Eight Updated HTML5 Drafts and the ‘Open Web Platform’
Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 4 November 2010
Eight Updated HTML5 Drafts
Last week the W3C announced “Eight HTML5 Drafts Updated”. The HTML Working Group has published eight documents all of which were released on 19 October 2010:
- A working Draft of the HTML5 specification.
- The accompanying explanatory document HTML5 differences from HTML4and the related non-normative reference HTML: The Markup Language.
- Working Drafts of the specifications HTML+RDFa 1.1 and HTML Microdata, which define mechanisms for embedding machine-readable data in HTML documents, and the specification HTML Canvas 2D Context, which defines a 2D immediate-mode graphics API for use with the HTML5 element.
- HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives, which is intended to help authors provide useful text alternatives for images in HTML documents.
- Polyglot Markup: HTML-Compatible XHTML Documents, which is intended to help authors produce XHTML documents that are also compatible with non-XML HTML syntax and parsing rules.
Meanwhile on the W3C blog Philippe Le Hégaret has published a post on “HTML5: The jewel in the Open Web Platform” in which he describes how he has been “inspired by the enthusiasm for the suite of technical standards that make up what W3C calls the ‘Open Web Platform’“.
The ‘Open Web Platform’
The term ‘Open Web Platform’ seems strange, especially coming from a W3C employee. After all, has the Web always been based on an open platform since it was first launched, with open standards and open source client and server tools?
Philippe Le Hégaret goes on to say that Open Web Platform is ”HTML5, a game-changing suite of tools that incorporates SVG, CSS and other standards that are in various stages of development and implementation by the community at W3C”.
Philippe described these ideas in a video on “The Next Open Web Platform” published in January 2010. From the transcript is seems that W3C are endorsing the characterisations of ”Web 1.0, which provided a “very passive user experience“, followed by “Web 2.0″ which provided “a more interactive user experience“.
The W3C, it seems, have announced that they are now “pushing the web in two areas, which are orthogonals. One is the Web of Data, that we refer to, of course, the Semantic Web, cloud computings that we are also interested in and mash-ups, data integration in general. And the other one is the Web of Interaction“.
Whilst the W3C have always been prolific in publishing technical standards they have, I feel, been relatively unsuccessful in marketing their vision. It was the commercial sector which coined the term ‘Web 2.0′ – a term which had many detractors in the developer community, who showed their distaste by describing it as “a mere marketing term“.
Web 2.0 is marketing term – and a very successful marketing term, which also spun off other 2.0 memes. So I find it interesting to observe that the W3C are now pro-active in the marketing of their new technical vision, centred around HTML5 and other presentational standards under the term ‘Open Web Platform’.
And alongside the ‘Open Web Platform W3C are continuing to promote what they continue to describe as the ‘Semantic Web’. But will this turn out to be a positive brand? Over time we have seen the lower case semantic web, the pragmatic Semantic Web, the Web of Data and Linked Data being used as a marketing term (with various degrees of technical characterisations). But will the variety of terms which have been used result in confusion? Looking at a Google Trend comparison of the terms “Semantic Web” and “Open Web Platform” we see a decrease in searches for “Semantic Web” since 2004, whilst there is not yet sufficient data to show the trends for the “Open Web Platform“.
Whilst I, like Philippe Le Hégaret, am also an enthusiast for the ‘Open Web Platform’ (who, after all, could fail to support a vision of an open Web?) there is still a need to appreciate concerns and limitations and understand benefits before making decisions on significant uses of the standards which comprise the Open Web Platform. I will be exploring such issues in future posts – and welcome comments from others with an interest in this area.