Go to the W3C Web standards website and see the following headline posting:
XHTML 2 Working Group Expected to Stop Work End of 2009, W3C to Increase Resources on HTML 5
2009-07-02: Today the Director announces that when the XHTML 2 Working Group charter expires as scheduled at the end of 2009, the charter will not be renewed. By doing so, and by increasing resources in the HTML Working Group, W3C hopes to accelerate the progress of HTML 5 and clarify W3C’s position regarding the future of HTML. A FAQ answers questions about the future of deliverables of the XHTML 2 Working Group, and the status of various discussions related to HTML. Learn more about the HTML Activity
This is important because it shows that the W3C Committee is serious about promoting HTML 5. And HTML 5 is important because it is absolutely vital to the full emergence of Web 2.0 functionality in Web browsers. But HTML5 is being implemented in plugins and parts which are begginning to differ by Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera [note in contrast that IE8 does not have any significant HTML 5 code].
HTML 5 has many attractive features that are very important for the evolution of the Web – see here for the important take on HTML5 and here for why XHTML2 was displaced. But of even more import in the latter story on XHTML2’s demise is the following quote on the nature of XHTML2 and why it failed:
“The work on XHTML2 started at a time when the technology underlying the Web (as experienced by the bulk of users and content providers) was stagnating. Internet Explorer had a monopoly or near-monopoly in the Web browser market. Microsoft was slowing development of new versions of Internet Explorer in the hope that Web-based applications would not be able to compete with Windows applications, and Windows applications would keep people locked in to the Windows operating system.”
This is one of the first postings I have found that publicly acknowledges that Microsoft was deliberately working to delay Web browser progress during the 2001-2007 time period. It is also important because Ian Hickson, head of the W3C HTML5 working group is projecting a 2022 date before HTML5 will be “fully implemented”. This is hard to reconcile with the fact that 4 other major browser vendors [Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Apple Safari] plus Apple iPhone and Palm Pre have already implemented sizable chunks of HTML5.
Kind of makes you sweat when you see such a wide variance of opinion on a standard vital to Web development and Cloud Computing. It also makes one realize the importance of having some competing Web-enabled technologies like Adobe AIR/Flash, Java/JavaFX and Microsoft Silverlight. So maybe the death of XHTML2, the competitor to HTML5, will not be so critical after all.