standards compliant with IE7 due to the competition), and the IE guy would just twist the standards around in some weird way that fits MS bad.

Aero Ultimate said,
They really need to kick that IE guy out.
MS never cared about standards (they were just forced to be somewhat more standards compliant with IE7 due to the competition), and the IE guy would just twist the standards around in some weird way that fits MS bad.
Load of bull. Why do you think Microsoft hired one of the internet's biggest standards evangelists to improve IE8's standards support?

MaceX said,
XHTML is worthless considering just about no browser supports it fully.

Name just ONE browser that supports ANY language fully.

I thought the W3C was already developing a HTML 5 spec? Where the hell did this new one come from?

Anyways I know I'll be moving to XHTML 2.0 for sure. HTML is just too cumbersome for my liking.

ugh, bet this is going to be HTML5 from the WHAT-WG

HTML5 is a mess IMO, XHTML actually makes sense (and if they aren't continuing pushing it hard because of major browsers, we may as well be on CSS1 with incomplete implementation of HTML4, as that's what the largest browser supports)

I quite agree with them... I'd finally work with absolutely no flaws on my website... I know I have to fix 1 or 2 things so that it works in every browser and every platform, but just don't feel like searching around.

That makes absolutely no sense.
Are they a Norwegian Chef of the Muppets, trying to release another tag soup?

A multipurpose object element already exists, damn it!

HTML5 versus XHTML 2 - As per XHTML2, the a and img elements should be more than dead.

Nice read there, I like this object tag and these href available in every tag... it's also cool that they simplify the name of many other tags, like hr and stuff like that ;)

Hmm, not sure what I want... just a tag that actually works will make me happy

I don't know how this is news.

W3C is always working on new specs - the problem is that they're just never done.

I'll be waiting patiently, 5 years from now to implement the brand new specification.

Only to be disappointed when IE renders it one way, FF renders it completely different and Opera renders it somewhere in-between :P

They're never done because there's always place for something new and better.
At least the web is something that people can improve easily, thanks to them.

I just think, like you, that browsers take a LONG time to update to the new stuff. If W3C made their own public and free browser, then we'd always get the best out of the web.

PsykX said,
If W3C made their own public and free browser, then we'd always get the best out of the web.
Nope, we wouldn't. New technologys still need time to be accepted by everyone.

First, I can't say browsers have had trouble adapting to XHTML? The major issue seem to be following the MIME types correctly. For XHTML, it is application/xhtml+xml, but I wonder if IE 7 supports that. I recall IE 6 had trouble with it. But as for the tagging standard, it's so backwards compatible that I can't say I'm seeing everyday problems.

And now they think there has indeed been enough trouble with XHTML? Then the only follow up question that appears to me is: what makes them think browsers will adopt to a new HTML standard if they couldn't (in W3C's eyes) even follow a well-formed format based on XML?? After all, XHTML is easier to implement than HTML in many cases, because it's a far more well-formed syntax, and less forgiving. It's largely adapted for ease of computer parsing, hence browser adoption.

I can't say these news made much sense to me... So now they'll do two concurrent standards; a follow up to HTML and XHTML 2?? With the usual varying implementations by browser vendors, I can only imagine what train wreck that can become for web developers to follow. I'm thinking "IE 8 supports these 'HTML 5' features, but not these 'XHTML 2' ones, but Firefox 4 supports a lot of 'XHTML 2' stuff, but hasn't gone as far in the 'HTML 5' area".


Something I'd like to see in a new HTML spec is the ability to create your own tag, and have it behave, by default, like a span tag. Then, you could use CSS to define its style.

Basically, the ability to use XML tags in HTML. That way, i can have <pagetitle>Page Title</pagetitle> instead of <h2 class="pagetitle">Page Title</h2>

It would seriously cut down on divitis and classitis, and it would emphasis the notion of "HTML for structure, CSS for layout". It'd be a benefit to screen readers too, as "page title" means a lot more than "heading two".

You're talking of XSLT? Since XHTML is an implementation on top of XML, nothing prevent you from adding XSLT transformations to add a custom "span"-like tag if you wish in your own tag namespace, in addition to the "HTML"-like basics XHTML already provides by default.

Heck, even IE 6 support XSLT, and Firefox too, perhaps even Opera. And via XSLT, you can get far more advanced stuff than span or block tags, and even use it to transform it to outputs not intended for web browsers. It's very powerful.

View the page and source code for this web page for example:

That's an XML document in "human readable" form transformed into something decent (but since it's just a sample, nothing too advanced) by an XSLT document that define the actual tag and attribute behavior. If you think CSS is nice to customize things, it's really nothing compared to XSLT. The downside is that it can be pretty complex, although very flexible.

I know full well about XSLT and behaviors.

Not XSLT, because you have to go through the processing time of the transformation, and that's a burden on the user. Plus, you have to write another full page of code to transform your custom tags back into standard HTML.

Not behaviors because they're IE specific.

The point would be adding what I said into the HTML spec and have it supported by the browser so something like XSLT or behaviors isn't required.

Jack31081 said,
Not behaviors because they're IE specific.

behaviors can be used in other browsers. See dean edwards article on how to use behaviors in Firefox for example.
I built an full WYSIWYG cross-browser editor for my company's content management system using custom tags controlled by behavioirs.

You can already create your own tags with CSS, but you can't add attributes to it, unless you add a style="" in your tag.

pagetitle means just as much to a screen reader as mycat or movetoamerica, e.g. it's gibberish

And you can already do this with the spec's, just define a custom DTD and add your tags and attributes to it, just realise that once you do it, it's not HTML/XHTML any more, it's a custom spec, so not every webbrowser has to support it.

It is clearly obvious that no one here is actually a major web developer.

If you all did your research you all would realize that you can make your own tag names in XHTML in which all major browser already support.

You can then set CSS tags to those custom tag names.

Personally I don't want them to make another HTML standard. Why have 2 conflicting languages (HTML, XHTML)?

XHTML was designed to cleanup HTML and set the rules of XML into XHTML.

We should only hve a small set of languages as to make things simple for both developers and browsers.

XHTML = Structure
CSS (or convert to XSL) = Page Layout and Design
XML = Data Source

Then your only left with adding PHP or ASP for Server SIde scripting and Javascript etc for client side.

Also would like to see things like XForms etc intergrated withingthe 3 base sets above. ie. XForms have the ability to be intergrated into the XHTML and pull and send data via XML.

I'll stop rambling now sorry, just my 2 bits.