The Development of HTML5
At the turn of the millennium, HTML was at version 4 and the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) , the standards body that oversees the World Wide Web, decided that the future was
in using XHTML, an extensible version of HTML. Version 1 of XHTML had been made a
standard and development of version 2 was underway. A big problem with version 2 was
that it would not be backwardly compatible with previous versions of HTML or XHTML.
Because of this potential to “break the Web,” the Web Hypertext Application Technology
Working Group (WHATWG) was set up by Apple, the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Soft-
ware in 2004 to develop a new version of HTML—one that made the most of the latest tech-
nologies while still being backwardly compatible. The pragmatic aim of WHATWG was to
create a future-proof version of HTML that would also work in today's browsers, rather than
being just a dream for the future (which is what XHTML version 2 turned out to be). New
elements were introduced as well as new APIs for displaying media, such as playingvideos
natively in the browser, which would have previously required a plugin such as Flash.
In 2009, the W3C dropped development of XHTML 2.0 and officially endorsed HTML5.
The W3C and WHATWG now work together in developing the HTML5 specification, al-
though there are still some differences―the W3C are developing HTML5 as a "fixed" stand-
ard that will be frozen once the candidate recommendation is accepted. After this, the next
version of HTML (presumably version 6) will be developed.
In contrast, WHATWG are working at developing HTML as a "living" standard with a spe-
cification in a constant state of evolution, so there are no specific versions. It's highly likely
that W3C will base future versions of HTML on the state of the WHATWG HTML specific-
ation at the time.
In 2011, the W3C unveiled the official HTML5 logo. It was accompanied by a big explosion
of interest as vendors such as Apple started using the term HTML5 to describe its latest web
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