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Subject: HTML, XHTML, Document Object Model, Microdata (HTML), Web Messaging
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The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group
The WHATWG logo, a green circle with a green question mark centered inside it.
Abbreviation WHATWG
Motto Maintaining and evolving HTML since 2004
Formation 4 June 2004 (2004-06-04)
Spokesman Ian "Hixie" Hickson
Main organ Membership
Website .orgwhatwg

The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) is a community of people interested in evolving HTML and related technologies. The WHATWG was founded by individuals from Apple, the Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software in 2004.[1] Since then, the editor of the WHATWG specifications, Ian Hickson, has moved to Google. Chris Wilson of Microsoft was invited but did not join, citing the lack of a patent policy to ensure all specifications can be implemented on a royalty-free basis.[2]

The WHATWG has a small, invitation-only oversight committee called "Members", which has the power to impeach the editor of the specifications.[3] Anyone can participate as a Contributor by joining the WHATWG mailing list.


The WHATWG was formed in response to the slow development of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web standards and W3C's decision to abandon HTML in favor of XML-based technologies. The WHATWG mailing list was announced on 4 June 2004,[4] two days after the initiatives of a joint Opera–Mozilla position paper[5] had been voted down by the W3C members at the W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents.[6]

On 10 April 2007, the Mozilla Foundation, Apple, and Opera Software proposed[7] that the new HTML working group of the W3C adopt the WHATWG’s HTML5 as the starting point of its work and name its future deliverable as "HTML5". On 9 May 2007, the new HTML working group resolved to do that.[8]


The WHATWG has been actively working on several documents.

  • HTML formerly known as HTML5[9] (formerly titled Web Applications 1.0) is the fifth major version of the HTML specification and has been adopted by the W3C as the starting point of the work of the new HTML working group. On 19 January 2011, Ian Hickson announced that the standard would now be called HTML instead of HTML5. The specification for HTML will be a living document that will have continuous changes as necessary.[10]
  • Web Workers[11] defines an API that enables ECMAScript to use multi-core CPUs more effectively.
  • Microdata Vocabularies[12] defines vocabularies for use with the HTML5 Microdata feature.
  • Web Forms 2.0[13] is an update to HTML forms. The spec will no longer be developed standalone, as the features have been folded into HTML5.
  • Web applications 1.0[14] contains HTML5, Web Workers, and several other specifications, some of which are only published standalone at the W3C.

Additionally, there is a very early draft called Web Controls 1.0,[15] which is not actively being developed.


  1. ^ "FAQ – What is the WHATWG?". WHATWG. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Chris (10 January 2007). "You, me and the W3C (aka Reinventing HTML)". Albatross! The personal blog of Chris Wilson, Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft.  
  3. ^ "FAQ – How does the WHATWG work?". WHATWG. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Hickson, Ian (4 June 2004). "WHAT open mailing list announcement". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Joint Opera–Mozilla position paper voted down prior to the founding of the WHATWG: Position Paper for the W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents
  6. ^ "W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents (Day 2) Jun 2, 2004".  
  7. ^ Stachowiak, Maciej (9 Apr 2007). "Proposal to Adopt HTML5".  
  8. ^ Connolly, Dan (9 May 2007). "results of HTML 5 text, editor, name questions".  
  9. ^ Hickson, Ian (23 February 2010). "HTML5 (including next generation additions still in development)". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  10. ^ Hickson, Ian (19 January 2011). "HTML is the new HTML5". WHATWG. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Hickson, Ian (23 February 2010). "Web Workers". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  12. ^ Hickson, Ian (5 January 2009). "HTML5 (including next generation additions still in development)#5.4 Microdata vocabularies". WHATWG. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Hickson, Ian (5 January 2009). "Web Forms 2.0". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Hickson, Ian (23 February 2010). "Web Applications 1.0". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Hickson, Ian (8 November 2004). "Web Controls 1.0". WHATWG. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 

See also

External links

  • WHATWG home page
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