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Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG)

Last Edit: 10/01/17

The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) was founded in 2004 by a selection of important software developers, that included:

  1. Apple Computers
  2. Mozilla Foundation
  3. Opera Software

The members of WHATWG are mostly comprised of companies who develop web browsers. These members became disillusioned with the activities of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); who are/were responsible for developing a standardised version of HTML: the primary markup language for creating web content.

The last standardised version of HTML (version 4.0) was released in 1997, and from 1999-2004, the working groups of W3C had primarily focused upon developing XML and XHTML; a version of HTML reformulated using XML. The lack of progress in developing HTML during this period had disillusioned the developers of web browsers: as their browsers were primarily designed to parse HTML, and the fact that the majority of content designed for the World Wide Web was designed in HTML. In 2004, Opera Software and The Mozilla Foundation submitted a position paper at a W3C workshop: the paper requested the ongoing development of HTML, the vote was 14 to 8 against the proposal, and this vote led to the creation of the WHATWG.

In 2005, WHATWG had setup working groups to begin work on developing a new version of HTML: which aimed to combine XML, XHTML and HTML into a single standardised markup language for the World Wide Web. By 2007, the project had advanced to such a degree that the HTML working group of W3C officially recognised the project. HTML5 was released in 2014, and the working groups of WHATWG and W3C are - jointly - continuing to develop HTML. While WHATWG primarily focus on developing HTML, it also develops other web technologies, that include: DOM's and URLs.