W3C HTML Working Group Publishes New Drafts

Last week, the W3C HTML Working Group reached a decision to publish several new working drafts and these are now available. The discussion about what to publish and how to structure the HTML5 specification has taken several months. In November, at the TPAC meeting, a request was made for the Microdata section of the specification to be removed. Back in August, I posted about our support for a separate Canvas 2D API specification.

Some people in the community raised concerns about exactly what should be in scope for the HTML working group. Tim Berners-Lee shared his thoughts:

“I agree with the WG chairs that these items -- data and canvas -- are reasonable areas of work for the group.  It is appropriate for the group to publish documents in this area. On the one hand, they elaborate areas touched on in HTML4. On the other, these elaborations are much deeper than the features of HTML4, but also they form separate subsystems, and these subsystems have strong overlaps with other design areas. It is important (a) that the design be modular; (b) that the specifications be kept modular and (c) that the communities of expertise of the respective fields (graphics and data) be involved in the design process.”

We strongly support Tim’s call for modular design and modular specifications in web standards. Large monolithic documents are hard to consume and take longer to stabilise with well thought out engineering decisions. In fact, the decision to take these features from HTML5 and make them separate documents continues the process that started last year as the storage and networking APIs were moved out of HTML5 and into the W3C WebApps working group. Just like good software design, loose coupling and high cohesion are good principles for defining web standards. That doesn’t make them easy to apply and there is still more work to do to reduce the coupling between drafts. The group is working on improving the tools used to generate the documents to improve the cross-references, which will help towards this goal.

Microdata and Canvas 2D are now available as new working drafts alongside the core HTML5 draft. This also sets Microdata on a similar footing to the updated HTML+RDFa draft. You can review the full set of documents published yesterday here:

Adrian Bateman
Program Manager

Comments (19)

  1. Anonymous says:

    This blog frequently posts worthless articles — like this one. Like someone else said, if I wanted updates on W3C workings, I’d be subscribed to their list(s). This blog characterizes MS, though, so I’m not surprised.

  2. Will says:

    Will any of these be supported in IE9 is the only question that needs to be answered.

  3. Belle says:

    So now IE9 can claim full HTML5 support without implementing Canvas!  I see what you did there…

  4. says:

    @Will: Long time readers of this blog know that we won’t see any announcement before it’s nearly fully implemented and the management has ok-ed it.  This means nothing before MIX 2010 and maybe not even then.  If you don’t like it, complain to Microsoft’s higher ups.  Venting your anger in the comments does nothing except annoying readers and discouraging the people who do post interesting information from time to time.

    @Belle: Come on, it can also (and more likely) mean that they are not comfortable with working on a moving spec and would prefer the canvas part to move faster to final so that it can be implemented as soon as possible in IE.  It’s only speculation, but it’s increasingly looking like something is happening with graphics (SVG, canvas) for IE9.

  5. I’ll take this as, IE9 supports Canvas.

  6. Jean-Philippe Martin says:

    Thanks for the followup and the clarifications on what is happening.

  7. Justin Fleury says:

    This is a strange blog. It is about IE but no one knows what is the IE team *coding* in IE.

    For example: are you implementing SVG support? are you implementing Canvas support? The video tag?

    If i wan’t to be informed about the W3C WG, i have  *their* page and public mailing list:


    I’m coming here to know what i will get with IE9; if you just don’t plan to put HTML5 and new web technologies in IE9, please let me know, and i will un-subscribe my google reader account in IEBlog.

    Thank you!

  8. Justin Fleury says:

    Sorry one more thing to clarify. When i say "coding" i mean, what are you really doing, for example, to change acid3 and DOM support.

    Please take a look at this chart:


    ( TH Web Browse Grand Prix: The Top Five, Tested And Ranked; a benchmark of the 5 main browsers )

    I can’t keep recommending IE to my friends with pages like this. They will say i’m a lier.

    May be if you tell us: IE9 will get 87 points in ACID3 or 2nd place in DOM i will calm down 🙂  Do you understand the situation?

    Thank you, please keep up informed in IE milestones regarding this important things.


  9. Paulo says:

    @Justin I don’t think Microsoft is really caring about acid3 or even acid4 (eventually it will happen). It’s all about shiny features like 3D inside the browser, but what we want is to stop using HTML4 from 1999, which seems won’t be happening until 2014…

  10. net says:

    It does not really concern HTML standards, so excuse me for my little off topic here, but please include a proper download manager with a real resume function in IE9. At the moment IE8 is rarely able to resume downloads, and the same goes for Chrome. Firefox and Opera are the only ones actually able to pause and resume almost every download. Thank you.

  11. Damiano says:

    It would be interesting, since HTML5 is not yet fully defined for some time along with many other standards, which together with the good news to the support of standard and very cool feature of IE9, is also provided the opportunity to regularly update the engine rendering, for example with Microsoft Update service, without having to wait for a new version of IE for a long time.

    I think this allows you to keep up with the times of the other browsers, maintain strong and modern IE.

  12. hAl says:

    Popele interrested in seeing what will be in IE9 should go to MIX10 event because everybody knows MS will reveel IE9 there and thus not blog about its new features here before that reveal happens.

    Continuous posts about that are a waste of time.

  13. realist says:

    @hAl – going to MIX10 would be nice, but most of us are busy at work fixing IE bugs so that our applications and sites work.

    Since the vast majority of developers can’t afford (time & money) to go to Mix all we have is this blog.  MSFT posts all kinds of details about joining working groups and even announces that W3C WD specs have been published – but fail to give any clue as to the intended support levels in IE9.

    In addition there’s a large portion of MIX that has nothing to do with standards – e.g. Silverlight.  I have no intention of ever supporting/using SliverSleight thus that part of the conference is useless to me/many.

    All we can hope is that during the conference this blog is updated with the full details ASAP.

  14. 8675309 says:

    @net i wouldnt bother asking here since last time i asked they said it wasnt their project it was the windows team that had to deal with it

  15. ieblog says:

    @8675309: That’s incorrect; while we have no announcements on that topic at this time, file download is an IE feature, not a Windows feature.

  16. Carlos says:

    May be the IE team is so busy coding SVG, Canvas and ACID3 support that they don’t have time to publish a post saying: "we are busy coding coding SVG, Canvas and ACID3 support"


  17. Ant Bryan says:

    @net I’d love to see an improved download manager as part of IE9. We’re working on all sorts of download enhancements (higher reliability, error correction, etc) with Metalink, which will hopefully be an RFC soon: http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-bryan-metalink

  18. Tim Sneath says:

    @realist – MIX will be broadcast live at http://live.visitmix.com. Dean is speaking next Tuesday – you can definitely expect to see some news about IE9 there…

  19. 8675309 says:

    if they do update ie download manager will there be a need for the ms beta connect download manager?

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