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There's recently been a lot of buzz about HTML5, touted as the next major revision of the HTML standard.

What is HTML 5? It's just like its predecessors, HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.1. It is a standard for structuring and presenting content on the Web. The big leap on HTML5 are features like video playback and drag-and-drop which have been previously dependent on third-party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Google Gears.

HTML5 is still under development. In June 2004, The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) started work on the specification under the name Web Applications 1.0. As of March 2010, the specification is in the Draft Standard state at the WHATWG, and in Working Draft state at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Ian Hickson of Google, Inc. is the editor of HTML5.

The HTML5 specification was adopted as the starting point of the work of the new HTML working group of the W3C in 2007. This working group published the First Public Working Draft of the specification on January 22, 2008. The specification is an ongoing work, and is expected to remain so for many years, although parts of HTML5 are going to be finished and implemented in browsers before the whole specification reaches final Recommendation status.

According to the W3C timetable, it is estimated that HTML5 will reach W3C Recommendation by late 2010. However, the First Public Working Draft estimate was missed by 8 months, and Last Call and Candidate Recommendation were expected to be reached in 2008, but as of July 2010 HTML5 is still at Working Draft stage in the W3C. HTML5 has been at Last Call in the WHATWG since October 2009.

Ian Hickson expects the specification to reach the Candidate Recommendation stage during 2012, and become a W3C Recommendation in the year 2022 or later.

If HTML5 is still far from being the standard, what's the buzz all about?

The buzz is all about the number of new elements and attributes that reflect typical usage on modern websites. Some of them are semantic replacements for common uses of generic block (

) and inline () elements, for example

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