HTML5 standards deadline set for 24 May

Web browsing

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is nearing the end of its HTML5 standard, one of the board members has confirmed.

Paul Cotton, co-chair of the HTML working group at W3C and partner group manager at Microsoft, said the last issues had to be put to him before 24 May, when his final report on the new standard had to be completed.

"This technology is mobilising very, very quickly and is being adopted and put into all the browsers you use laptop or mobile very, very quickly," he said yesterday during the launch of the W3C's UK and Ireland Office at Oxford University, attended by IT PRO.

"It might start to impact how you build websites or how you use them."

Getting to this stage hasn't been easy, however, and continuing arguments around the likes of video codecs have delayed the process.

Referring to Google dropping the H.264 codec from its Chrome browser, Cotton said: "There is still a lot of controversy over video codecs and the working group has agreed to disagree this is not a nice situation."

However, he believed this was the best path to take, using the debate around image files from early HTML to support his point.

"At the time the most popular [format] was .gif shown to be very well encumbered," added Cotton, "or we could have settled on .png. Do you think that would have been good?"

He added: "The reality is if 10 years ago we had settled on a fixed image format, we wouldn't have had the [compatibility]. The same needs to happen in the video and audio area."

It is not all over yet though. Despite reaching what W3C calls the "feature complete" stage in May, there will still be more steps around implementation until the standard is totally finalised.

All of the latest browser releases from Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google have included HTML5 capabilities.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.