HTML5 gets the splits

HTML5 spec editor Ian Hickson has posted on the WHATWG mailing list, formally outlining changes to the relationship between the WHATWG HTML "living standard" and the W3C HTML5 snapshot-oriented specification. Hickson also confirmed he'll no longer edit the W3C spec, and he told The Verge: "It's certainly possible that the specs will fork, but it's unlikely, or at least, unlikely to happen in a way that is harmful." He added that the WHATWG spec would "match what implementations do regardless" and the W3C spec "has to pass the W3C Process, which requires proving interoperability".

Opera web evangelist Bruce Lawson told .net that he didn't see the relationship change making a great deal of difference to the web: "It won't matter as this is what's been happening anyway – it's always been two organisations developing their own 'HTML5 specs'. W3C has snapshots, WHATWG is an 'incubator' – commit-then-discuss." Lawson said each group's spec has things that aren't yet implemented, and so developers must "keep checking that features they want to use actually work in real shipping browsers", adding that "this is how we've worked for 10 years."

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