If you are a web developer you will probably want to remember where you were on the day (October 28th, 2014) that HTML5 became a standard. There once was a time when you couldn’t move for headlines about HTML5. It was to be the solution. To what exactly was never particularly clear.
Formal ratification by W3C builds more confidence in HTML5. It’s a milestone to mark seven years of work that a lot of people have put into getting a standard at W3C published for HTML. For a lot of people, it is important to have a stable version of the specification that’s ratified in some way by a standards organization. If not for the huge strides HTML5 has taken, we’d still be years away from seamless, native in-browser video and audio. Going forward, W3C emphasizes community engagement and collaboration. With the Internet of Things emerging as the next big thing, W3C wants to be on the forefront of development with a focus on web-based applications. But most importantly, now that HTML5 has been finalized, W3C can now start putting the bulk of its energy into working on HTML5.1.
As a user, you won’t notice any changes. Chances are your browser already supports most HTML5 features like the <video> element and vector graphics (unless your employer forces you to use a really old version of Internet Explorer, that is). Other important new features that HTML5 has brought to the web over the last few years are things like the <canvas> element for rendering 2D shapes and bitmap images, support for MathML for displaying mathematical notations in the browser, and APIs for everything from offline caching to drag-and-drop support.
In reality, locking down the spec for HTML5 will make little immediate difference to internet users, most of whom will already be using browsers that carry many of its features. But much of the progress made in web games can be attributed to HTML5, which has been dissected, championed and shot down as a viable platform for game development on this very website.
To that end, there are several issues that need to be improved in the future, such as the security and privacy elements (identity, crypto, multi-factor authentication, privacy protection), core web design and development (HTML next generation, style, layout, graphics, animations and typography), media and real-time communications (WebRTC, streaming media), services (social Web, Payments, annotations, web of data) and more.
The standardization process of HTML5 was once believed to take until 2020, but the W3C decided to speed things up and came up with “Plan 2014.” As part of this, they encouraged the Working Group to allow work on some controversial items to proceed on their own path in parallel to HTML5 as extension specs. Some were separately developed and then folded back into HTML5 before its completion.