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On 28 October 2014, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published a Recommendation of HTML5, the fifth major revision of the format used to build Web pages and applications, and the cornerstone of the Open Web Platform.  HTML5 represents a set of features that people will be able to rely on for years to come.  HTML5 is now supported on a wide variety of devices, lowering the cost of creating rich applications to reach users everywhere.

Book: HTML5 and CSS3 for Dummies"Today we think nothing of watching video and audio natively in the browser, and nothing of running a browser on a phone," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "We expect to be able to share photos, shop, read the news, and look up information anywhere, on any device. Though they remain invisible to most users, HTML5 and the Open Web Platform are driving these growing user expectations."

HTML5 brings to the Web video and audio tracks without needing plugins; programmatic access to a resolution-dependent bitmap canvas, which is useful for rendering graphs, game graphics, or other visual images on the fly; native support for scalable vector graphics (SVG) and math (MathML); annotations important for East Asian typography (Ruby); features to enable accessibility of rich applications; and much more.

HTML5 is Widely Deployed

HTML5 has been in use for years. According to a 2014 Vision Mobile Survey, 42% of 10,000 developers surveyed are using the combination of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for all or part of their mobile applications.  Gartner identified HTML5 as one of their top 10 mobile technologies and capabilities for 2015 and 2016, saying HTML5 "will be an essential technology for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms."

To help achieve the "write once, deploy anywhere" promise of HTML5 and the Open Web platform, during the twenty-two months since W3C announced the completed definition of HTML5, the W3C community has been adding to the HTML5 test suite, which includes over 100,000 tests and continues to grow. The Test the Web Forward community effort now plays an important and ongoing part in driving Open Web Platform interoperability.

With today's publication of the Recommendation, software implementers benefit from Royalty-Free licensing commitments from over sixty companies under W3C's Patent Policy. Enabling implementers to use Web technology without payment of royalties is critical to making the Web a platform for innovation.

What's Next: Application Foundations for Developers, New Use Cases for the Web

Though HTML5 is widely deployed and popular among developers, we have more to do to achieve one of the promises of the Open Web Platform: lowering the cost of developing powerful, cross-platform applications. In an October blog post, W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe states that "now that HTML5 is done, W3C should do more to strengthen the parts of the Open Web Platform that developers most urgently need for success." To help communicate and drive agreement on those priorities, Jaffe enumerates "Application Foundations" that must be strengthened to achieve the next generation platform:

  • Security and Privacy: identity, crypto, multi-factor authentication, privacy protection
  • Core Web Design and Development: HTML next generation, style, layout, graphics, animations, typography
  • Device Interaction: access to hardware and sensors such as bluetooth, NFC, vibration, etc.
  • Application Lifecycle: background tasks to manage offline, push, geofencing, sync
  • Media and Real-Time Communications: WebRTC, streaming media
  • Performance and Tuning: profiling, enhancements such hints and pre-loading, responsive design
  • Usability and Accessibility: ensuring the Web is accessible to all and supports the world's languages
  • Services: social Web, payments, annotations, Web of data

W3C will discuss this new framework and its impact on W3C's agenda at its annual Membership meeting (TPAC) this week.

Stronger foundations will also make it easier to incorporate new features for the Web, which are proposed every day, inside and outside W3C. W3C is growing to accommodate the use cases of the payments, automotive, digital publishing, telecommunications, and entertainment industries. At the same time, 4500 engineers are socializing new ideas for the Web in more than 180 Community and Business Groups.


Thanks to Ian Hickson (Google), the principal architect of the HTML5 specification, who has made seminal contributions to the HTML language.

Thanks to the HTML Working Group co-Chairs Paul Cotton (Microsoft), Sam Ruby (IBM), and Maciej Stachowiak (Apple) for their leadership in bringing HTML5 to Recommendation, and the entire HTML Working Group for their contributions.

Also thanks to:

  • Interaction Domain Lead Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C)
  • HTML Working Group Team Contact Mike Smith (W3C)
  • The current editors of HTML5: Robin Berjon (W3C), Steve Faulkner (The Paciello Group), Travis Leithead (Microsoft), Erika Doyle Navara (Microsoft), Edward O'Connor (Apple), and Silvia Pfeiffer
  • Adobe, Google, and Microsoft for sponsorship funding that enabled W3C to provide additional staffing in support of the HTML Working Group's full range of activities, including editing several specifications and developing tests.
  • Adobe, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera for contributions which have enabled W3C to improve its overall test effort. The HTML Working Group has benefited from these improvements.
  • The WHATWG, for all of their contributions to HTML.
  • The Protocols and Formats Working Group.
  • The broader Web community, who discussed and reviewed the specification.