Draft Recommendation — 7 July 2008

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Ian Hickson, Google,


This specification evolves HTML and its related APIs to ease the authoring of Web-based applications. Additions include the context menus, a direct-mode graphics canvas, inline popup windows, and server-sent events. Heavy emphasis is placed on keeping the language backwards compatible with existing legacy user agents and on keeping user agents backwards compatible with existing legacy documents.

Status of this document

This is a work in progress! This document is changing on a daily if not hourly basis in response to comments and as a general part of its development process. Comments are very welcome, please send them to Thank you.

The current focus is in responding to the outstanding feedback. (There is a chart showing current progress.)

Implementors should be aware that this specification is not stable. Implementors who are not taking part in the discussions are likely to find the specification changing out from under them in incompatible ways. Vendors interested in implementing this specification before it eventually reaches the call for implementations should join the WHATTF mailing list and take part in the discussions.

This specification is also being produced by the W3C HTML WG. The two specifications are identical from the table of contents onwards.

This specification is intended to replace (be the new version of) what was previously the HTML4, XHTML 1.x, and DOM2 HTML specifications.


Different parts of this specification are at different levels of maturity.

Some of the more major known issues are marked like this. There are many other issues that have been raised as well; the issues given in this document are not the only known issues! There are also some spec-wide issues that have not yet been addressed: case-sensitivity is a very poorly handled topic right now, and the firing of events needs to be unified (right now some bubble, some don't, they all use different text to fire events, etc). It would also be nice to unify the rules on downloading content when attributes change (e.g. src attributes) - should they initiate downloads when the element immediately, is inserted in the document, when active scripts end, etc. This matters e.g. if an attribute is set twice in a row (does it hit the network twice).

Table of contents