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“Practical use” —New features should be added based on use cases.
Ideally, these should be based on real issues developers experience in
working around the limits of existing standards.
“Scripting is here to stay” —JavaScript had become something of a sec-
ond-class citizen in XHTML . Although the WHATWG preferred a
declarative markup approach, especially for the initial application
state, it recognized that scripting will always have a significant role.
“Device-specific profiling should be avoided” —The W3C produced a cut-
down version of the XHTML spec for mobile devices. The
WHATWG felt that authors shouldn't have to produce different ver-
sions of their markup for different devices.
“Open process” —Although the W3C has open mailing lists, it also has
private ones. WHATWG activity is conducted entirely under public
This isn't to say the principles of the WHATWG were entirely orthogo-
nal to those being followed by the W3C 's XML -focused working
groups, but there was a significant difference in approach. The W3C
continued to work on XHTML2 while the WHATWG worked on
HTML5 . XHTML2 had the backing of the recognized standards body,
but it primarily appealed to people who wanted to use other XML -
based technologies. HTML5 garnered far more popular support with
its “evolution rather than revolution” approach and its exhaustive doc-
umenting of browser behavior.
In addition to the seven principles, the HTML5 spec took the step of
combining the separate HTML and DOM specs by the W3C . Experi-
ence had shown that trying to maintain them as two specifications led
to inconsistencies and incompatibilities. In the HTML5 spec, the DOM
became the basis of correct parsing—two implementations would be
interoperable if they produced the same DOM tree from an HTML
Eventually the W3C realized that it risked being made irrelevant by
real-world events. In March 2007, it relaunched the HTML W orking
Group. Mozilla, Apple, and Opera proposed that the WHATWG
HTML5 specs be taken as the starting point of this new group's work,
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