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A little history
We know that HTML is the markup language used by browsers and devices to describe content, or data, on the Web. The previous version of HTML, HTML 4.01, was introduced in 1999. Things have clearly changed a lot since then!
HTML5 is the latest iteration of that markup language and will be the new standard for HTML. It includes new features, improvements to existing features and scripting interfaces (APIs).
HTML5 is currently a cooperation between the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG). WHATWG, made up of Apple, the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software was working with web forms and applications, and W3C was working with XHTML 2.0. In 2006, having gone their separate ways in a bad tempered split about how to best serve the needs of the browser makers, they decided to cooperate and create a new version of HTML.
Although we call it HTML5, WHATWG's have dropped the '5' and simply called it HTML. It is referred to as a 'living standard', meaning that it will be in constant development and will no longer be referred to using incrementing version numbers. Further interesting/bedtime reading, depending on your persuasion/issues with insomnia: http://www.whatwg.org/html
HTML5 is still a work in progress. However, the major browsers support many of the new HTML5 elements and APIs. In the next article we'll discuss the new HTML5 elements and how we can use them to make things better.