A brief history of HTML5
Tim Berners-Lee subsequently founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure compatibility among the different members of the industry in the adoption of internet standards. One of the most important standards is the HTML standards.
In 1994, Netscape (formerly known as Mosaic Communications Corporation) released a web browser Netscape Navigator. This software is capable of retrieving HTML pages over the internet and presenting the pages to the users in a graphical form. This web browser brought about excitement and explosion of the World Wide Web. At its peak, Netscape was used by over 90% of web users worldwide. The wide acceptance of the browser subsequently led to a very successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Netscape in the following year. Other companies like Microsoft responded by launching their own web browser Internet Explorer.
Since early days, the HTML language is considered to be a forgiving language. A web page author could create a HTML page with missing tags or slashes and his contents would still be rendered "correctly" by the browser. With the introduction of more browsers and with each browser handling the errors differently, the forgiving nature of HTML made authoring HTML more difficult.
This led to the idea of reformulating HTML as a XML (Extensible Markup Language) document. A XML document is a well-formed document and requires accurate markup to pass the different validation rules. The idea is for the browsers to reject incorrectly markup HTML documents and simply return an error to the users, leading to cleaner and better-formed HTML documents.
This idea was published by the W3C in the year 2000 and the XHTML 1.0 (Extensible HTML) specification was thus born. In general, XHTML 1.0 was basically reformulated based on the features of HTML4.01 and the XML schema. It is important to note that besides being well-formed, an XML document is also case sensitive as compared to a case-insensitive HTML document.
There are both advocates and critics of XHTML. Advocates preferred a cleaner and well-formed HTML documents while critics claimed that XHTML has made more than 99% of the existing web pages in HTML to be "incorrect" or "unusable". Many of the web browsers overcome these problems by supporting XHTML and adding a feature "quirks mode" to render the previous "incorrect" HTML.
In a W3C held workshop in 2004, a group of members presented an alternative vision of the future of the web. They wanted backward compatibility to enable HTML authors a migration path. They also hoped to clearly define the error handling of web browsers for incorrect HTML to provide consistency. At the same time, they would like to introduce new features for developing modern web application. Prior to this, HTML is only a document format aimed at supporting contents. However, this alternative vision was not accepted by the W3C consortium and resulted in some of the members' formation of the WHAT Working Group.
The vision of the WHAT Working Group is to define a new HTML standard without breaking backward compatibility. New specifications for building web applications like the Web Forms 2.0 and Web Applications 1.0 are also introduced. By 2006, the WHAT Working Group picked up momentum with the support of many software vendors. At the same time, the attempt to get the world to switch to XML all at once by W3C proved not working. Tim Berners-Lee, founder of W3C, then announced that W3C would work together with the WHAT Working Group.
The two groups began working together and the Web applications 1.0 specification was later renamed as HTML5. In January 2008, HTML5 was published as a working draft. In 2009, W3C shuted down the XHTML 2 Working Group and the latest XHTML5 was parked under the development of HTML specification.
HTML5 has since grown to become extremely popular. The rise of mobile phone browsers also helped in its growth. Apple (iOS) and Google (Android OS), the two largest mobile phone OS makers have incorporated HTML5 capabilities in their browsers. On the otherhand, Microsoft also announced their focus on HTML5 with the upcoming Internet Explorer 9.0. Hence, many developers and web authors begin to support HTML5.
History has shown that in every few years, a new technology will emerge and gain wide acceptance by the public. The evolution of HTML to HTML5 is definitely going to bring about a revolution in how modern web applications will be developed. It will definitely be the hottest technology of the new decade.