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W3C HTML Activities

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HTML is the universal markup language for the Web.

HTML Tutorials

To learn more about HTML, read our HTML tutorial.

To learn more about XHTML, read our XHTML tutorial.

HTML Versions

HTML 2.0

HTML 2.0 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force HTML Working Group in 1996.

HTML 2.0 is an outdated version of HTML. For a Web developer there is no need to study the HTML 2.0 standard.

HTML 3.2

HTML 3.2 became a W3C Recommendation 14. January 1997. HTML 3.2 contained new features such as fonts, tables, applets, superscripts, subscripts and more, to the existing HTML 2.0 standard.

One of the elements added to the HTML 3.2 standard, was the <font> tag. This tag introduced unnecessary complexity to the important task of separating HTML content (text) from its presentation (style). The <font> tag became deprecated in HTML 4.0. 

HTML 4.0

HTML 4.0 became a W3C Recommendation 18. December 1997. A second release was issued on 24. April 1998 with only some editorial corrections.

The most important feature of HTML 4.0 was the introduction of style sheets (CSS). 

Our W3C CSS chapter summarizes the W3C CSS activities.

HTML 4.01

HTML 4.01 became a W3C Recommendation 24. December 1999.

HTML 4.01 was a minor update of corrections and bug-fixes from HTML 4.0.


XHTML 1.0 reformulates HTML 4.01 in XML.

XHTML 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation 20. January 2000. 

Our W3C XHTML chapter summarizes the W3C XHTML activities.


On January 22nd, 2008, W3C published a working draft for HTML 5.

The HTML 5 working group includes AOL, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera and many hundred other vendors.

Some of the new features in HTML 5 are functions for embedding audio, video, graphics, client-side data storage, and interactive documents. HTML 5 also contains new elements like <nav>, <header>, <footer>, and <figure>.

HTML 5 improves interoperability and reduces development costs by making precise rules on how to handle all HTML elements, and how to recover from errors.

W3C HTML Specifications and Timeline

Specification Recommendation
HTML 3.2 14. January 1997
HTML 4.0 24. April 1998
HTML 4.01 24. December 1999
HTML 5 10. Jun 2008 (latest draft)

lamp  The XHTML specifications and timeline are found in the next chapter.

W3C Reference:

W3C HTML Home Page

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