According to this email by Dan Connolly (HTML-WG chair), HTML5 will be finally published as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD) by the W3C on the
26th of Feb January 22, 2008. Microsoft has been mainly responsible about stalling the publication of HTML5 because of their concerns over <canvas> and its related graphics API. On various occasions, Microsoft argued that the graphics API was out outside the scope of the HTML WG charter and that they would have to look at the legal implications.
In the email, Dan Connolly wrote:
... and adding 3 months, we get: 2007-11-26 + 3 months = 2007-02-26 for a deadline for publication for the HTML 5 specification. The W3C Director, Tim Berners-Lee, sees no reason why this working group should be excused further from the three-month heartbeat rule, and further, encourages us to publish sooner if at all possible.
I still think it’s really disappointing that it’s going to take a further two months to publish the document. I was personally wishing it would be published for XMas (a nice present for the web community!). A FPWD is important for both marketing reasons and legal reasons: when a FPWD, all sorts of legal things in the W3C process go into effect. From a marketing perspective, it will be good as lots of media attention. However, from a technical perspective, a FPWD is irrelevant because of the rate at which HTML5 is being edited by Hixie (on a daily, if not hourly basis). The latest draft of the HTML5 document is always available to anyone either via the WHATWG site or theW3C CVS repository.
Update: In a follow-up email, Hixie sees no reason not to publish the document straight away! He writes “Cool. Since we are encouraged to publish sooner rather than later, and since there doesn’t appear to be any reason for us not to publish immediately, I have prepared the document for Working Draft publication.” If we are lucky, we might see the document published for xmas! 🙂
Update: According this post by to Anne van Kesteren, the publication wheels are now in motion: Mike(tm) Smith sent the request for publication earlier today! Now pending Chris Lilley‘s approval… will Chris be the scrooge that ruins christmas?Lets hope not.
Update: No HTML for xmas I am afraid… In this email, Mike(tm) Smith writes, “after discussion with others on the team, the target publication date I’m requesting for the First Public Working Draft of the HTML5 specification is January 22.”