HTML 5: the Fate of Style, Decided?

If you are in the habit of authoring valid, forward compatible hypertext markup, then you have probably heard rumors that the HTML element attribute style=“ ”, may be deprecated in HTML 5. The style=“ ” attribute is a valid attribute of HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0, and according to the HTML 5 draft in progressstyle="" will maintain its place as a valid HTML 5 element attribute as well. However, the reader must take into consideration that HTML 5 is a long way from being the Recommendation by which web browser vendors will design; are designing new prototypes which will some day implement the new standard.

More information about changes to come in HTML 5 is available at the current non-normativeW3C HTML 5 Working Draft

Non-Normative Resources & the Value of Credibility

When reading a W3C draft, one might notice in the document text, styled in bold type, enclosed in attention-grabbing borders, and in multiple instances near the page head, the sidebar or the footer of each page, that the Authors want everyone to know immediately that the document is a working draft. The W3C uses the term non-normative in reference to their draft documents.
The web development community knows these documents well, but perhaps more commonly referenced, or cited outside of the document itself, is a W3C Recommendation; a working draft which has been submitted for review, has been accepted to be passed on as a Candidate for Recommendation, and finally passed on to become the normative document, as a Standard Recommendation.

The URL above is the HTML 5 Working Draft. While it is written by members of the authoritative entity commonly known as the W3C, and reviewed by other significant contributing bodies, outside sources (such as NoviceNotes) should not reproduce the content because by nature, as a non-normative reference, it is subject to change.

Why might the W3C wish to label their Recommendations, so conspicuously, as non-normative documents? I present the following list, so the reader might consider these issues when he or she makes a decision to copy, or reference material from a W3C working draft.

  • In comparison to those that they label as a non-normative Working Draft, the W3C grants license to reproduce parts of the normative Standards, such as CSS 2.0 (vs CSS 2.1)
  • The content is subject to change, at any time rendering reproduced text invalid
  • Any reproduction of draft material is potentially a misrepresentation of the original author, and the revised text
  • Within the context of scholarly, technical data, what opinion might the reader develop concerning the credibility of a resource which would reproduce draft material?

The Word Wide Web Consortium – Available at

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