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erspectives on the Evolution of HTML
Daniel Austin
PayPal, Inc.
HTML5 DevConf
Oct. 23, 2013

V 1.1
My Love-Hate Relationship With HTML
• Originally an innocent physicist
• I became involved in the WWW, and it’s been all d...
HTML’s Evolution
XHTML 2.0 (2006

HTML 5.1 (2016)

What WG Draft (2009)
HTML 5.0 (2014)

2005

Source: Vlad Alexander

201...
The Browser Wars (1996)
• JavaScript and CSS and
Divs, Oh My!
• Not to mention JSSS
and <layer>
• A time of much
innovatio...
The Role of HTML as a Display Format
(1998)
• From W3C’s Future of HTML
Workshop 1998
• HTML modeled on PostScript
• Argue...
The Role of HTML as a Display Format
(2013)

Source: Andy Gryc, QNX
The Arrival of XML
• ‘Bringing Rationality’ to the WWW
• Naive Thinking: 6 months (!)
• Never Intended to ‘kill HTML’

XML...
XML’s Impact on HTML
Wins

Losses

• XHTML is probably the
most successful spec
ever
• Improved the overall
quality and re...
How the Sausage Was Made
• ‘XMLifying’ HTML was a
huge task…
• …and led to a lot of
heartache
• Compromises had to be
made...
Standards Take Forever

11 Years, 3 Months, 22 days!!!
The WhatWG and the Why
• After Modularization was completed, HTML had a mid-life
crisis
• Everyone wanted more from HTML, ...
Current State of the HTML 5 Spec

Specification

FPWD

LC

CR

PR

Rec

HTML5

N/A

2011 Q2

2012 Q4

2014 Q4

2014 Q4

HT...
A Federated Model for HTML
Core HTML5

Canvas
2D

This is
XHTML
1.1
HTML
Markup

Web
Workers

HTML
Media

Web
Sockets

Ind...
The Co-Evolution of HTML, JS, CSS, and
XML
XML Core
XSLT
XSD
Xpath/XQuery

Document Object Model

Javascript…
JSON…
Source...
My Own Reasoning on Modularization

Modularization Worked

HTML5 is Fully Modularized
The Contraptionary Nature of the Web

“The amazing thing about the Web isn’t how well it
works, but that it works at all”
...
Tower of Babel: A Problem We Have Yet to
Solve
Mobile Technology is Driving HTML’s
Evolution
• HTML5 is designed for mobile
– Most new users are mobile
users
• Many of H...
The Line Between Applications and
Documents is Blurring
• Convergence at the hardware, software, and standards
levels
– Ch...
The Rise of the API
• This is a straightforward consequence of the separation of
functionality and appearance, no mystery ...
Predictions for the Future of HTML
The Bar to Entry Will Get Higher
XHTML Isn’t Going Away
Applications Will Rule
Hypertex...
What About WWW Values?
• Are We Making the Bar Too High?
– We want the Web to be for everyone

• Can We Move Beyond Our Or...
About:HTML
“…a single user-interface to many large
classes of stored information such as
reports, notes, data-bases, compu...
See you at HTML6 DevConf!
Daniel Austin
PayPal, Inc.
HTML5 DevConf
Oct. 23, 2013
@daniel_b_austin
da@x.com
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Perspectives on the Evolution of HTML

This was my presentation at HTML5 DevConf this year, focused on the past, present and future of HTML, from someone who's been involved since 1996!

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Perspectives on the Evolution of HTML

  1. 1. erspectives on the Evolution of HTML Daniel Austin PayPal, Inc. HTML5 DevConf Oct. 23, 2013 V 1.1
  2. 2. My Love-Hate Relationship With HTML • Originally an innocent physicist • I became involved in the WWW, and it’s been all downhill ever since • Member of the HTML WG @ W3C since 1996 (with some gaps) • Member of 14 other W3C Working Groups since 1998 – XML Core, XSLT, Web Services Architecture, Web Performance, and a lot of others
  3. 3. HTML’s Evolution XHTML 2.0 (2006 HTML 5.1 (2016) What WG Draft (2009) HTML 5.0 (2014) 2005 Source: Vlad Alexander 2010 2015 HTML 6? (2020) 2020
  4. 4. The Browser Wars (1996) • JavaScript and CSS and Divs, Oh My! • Not to mention JSSS and <layer> • A time of much innovation and change • But nobody won
  5. 5. The Role of HTML as a Display Format (1998) • From W3C’s Future of HTML Workshop 1998 • HTML modeled on PostScript • Argued for better layout • Targeting specific devices • Horribly Embarrassing: – HTML+CSS+JS slideshow didn’t work! • The paper later proved to be influential
  6. 6. The Role of HTML as a Display Format (2013) Source: Andy Gryc, QNX
  7. 7. The Arrival of XML • ‘Bringing Rationality’ to the WWW • Naive Thinking: 6 months (!) • Never Intended to ‘kill HTML’ XML Core XSLT XLink XSchema
  8. 8. XML’s Impact on HTML Wins Losses • XHTML is probably the most successful spec ever • Improved the overall quality and reliability of the WWW • XML remains central to the Web’s architecture • Xquery/Xpath/Xlink/XSD/ XSLT not as successful • Verbosity and parsing not well-suited for mobile devices • JSON rises as an alternative
  9. 9. How the Sausage Was Made • ‘XMLifying’ HTML was a huge task… • …and led to a lot of heartache • Compromises had to be made; no one was satisfied • 1999: HTML 4.01 • 2000: XHTML 1.0 • 2001: XHTML 1.1 (Modularization) …and then a long break
  10. 10. Standards Take Forever 11 Years, 3 Months, 22 days!!!
  11. 11. The WhatWG and the Why • After Modularization was completed, HTML had a mid-life crisis • Everyone wanted more from HTML, faster • XHTML 2.0 Wasn’t Working, so we got HTML5 • Eventually, the spirit of reason prevailed, and WhatWG and W3C continue to live happily ever after
  12. 12. Current State of the HTML 5 Spec Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec HTML5 N/A 2011 Q2 2012 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 HTML 5.1 2012 Q4 2014 Q3 2015 Q1 2016 Q4 2016 Q4
  13. 13. A Federated Model for HTML Core HTML5 Canvas 2D This is XHTML 1.1 HTML Markup Web Workers HTML Media Web Sockets IndexDB Web Storage Source: Sergey Mavrody c. 2013
  14. 14. The Co-Evolution of HTML, JS, CSS, and XML XML Core XSLT XSD Xpath/XQuery Document Object Model Javascript… JSON… Source: Sergey Mavrody c. 2013
  15. 15. My Own Reasoning on Modularization Modularization Worked HTML5 is Fully Modularized
  16. 16. The Contraptionary Nature of the Web “The amazing thing about the Web isn’t how well it works, but that it works at all” George Bernard Shaw “This specification is a kitchen sink full of technologies for the Web.” WhatWG HTML5 Web site
  17. 17. Tower of Babel: A Problem We Have Yet to Solve
  18. 18. Mobile Technology is Driving HTML’s Evolution • HTML5 is designed for mobile – Most new users are mobile users • Many of HTML5’s coolest innovations came from mobile considerations • This may require leaving hypertext and documents behind
  19. 19. The Line Between Applications and Documents is Blurring • Convergence at the hardware, software, and standards levels – Chromebook, Firefox OS – Native application performance still considerably better than browser+HTML – HTML5’s Web Storage, IndexDB and WebWorker specs are largely aimed at providing application functionality to HTML
  20. 20. The Rise of the API • This is a straightforward consequence of the separation of functionality and appearance, no mystery here • A significant proportion of HTTP traffic is for application traffic • Often JSON and/or HTML5 fragments • Paradoxically often still document-based (REST) • Together with other trends, allows us to move toward a more application-based development model
  21. 21. Predictions for the Future of HTML The Bar to Entry Will Get Higher XHTML Isn’t Going Away Applications Will Rule Hypertext is Past It’s Sell-By HTML Will Continue to Metastasize
  22. 22. What About WWW Values? • Are We Making the Bar Too High? – We want the Web to be for everyone • Can We Move Beyond Our Origins (and Still Retain the Spirit of the WWW?) • Can We Continue to Evolve Naturally? – The Co-evolution of many interlocking standards is a daunting task Are We Making the World a Better Place?
  23. 23. About:HTML “…a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help” WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project Berners-Lee & Caillau, 1990
  24. 24. See you at HTML6 DevConf! Daniel Austin PayPal, Inc. HTML5 DevConf Oct. 23, 2013 @daniel_b_austin da@x.com

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