File Under: HTML, HTML5, Web Standards

What Comes After HTML5? Just HTML

The future of the web is fast approaching. HTML5, the successor to today’s HTML 4, the lingua franca of the web, has reached the Last Call stage and is beginning to look like a finished spec. While it will be some time before HTML5 can be called complete, forward-thinking browsers already support much of the spec.

HTML5 represents the biggest leap forward in web standards in almost a decade, but what comes after HTML5? HTML6?

As it happens, no. The WHAT Working Group, which, along with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is helping to create HTML5 and beyond, has already decided to move to a non-versioned development model after the release of HTML5. That means, in the future, there will simply be HTML.

What will this HTML look like you ask? Well, Mark Pilgrim, who works on the WHAT Working Group, has started a new series of posts on the group’s blog entitled What’s Next in HTML?

The answer, at least for now, is a possible new tag: <device>.

As you would expect <device> will offer web developers a way to access devices, for example your PC’s webcam or perhaps your mobile device’s accelerometer.

The obvious application for the device tag is video chat — something currently only possible using proprietary tools like Adobe Flash. As Pilgrim points out in his post, if you combine the existing video tag and web socket tools of HTML5 with the new device tag, all the elements necessary for an online video chat application are in place.

Before web developers get too excited it’s important to realize that <device> is a long, long way from being a real HTML element. As Pilgrim notes: “the entire device API is still in its infancy… nobody has even started implementing a prototype of that piece yet, and the whole idea might be scrapped.”

That shouldn’t be too surprising for those of you following the bleeding edge of the web, after all we’ve already been teased with the promise of a single video codec only to see that vanish.

But with any luck, the device tag won’t suffer a similar fate and one day web developers will be able to take advantage of yet another set of tools that were once the sole province of desktop software.

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