1 Introduction

1.1 Where does this specification fit?

This specification defines a big part of the Web platform, in lots of detail. Its place in the Web platform specification stack relative to other specifications can be best summed up as follows:

It consists of everything else, above such core technologies as HTTP, URI/IRIs, DOM, XML, Unicode, and ECMAScript; below presentation-layer technologies like CSS and the NPAPI; and to the side of technologies like Geolocation, SVG, MathML, and XHR.

1.2 Is this HTML5?

This section is non-normative.

In short: Yes.

In more length: The term "HTML5" is widely used as a buzzword to refer to modern Web technologies, many of which (though by no means all) are developed at the WHATWG. This document is one such; others are available from the WHATWG specification index.

Although we have asked them to stop doing so, the W3C also republishes some parts of this specification as separate documents. There are numerous differences between this specification and the W3C forks; some minor, some major. Unfortunately these are not currently accurately documented anywhere, so there is no way to know which are intentional and which are not.

1.3 Background

This section is non-normative.

HTML is the World Wide Web's core markup language. Originally, HTML was primarily designed as a language for semantically describing scientific documents. Its general design, however, has enabled it to be adapted, over the subsequent years, to describe a number of other types of documents and even applications.

1.4 Audience

This section is non-normative.

This specification is intended for authors of documents and scripts that use the features defined in this specification, implementors of tools that operate on pages that use the features defined in this specification, and individuals wishing to establish the correctness of documents or implementations with respect to the requirements of this specification.

This document is probably not suited to readers who do not already have at least a passing familiarity with Web technologies, as in places it sacrifices clarity for precision, and brevity for completeness. More approachable tutorials and authoring guides can provide a gentler introduction to the topic.

In particular, familiarity with the basics of DOM is necessary for a complete understanding of some of the more technical parts of this specification. An understanding of Web IDL, HTTP, XML, Unicode, character encodings, JavaScript, and CSS will also be helpful in places but is not essential.

1.5 Scope

This section is non-normative.

This specification is limited to providing a semantic-level markup language and associated semantic-level scripting APIs for authoring accessible pages on the Web ranging from static documents to dynamic applications.

The scope of this specification does not include providing mechanisms for media-specific customization of presentation (although default rendering rules for Web browsers are included at the end of this specification, and several mechanisms for hooking into CSS are provided as part of the language).

The scope of this specification is not to describe an entire operating system. In particular, hardware configuration software, image manipulation tools, and applications that users would be expected to use with high-end workstations on a daily basis are out of scope. In terms of applications, this specification is targeted specifically at applications that would be expected to be used by users on an occasional basis, or regularly but from disparate locations, with low CPU requirements. Examples of such applications include online purchasing systems, searching systems, games (especially multiplayer online games), public telephone books or address books, communications software (e-mail clients, instant messaging clients, discussion software), document editing software, etc.