It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's HTML 5!

W3C unveils Superman-like logo for next major revision of coding standard

HTML 5, which promises to allow rich Internet applications to work in browsers without requiring plug-ins, might not be right around the corner, but it is on the horizon. And the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) is heralding its pending arrival with an HTML 5 logo as part of an overall publicity campaign.

The logo portrays a shield embossed with the number 5 that resembles the "S" on Superman's crime-fighting uniform. Microsoft, and Modernizr have embraced its use, according to the W3C's FAQ. However, it hasn't yet been approved by the W3C, a collaborative body that produces technical Web specifications. If the logo gets voted up, it will become the official logo for HTML 5 sometime "in the first quarter of 2011," according to the FAQ.

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The long road to HTML 5

HTML 5 hasn't been ratified as a "Recommendation" from the W3C yet, and it might take as long as 12 years for that to happen. Still, top browser makers haven't waited. They've publicized HTML 5 capabilities supported in their browsers today. Consequently, the logo mostly serves to spread the message that Web developers shouldn't wait on implementing some of the more stable HTML 5 technologies on their sites.

Microsoft indicated its support for the logo campaign in a blog post by Jean Paoli, Microsoft's general manager for interoperability strategy. Paoli is also famous for being co-creator of the XML 1.0 standard in conjunction with the W3C.

"As developer and site owners see this logo across the web, we hope it will signal that while there is still a lot of work to do until all the HTML5 technologies are ready, real sites are starting to take advantage of them today," Paoli stated in the blog.

Possibly, HTML 5 is used by around one percent of Web sites, according to a December estimate by Netcraft Ltd., an ISP that tracks Web trends.

The W3C's logo does not indicate anything specific. It doesn't even imply that a Web site's code conforms to the HTML 5 Working Draft spec, according to the W3C's FAQ. The FAQ explains that "The logo is a general-purpose visual identity for a broad set of open web technologies, including HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and others."

The W3C is selling t-shirts and bumper stickers with the logo, but the logo has been publicly released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. It allows people to change the color and size of the logo, according to the W3C's FAQ.

Microsoft has been a prominent advocate of HTML 5 in its Internet Explorer 9 browser, currently available as beta release. The other top browser makers also have promoted HTML 5, particularly for native video support. However, they haven't always agreed on some matters. For instance, browser makers did not settle on video codec support in HTML 5, and that disagreement has resulted in some splintering. In addition, one blogger recently complained about IE 9's implementation of the "canvas" HTML tag vs. other browsers, although Microsoft's new browser is still at the beta stage.

Microsoft has set up its HTML5 Labs Web portal to provide test code for HTML 5 technologies considered by the W3C to be unstable but promising. Currently, Microsoft is showcasing WebSockets and IndexedDB prototype code for developers to check.

The HTML 5 technologies that Microsoft currently supports in IE 9 are described in an MSDN IE 9 feature guide, according to a Microsoft blog, which also lists other HTML 5 help resources.


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