Two groups have been involved in the development of HTML standards. One is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the other is the Web Hypertext Application Working Group (WHATWG). So when the latest version of HTML5 was presented, one would think that there would be little disagreement between these two groups.
For one, the World Wide Web Consortium has been absent from standards development for some time; that job has gone to the Web Hypertext Application Working Group. So there would be some friction between them.
Here is an example of the raucous e-mails floating around. “”childish,” “intolerable,” “ridiculous,” “shenanigans.” And there’s a concrete manifestation of the divisiveness: The WHATWG and W3C versions of the HTML5 specification, though both stemming from the same source material, have diverged in some areas.
Many differences are relatively small. Moreover, there are strong reasons to bring the two drafts of the HTML5 specification together. Mainly it would be a real problem for browser makers and Web developers to be faced with two incompatible standards for the same product. Nevertheless, these overseers of the Web are stepping on each other during a time when their new standard is just arriving in the spotlight.
What does HTML5 Offer to developers?
HTML5 has a number of important features. One is the ability to embed audio and video directly into a Web page without relying on Adobe Systems’ Flash Player plug-in. Another new feature, is the Canvas for 2D graphics and geolocation for Web sites to know a person’s physical location. These are standardized in the WHATWG version but aren’t in the W3C draft of HTML5. Other changes include an effort to codify how Web browsers should implement Web pages.
So some of the success of HTML5 will be dependent on compatibility: developers will want to write a single version of a Web page rather than creating different versions for different browsers. That is what the fight is about. Which version will be standard?