With Google I/O in full swing yesterday, one thing is apparent: we are on the cusp of a new HTML standard. It's slated to be a really versatile and shiny standard. It's a standard that promises to work for, and not against developers. It's been a long time coming, but for the first time in the standard's history, it's also being developed in conjunction with XHTML 5.

Ian Hickson and David Hyatt, from Google and Apple respectively (yet another loose link for internet-company-synergy-conspiracy theorists to look into) are the final say for the standard have the first say, whose first working draft was released on January 22 of last year. As with any massive implementation or change to a standard that drives thousands of internet technologies and just about any content that touches the public internet, developers expect this doc to be a work-in-progress for years to come.

In the meantime, there will be gradual rollouts of new/revised standard's features, including (and in no way limited to):

  • <audio></audio>
  • <video></video> (think YouTube, sans plug-ins…)
  • Drag-and-Drop API
  • Browsing History API
  • <canvas></canvas> (Dynamic, scripted rendering of bitmaps – 2D drawing for the win)

Just that shortlist is enough to peak my interest, as PHP, JavaScript, Flash, etc. are currently deployed for handling those types of content. A major goal of the changes was to make it easier for HTML to natively interact with other third party APIs – and since it's being designed/edited by someone who works for the publisher of just about every useful API that I use in my day to day life (maps, docs, mail…) – I think there's enough evidence to say that this implementation of HTML might finally get it. I haven't been this excited about HTML since Lissa explained it all.

 EDIT: Thanks to Ian Hickson for correcting me. As an editor for the standard, they have the first say, but the overall development team can override these choices.