The HTML working group has estimated that the HTML5 standard will be complete in 2014 - which is a very long time to wait for something so vital.
Could the time it will take be due to the fact that the working group has 400 members?
There is an exclamation mark at the end the title of this news item because, if you really need a reason why committees are not the best way to do anything, then another 3 years to finalise the HTML5 standard is a good one.
The HTML5 standard is composed of some parts that are fairly simple, such as the new semantic tags, and some parts that are much more complex - but not so complex that web developers should have to wait three more years.
In the same time scale that HTML5 will take to be finalised, entire computer languages will be created and will evolve through several generations. While it is important to write good and accurate specifications and while issues of backward compatibility have to be taken into acount, there has to be a faster way to enable the key technologies of the web to evolve in a speedier but robust way.
There is also the issue of the way that web browsers become de facto standards for web technologies long before the real standard is finalised. When you realise that the HTML working group has 400 members, including representatives from browser creators, you can see that this is much worse than any committee that designed a donkey. The latest idea is to do away with version numbering after HTML5 and just allow the specification to roll into the future. This could be just a way of hiding how slow the process of debate, drafting, revisions and starting over actually is.
The open source community generally manages a much faster rate of development and is more open to trying experimental forks - if the feature is good use it, if it isn't drop it. Private companies certainly innovate faster than the HTML working group. Perhaps the answer is to slim the whole thing down. Perhaps a reference implementation would be better than a standard. Whatever the solution to the slow pace of development, 2014 is too long to wait for HTML5 to be complete.
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HTML5 - I've seen it. It's rubbish.