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HTML5 for web designers. Part 1: A Brief History of Markup Language

HTML5 for web designers

  1. Brief history of markup language
  2. HTML5 model
  3. Multimedia
  4. Forms 2.0
  5. Semantics
  6. HTML5 and modern conditions

HTML is a language uniting the world wide web. Only through a set of simple tags, mankind managed to create an incomparable system of related pages and websites: from Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia to personal blogs and websites dedicated to cats like Hitler.

HTML5 is the latest version of this language. But despite the fact that it is going to bring with it significant changes and new opportunities, it cannot be said that this happens for the first time and before this the language did not develop. Developed and constantly improved, and since its inception.

Like the world wide web, HTML, the HyperText Mark-up Language, is the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee. In 1991, he wrote a paper entitled “HTML Tags,” in which he described a little less than two dozen tags that he proposed for marking web pages.
The idea of ​​using code words for this inside the triangular brackets, however, does not belong to Sir Tim. Such a system at that time already existed and was used in SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language, standard generalized markup language), and instead of inventing something from scratch, Sir Tim considered it more rational to take existing solutions as a basis. A similar approach was applied and generally all the way to HTML5 in development processes.

From IEFT to W3C: The Road to HTML 4

HTML versions 1 never existed. The first official specification was immediately HTML 2.0, and its organization was published by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force, Special Commission for Internet Development). Many of the language features described in this specification were based on already used third-party designs. For example, the <img> tag for inserting images on the page was implemented in the leading at that time (we are talking about 1994) Mosaic browser, and then simply migrated to the standard for HTML 2.0.

The IEFT baton was later picked up by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium, World Wide Web Consortium), which handled all subsequent versions of HTML. In the second half of the nineties, active work was carried out on revising and changing specifications, which eventually (more precisely, in 1999) gave life to HTML 4.01.

After that, the first key turn in the history of HTML.


The new version of the markup language after HTML 4.01 was named XHTML 1.0. “X” in the title meant eXtreme, and web developers were obliged to fold their arms in front of each time they said the word.

No, of course not. In fact, “X” meant eXtensible (“expandable”), and the crossing of arms was optional.

The specification for XHTML 1.0 itself was no different from HTML 4.01. No new tags or parameters were added - the only difference was in the syntax rules. If HTML developers were given complete freedom regarding the style of writing code, XHTML was required to follow the rules of the XML language — much more rigid and intolerant of liberties — on which most of the technologies developed by the Consortium were based.

Hard rules, however, came just the way. They encouraged coders to adhere to a single style, for example, to write all tags and parameters exclusively in lower case, whereas in HTML it was possible to do as necessary.

The release of XHTML 1.0 coincided with an increased level of support for modern style sheet browsers — CSS — and the strict syntax of XHTML was strengthened in the developer community with a reputation for better writing code markup.

Then there was XHTML 1.1.

If version 1.0 was just HTML made for XML, then XHTML 1.1 is already real, pure XML. In the sense that it was already impossible to apply mime-type text / html to it and it was necessary to designate the document as formatted in XML. However, in that case, it could not have been shown in any way by the browser most popular at that time — Internet Explorer — so this language was clearly not an option to practice.

The impression was that W3C in its development was beginning to lose touch with the reality over which the worldwide network lived.

XHTML 2: No, this is not going through any gate

If Dustin Hoffman’s hero from The Graduate was a web designer, the W3C would have told him only one word: XML.

The consortium was confident that HTML had outlived itself after the fourth version, and began working on XHTML 2, whose task was to bring the network to a bright XML future. And despite the fact that the name remained the same, the new version had absolutely nothing to do with XHTML 1. Moreover, it was not going to be backward-compatible with its predecessors and old versions of HTML (which means all the existing content on the web). Instead, she had to introduce a new clean language, not burdened by any vestiges of past specifications.

In other words, it was nonsense.

Split: W (HATWG) TF?

In the environment of the Consortium there is an uprising. It was obvious that he was going to lead the development of standards - albeit new, clean and beautiful - but completely unresponsive to the needs of the modern community of web designers and developers. Opera, Apple and Mozilla were clearly not happy about it, as they expected a completely different one - more emphasis on formats that allow you to expand the possibilities for creating web applications.

The beginning of change was laid in 2004 at one of the meetings. Ian Hickson (Ian Hickson), who at the time was an employee of Opera Software, put forward a proposal to develop HTML to a level that allows using this language for web applications. The offer was rejected.

The frustrated rebels were forced to break away from the Consortium and organize their own group: Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group, abbreviated as WHATWG.

From Web Apps 1.0 to HTML5

The principle of the WHATWG was somewhat different from what it was at the W3C. At W3C, questions are raised, discussed, and the final decision is made by universal suffrage. In the WHATWG, issues are also raised, discussed, but final decisions on what is included in the specification and what is not are left to the main editor, Jan Hickson.

In appearance, it may seem that the system in the W3C is more democratic and honest, but practice shows that the endless disputes and internal squabbles terribly slow down the development process. In the WHATWG, where everyone can make a contribution, but the last word rests with the Chief, things are moving much faster. Glavred, however, does not have absolute power - the elected group of leaders can challenge his decision in the unlikely event that it requires.

Initially, WHATWG was employed by two specifications — Web Forms 2.0 and Web Apps 1.0 — both of which were meant to be extensions to HTML. But over time, they were merged into one common, called simply HTML5.


While at WHATWG they were working on HTML5, the W3C continued to wither with its XHTML 2. It’s not to say that this whole undertaking was slipping into shit. She slowly sank into it.

In October 2006, Sir Tim Berners-Lee admitted on his blog that the idea of ​​translating the web from HTML to XML was stupid. A few months later, the W3C issued a new installation for the HTML Working Group: it was reasonably decided that future versions of HTML should be based on WHATWG practices, instead of doing something from scratch.

All these reversals and changes of course led to a somewhat confusing situation. For a while, the W3C simultaneously worked on two completely incompatible markup languages ​​- XTHML 2 and HTML 5 (note with a space) - while the WHATWG, a separate organization, worked on the HTML5 specification (without the space), which was supposed to be the basis for another specification in the W3C. Fuck spliced ​​here, what's what. It was easier to tackle the sequence of events in Memento and the works of David Lynch.

XHTML is dead, long live XHTML syntax

The situation began to clear up in the 2009th, when the W3C announced that there would be no more updates on XHTML 2. In fact, they simply officially acknowledged that the format was dead since birth.

However, in a strange way, instead of doing without undue attention, the death of XHTML 2 gave rise to some kind of gloating buzz. Opponents of XML turned the news into a call to abandon XHTML 1, although, as we know, XHTML 2 had nothing to do with it. In turn, supporters of XHTML 1, adherents of strict syntax, were worried that HTML5 would legitimize a careless layout.

The latter, however, should not seem to be a serious problem - as we will consider further, the degree of validity of the HTML5 syntax everyone has the right to choose for himself.

HTML5 development

The current state of HTML5 is not as vague as before, but still not too transparent.

Two organizations are now working on this format. The WHATWG is developing a specification based on the principle of "first run, then check." The W3C HTML Working Group, in turn, takes this specification and passes it through the “first check, then run” process. As can be seen, such cooperation can hardly be called strong and effective. But at least, it seems like the question “to put or not to put a space” in the name of the standard was resolved (it is not necessary to put it, if that, - HTML5).

What the web designers, who have already tried out some of the features of the new language, are most worried about is the question “When will it be ready?” In an interview, Ian Hickson mentioned 2022 as the date when HTML5 will receive the status of “proposed”. This caused a wave of indignation among the designers, since they had no idea what the “proposed recommendation” means, but they knew for sure that they clearly didn’t have enough fingers to count how many years they had to wait until 2022.

If you look, the perturbations are unfounded. In this case, the “proposed recommendation” means that by this time the browsers should have full support for all the features of the language. In this case, to focus on the 2022 is even too bold; we all know that many browsers hardly picked up even existing standards at one time. Take at least Internet Explorer, which took more than ten years to start elementary support for the <abbr> tag.

The date you really need to focus on is 2012, when HTML5 will be assigned the status of “candidate recommendation”, meaning that the specification has been finalized and the standard is ready as such.

But, of course, this will not mean that all of it will be immediately available for use - you will need to monitor how browsers gradually add support for certain features and start using them as they appear. It was the same with CSS 2.1, in fact: we began to apply the capabilities of this standard as browsers included its support in parts. If we would prefer to wait when they implement it entirely, we would have waited until now.

In other words, there will not be such a moment when it will be possible to say, “Bach, the time for HTML5 has come!”. But you can start working with them now. Fortunately, this language was not born through revolution, but in the process of evolution, and is based on what was created before it. Thus, we can say that if you use any previous versions of HTML, you already use HTML5.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103256/

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