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TML5 is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web, and is a core technology of the Internet originally proposed by Opera Software. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML4 as of 1997) and, as of June 2012, is still under development.


The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) began work on the new standard in 2004, when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was focusing future developments on XHTML 2.0, and HTML 4.01 had not been updated since 2000. In 2009, the W3C allowed the XHTML 2.0 Working Group's charter to expire and decided not to renew it. W3C and WHATWG are currently working together on the development of HTML5.

Although HTML5 has been well known among web developers for years, it became the topic of mainstream media around April 2010 after Apple Inc's then-CEO Steve Jobs issued a public letter titled "Thoughts on Flash" where he concludes that "[Adobe] Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content" and that "new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win". This sparked a debate in web development circles where some suggested that while HTML5 provides enhanced functionality, developers must consider the varying browser support of the different parts of the standard as well as other functionality differences between HTML5 and Flash. In early November 2011 Adobe announced that it will discontinue development of Flash for mobile devices and reorient its efforts in developing tools utilizing HTML 5.

In 1997, Sun Microsystems approached the ISO/IEC JTC1 standards body and later the Ecma International to formalize Java, but it soon withdrew from the process.[15] Java remains a de facto standard, controlled through the Java Community Process.[16] At one time, Sun made most of its Java implementations available without charge, despite their proprietary software status. Sun generated revenue from Java through the selling of licenses for specialized products such as the Java Enterprise System. Sun distinguishes between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) (a subset of the SDK); the primary distinction involves the JRE's lack of the compiler, utility programs, and header files.

Standardization process

The Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software presented a position paper at a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) workshop in June 2004, focusing on developing technologies that are backwards compatible with existing browsers, including an initial draft specification of Web Forms 2.0. The workshop concluded with a vote, 8 for, 14 against, for continuing work on HTML. Later that month, work based upon that position paper moved to the newly formed Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), and a second draft, Web Applications 1.0, was also announced. The two specifications were later merged to form HTML5.

The HTML5 specification was adopted as the starting point of the work of the new HTML working group of the W3C in 2007. This working group published the First Public Working Draft of the specification on 22 January 2008. Parts of HTML5 have been implemented in browsers despite the whole specification not yet having reached final Recommendation status.

The WHATWG made a Last Call for its HTML5 specification in October 2009. Then, in December 2009, WHATWG switched to an unversioned development model for the HTML specification, effectively abandoning its HTML5 project, but kept the name "HTML5". In January 2011, following this, the WHATWG renamed its "HTML5" living standard to "HTML". The W3C nevertheless continues its project to release HTML5.


HTML5 introduces a number of new elements and attributes that reflect typical usage on modern websites. Some of them are semantic replacements for common uses of generic block (<div>) and inline (<span>) elements, for example <nav> (website navigation block), <footer> (usually referring to bottom of web page or to last lines of HTML code), or <audio> and <video> instead of <object>. Some deprecated elements from HTML 4.01 have been dropped, including purely presentational elements such as <font> and <center>, whose effects are achieved using Cascading Style Sheets. There is also a renewed emphasis on the importance of DOM scripting (e.g., JavaScript) in Web behavior.

New APIs

In addition to specifying markup, HTML5 specifies scripting application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used with JavaScript. Existing document object model (DOM) interfaces are extended and de facto features documented. There are also new APIs, such as:

The canvas element for immediate mode 2D drawing. See Canvas 2D API Specification 1.0 specification
Timed media playback
Offline Web Applications
Document editing
Cross-document messaging
Browser history management
MIME type and protocol handler registration


XHTML5 is the XML serialization of HTML5. XML documents must be served with an XML Internet media type such as application/xhtml+xml or application/xml. XHTML5 requires XML's strict, well-formed syntax. The choice between HTML5 and XHTML5 boils down to the choice of a MIME/content type: the media type one chooses determines what type of document should be used. In XHTML5 the HTML5 doctype html is optional and may simply be omitted. HTML that has been written to conform to both the HTML and XHTML specifications—and which will therefore produce the same DOM tree whether parsed as HTML or XML—is termed "polyglot markup".

Error handling

An HTML5 (text/html) browser will be flexible in handling incorrect syntax. HTML5 is designed so that old browsers can safely ignore new HTML5 constructs. In contrast to HTML 4.01, the HTML5 specification gives detailed rules for lexing and parsing, with the intent that different compliant browsers will produce the same result in the case of incorrect syntax. Although HTML5 now defines a consistent behavior for "tag soup" documents, those documents are not regarded as conforming to the HTML5 standard.