Craig Grannell from .Net magazine got in touch to ask me a few short questions about last week’s events around HTML5. I thought I’d share my answers here rather than wait for the tortuously long print release cycle.
What are your thoughts on the logo?
The logo is nice. Looks pretty sharp to me.
Why were you unhappy with W3C’s original stance (“general purpose visual identity”)? What do you think now they’ve changed this?
I was unhappy with the W3C’s original definition of HTML5 in the logo’s accompanying FAQ, where they lumped CSS, SVG and WOFF under the “HTML5” banner. I’m happy they changed that.
What’s your thinking on the current state of the HTML5 situation, given that WHATWG is dropping the 5 and just going with HTML?
I think the current situation makes things much clearer. The WHATWG are working on a continuous, iterative document called simply HTML. The W3C use that as a starting pointing for nailing down an official specification which will be the fifth official iteration of the HTML language called, sensibly enough, HTML5.
The WHATWG spec is the place to look for what’s new and evolving. The W3C spec, once it goes into Last Call, is the place to look for the official milestone that is HTML5. In practice, the two specs will be pretty much identical for quite a while yet.
But the truth is that authors shouldn’t be looking at specs to decide what to use—look at what browsers support in order to decide if you should use a particular feature—look at the spec to understand how to use features of HTML5.
For authors, it probably makes more sense to talk about HTML rather than HTML5. Remember that most of HTML5 is the same as HTML 4.01, HTML 3.2, etc. Answering yourself a question like “When can I use HTML5?” is a lot easier to answer if you rephrase it as “When can I use HTML?”
Most of the time, it makes a lot more sense to talk about specific features rather than referring to an entire specification. For example, asking “Does this browser support HTML5?” is fairly pointless, but asking “Does this browser support canvas?” is much more sensible.