HTML 5.2 Gets W3C Backing
HTML 5.2 Gets W3C Backing
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 18 December 2017

The latest version of HTML, version 5.2, is now a W3C Recommendation. This makes the existing HTML 5.1 recommendation obsolete, with HTML 5.2 now the official web standard, with support for JavaScript modules and better handling of online commerce.

While HTML 5 was the cause of great excitement, the release of 5.1 last year was a much lower key affair, in large because the innovations were happening outside HTML in the form of new web technologies.

The first public Working Draft of HTML 5.3 was published alongside the current version. In practical terms for the current 5.2 version, the main changes are as follows:

A dialog element has been added. This can be used to represent part of an application that a user interacts with to perform a task, for example a dialog box, inspector, or window. It has an open boolean attribute which when specified indicates that the dialog element is active and that the user can interact with it.

The new version has integration with the JavaScript module system introduced in ECMAScript 2018. This is now supported in HTML 5.2 via the use of 

<script type="module">

with rules on how a module will be resolved, fetched, and evaluated. This feature means it will be possible to load JavaScript modules, then to resolve, fetch, parse and evaluate module dependencies.

There's a new Payment Request API that is designed to make is simpler to implement commerce systems on the Web, reducing the risks of users making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. There's also a new Content Security Policy that's designer to be more effective at protecting users. The policy lets web developers control the resources that a particular page can fetch or execute, and also to speficy a number of security-relevant policy settings.

Another improvement is the inclusion of features developed from ARIA (Accesible Rich Internet Applications). This enables the definition of semantic information about widgets, structures, and behaviors, so that assistive technologies can convey appropriate information to persons with disabilities.

There are several more minor additions, but of equal interest are some features that have been removed. One main removal is support for plugins. The thinking behind the removal is that new technologies and capabilities such as virtual reality or speech interaction are now developed as part of the Web Platform, so providing better control over potential security flaws.

Other HTML elements from older releases have been marked as non-conformant and the recommendation is that they must not be used. This means that in the future, browsers will be able to drop support for the older elements. 



More Information

HTML 5.2 Changes Log

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