HTML is W3C’s earliest specification, and it has been almost 7 years since it has been updated. It has served as the arena for the on-going browser wars which have been raging for as long as the specification has existed.
In the blog post Reinventing HTML, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee acknowledges that HTML needs to be kept up to date and evolved incrementally. He goes on to address the shortcomings of XML:
The attempt to get the world to switch to XML, including quotes around attribute values and slashes in empty tags and namespaces all at once didn’t work. The large HTML-generating public did not move, largely because the browsers didn’t complain.
The plan is for a new group to be formed which will work on improving the current specification incementally:
The plan is to charter a completely new HTML group. Unlike the previous one, this one will be chartered to do incremental improvements to HTML, as also in parallel xHTML. It will have a different chair and staff contact. It will work on HTML and xHTML together. We have strong support for this group, from many people we have talked to, including browser makers.
This group will work in parallel to the group working on the draft XHTML2 which the old “HTML working group” was working on, and there will be no dependency of HTML work on the XHTML2 work.
It’s nice to hear the grandad of the internet say that he wants is to hear what the web development community wants, but i hope we dont fall into the trap of development for developments sake. Despite the specification being untouched for nearly 7 years people are still acomplishing amazing things with it everyday. If theres been little need for it to be altered in almost a decade then doesnt that tell you somthing? Maybe its just resistance to change on my part but i think theres beauty in its simplicity and i hope that new ‘menu’ or ‘column’ tags are not introduced to offer new semantic shortcuts.