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A few weeks ago the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the completion of the HTML5 definition. That sounds exciting, right? HTML5 is finished and we can start implementing full HTML5 into our sites now?! Well the answer to both those questions is “not really.” The specifications definition is now considered to be feature complete, but that is not cause to go out and celebrate just yet.
First let’s talk about what this does mean. Being feature complete means everything that we are going to call HTML5 has now been defined and nothing else will be added at the moment. “At the moment” is the key phrase there, because these specifications are works in progress and are always being updated. The announcement also mentions that the W3C is moving forward with the first draft of HTML5.1. But for now, this is a good thing. Businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning. W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe says:
“As of today, businesses know what they can rely on for HTML5 in the coming years, and what their customers will demand. Likewise, developers will know what skills to cultivate to reach smart phones, cars, televisions, ebooks, digital signs, and devices not yet known.”
However, we also need to take into account what this does not mean. “Feature complete” does not mean “complete.” These specifications are still subject to change. It also does not by any means indicate that developers can go ahead and assume all current browsers have full HTML5 support. It will likely still be years before we are at the point where all browsers have full support for the current HTML5.0 specifications, and by that time there will already be new ones they do not support. And let’s not forget that we will still need to hold the hands of legacy browsers that will never support HTML5 on their own (I’m looking at you, Internet Explorer).
This announcement is a definitely big step in the right direction for the web, but we still have a long march ahead of us.