Please change the current name of the specification to "HTML5 and XHTML5"

I'm proposing that the HTML WG change the current name of the 
specification to the following:

    "HTML5 and XHTML5"

or "(X)HTML5" as an abbreviation of the name.

Due to the inappropriate naming of the spec as "html 5" the majority of 
web developers out there have come to believe that this specification is 
text/html only.
This has also given this spec a bad name as a number of people are angry 
that their XHTML has been taken away from them or abandoned by the W3C.
I don't think it's acceptable that XHTML5 will not become an official 
W3C language or recommendation.

I think Anne van Kesteren's latest blog article highlights the issue of 
not having official recognition of XHTML5:

Thanks to the good work of Ian Hickson and others, we have an Acid3 test 
on the way, and reading through the comments on Anne's site it seems to 
me that this will be a big success when trying to get people/companies 
to support various web standards.

But the bit that concerns me is when Anne mentions this:

> Tests need to be justified by a specification at W3C Candidate 
> Recommendation,
> W3C Recommendation, or equivalent for non-W3C consortia, and be from 
> 2004 o.r before 

It seems very clear to me that there is a problem with the current 
naming of the spec. Of course HTML5 will one day fall into one of these 
categories above. But this highlights to me the problems that people 
will face in the future when trying to encourage the adoption/support 
for XHTML5. You see, as it stands, obviously XHTML5 will never be a "W3C 
CR", "W3C Recommendation" or "equivalent non-W3C consortia".

Someone mentioned recently that XHTML5 doesn't even really exist. Well, 
it's going to be hard to get people to support a language that doesn't 
even really exist, isn't it?
At the moment XHTML5 is just HTML5's poor little cousin that occupies 
less than 3 sentences within HTML5's spec.
So even if Ian Hickson & other web developers are kind enough to create 
a Acid 4, 5, or 6 for us one day; we will never be able to specify 
support for XHTML5 in any of them.

Changing the name of the spec to "HTML5 and XHTML5" would solve this 
problem. As XHTML5 would one day become a W3C recommendation.

Another reason the current name is not suitable is that there has been 
noticeable resentment in the web development community due to people 
thinking that the W3C has abandoned XHTML in favour of HTML. This is not 
the case but people don't get the correct message as they browse through 
the Blogs out there talking about HTML5.

Using a copy of the spec from a few days ago I have quickly put together 
a demonstration of what I believe the spec could look like after the 
name change and after being published as a working draft. I have used 
URLs that match the W3C's conventions so people can see how the proposed 
new name looks as a link or in an address bar.

or alternatively, the same document but without the brackets in the URL:

Now, I understand that a small amount of people in the past have 
disagreed with me when I have questioned the name of this spec, so I 
have written some things below that will hopefully lay those concerns to 

I've been told recently that the "the spec supports both HTML and XHTML 
equally". But I can't see this as being true.
For example: How can the spec "support both HTML and XHTML equally" if 
HTML5 will become a W3C recommendation but XHTML5 will not?

It was also mentioned lately that the current specification is:  "A 
vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML". Well if this is the 
case it doesn't make sense to call it the name of one of the 
serialisations. This is what's creating confusion.

I've also been told recently that: The real reason the spec is called 
"HTML 5" is because shortly after this group began, the working group 
resolved to call it that.

Here are some reasons why I feel that that survey came to the wrong 

1) That survey was in effect saying: "We have a spec that's called html 
5; you OK with that?". The survey never said anything like: "We can call 
the spec anything you like; any ideas guys?".
2) Most people would have just assumed it was a foregone conclusion that 
the spec be called HTML 5 since the WHATWG had already called it that, 
so didn't bother to think of another name.
3) Several people, including myself, objected to naming the spec "html 
5" but wern't consulted with.
4) I don't think anyone (apart from perhaps me) realised the 
consequences of having a name that didn't actually reflect all of the 
technology within the spec.
5) People were never given the choice of other names to choose from.
6) People obviously thought there was no chance of the name being 
changed so they just went along with html 5.
7) People knew of the problems that naming the spec html 5 would cause 
but didn't care about the damage that would be done to XHTML.
8) People didn't know that by calling the spec "html 5", this would in 
essence deprecate XHTML (apart from the people that knowingly wanted 
this to happen).
9) At the time there was a lot of anti-XHTML sentiment in the air and 
people wanted or assumed that the spec was just text/html so therefore 
didn't see the problem with html 5 as a name.
10) Based on the hype at the time, many people thought that the W3C had 
dropped support for XHTML and had taken up HTML5(text/html). They simply 
didn't realise that the spec was in fact both HTML and XHTML. And some 
people still don't.
11) A lot of people at that time (and still today) are afraid of 
referring to the spec as being XHTML due to the risk of upsetting 
certain other working groups.

    I formally request that the name of the spec be changed to "HTML5 
and XHTML5".

Dean Edridge

Received on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 13:32:00 UTC