W3C HTML Working Group Status Report (November, 2009 - March, 2010)

This is a report from the W3C HTML Working Group co-chairs to the W3C membership on WG activities from November, 2009 through March, 2010.

1. Overview

The HTML WG co-chairs reported on the Working Group’s status to the W3C Advisory Committee (AC) at the AC meeting on November 5.  This report gives an update on the WG status since that report.


The HTML WG continues to be the largest WG that the W3C has ever had.  Thirty-seven W3C members companies are involved in the WG supporting a total of 144 WG members.  In addition the WG has 271 invited experts giving it a total membership of 415 members (membership data as of March 15, 2010).


After the HTML WG’s F2F meeting at the TPAC meetings in November 2009, the WG agreed to create two task forces on accessibility and testing. 

The Accessibility Task Force is a joint task force between the HTML WG and the Protocols and Formats WG and  is mandated to work on HTML5 accessibility-related bugs and issues.  This task force maintains a change proposal status page.

The Testing Task Force is mandated to create a test suite for HTML5 that could be used to assist the WG in improving the quality of the HTML5 specifications and for use during Candidate Recommendation phase of work.  The TF is currently working on the procedures for the submission and approval of individual test cases.  The TF is also working on updating the existing DOM Level 2 test cases and integrating them into a new test suite archival system.


During the period covered by this report, the HTML WG did most of its work via email.  During the reporting period the WG’s public email list recorded nearly 4000 message. The WG also holds a weekly teleconference meeting.  The Accessibility TF holds a weekly teleconference meeting and it has several sub-task forces that meet regularly.  The Testing TF holds a teleconference meeting every two weeks.

The HTML WG has not held a F2F meeting since the TPAC meetings in November, 2009.  The WG has no future F2F meeting scheduled although it has not yet reviewed the possibility of attending the TPAC meetings in November, 2010.


The HTML WG published the following six documents on March 4 (W3C news article):

The HTML Microdata and Canvas 2D Context specifications contain material that was previously published as part of the main HTML5 specification.  Splitting this material out permits the material to progress on its own schedule and increases the chances that the material may be used by other Working Groups.  Note that the co-chairs ruled that these two specifications were in the scope of the HTML WG charter.  The Director supported this ruling in an email to the HTML WG.

The HTML Working Group intends to re-publish this set of documents on a regular rhythm of about every 3-4 months to meet its “heartbeat” requirement.

Most of the material in the HTML WG working drafts listed above is also published in a specification by the WHATWG but licensed under different terms.


The HTML WG is working on several items that require liaison with others groups as outlined in the WG’s charter.  The following list is an example of these liaisons:

2. HTML Bugs and Issues

Most of the work of the HTML WG is driven by the submission of bugs on the WG’s specifications.  New bugs are entered into one of several Bugzilla instances used by the WG (ie one per specification).  The following table shows the arrival rate and resolution rate of all HTML5 bugs in 2009 and Jan-Feb 2010:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
New 39 23 14 29 13 15 37 211 204 280 128 104 225 243
Resolved 24 9 4 18 25 51 9 72 363 267 32 59 264 323

As of March 15, 2010 there were 153 bugs that the HTML WG editors have not yet processed.

The HTML WG adopted a decision policy in Nov 2009.  Although this decision policy was draft by the co-chairs to be ready for the expected large volume of Last Call comments, the WG commenced using the policy as soon as it was adopted.  Since the WG starting using the decision policy several questions have been raised on the policy.  The co-chairs have chosen to track bugs on the decision policy in the same way as other WG bugs. The co-chairs are currently processing the open bugs and will be providing the WG with an edited decision policy for the WG to adopt in the near future.

This decision policy includes both a Basic Process thru which most HTML5 bugs are processed and an Escalation Process that is used when WG members and one of the HTML5 Editors cannot agree on how a bug should be dealt with.

Bugs that are escalated become WG issues and the status of these escalated bugs is maintained by the HTML WG Tracker instance.  As of March 15, 2010 the WG  had 12 raised issues, 22 open issues and 1 issue pending review for a total of 35 issues.  As issues are being processed by the WG, the co-chairs request explicit Change Proposals or counter-proposals from WG members.  The status of these proposals is tracked on the Change Proposal status page.  The WG has resolved 16 issues since the TPAC meeting in November, 2009 while 15 new issues have been created.

The HTML WG co-chairs are responsible for determining when consensus on an issue and/or a change proposal has been reached.  In one case during the reporting period the co-chairs had to rule on resolving an issue when there was not unanimous support for the resolution.  ISSUE-76 was resolved in January, 2010 with a detailed ruling from the co-chairs.

3. Getting to W3C Last Call

In order to get the HTML WG specifications listed above to W3C Last Call the WG must resolve all the outstanding bugs and issues mentioned above.  This remains a daunting task for the follow reasons: