Paul Ford on HTML5 and the World of Web Standards

Paul Ford, writing for The New Yorker:

You might have read that, on October 28th, W3C officially recommended HTML5. And you might know that this has something to do with apps and the Web. The question is: Does this concern you?

The answer, at least for citizens of the Internet, is yes: it is worth understanding both what HTML5 is and who controls the W3C. And it is worth knowing a little bit about the mysterious, conflict-driven cultural process whereby HTML5 became a “recommendation.” Billions of humans will use the Web over the next decade, yet not many of those people are in a position to define what is “the Web” and what isn’t. The W3C is in that position. So who is in this cabal? What is it up to? Who writes the checks?

Ford achieves something extraordinary with this piece — it works well as an introduction to the world of web standards for the uninitiated, but works also as a cogent overview for those of us who are intimately familiar with the W3C (idealistic) / WHATWG (practical) political saga.

Ford is on a roll. It’s amazing how many of my favorite pieces of the last few months have his byline.

Monday, 24 November 2014