Add a disclaimer #84

nimbupani opened this Issue Jan 24, 2012 · 7 comments


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nimbupani commented Jan 24, 2012

While named HTML5 Please, this site discusses features beyond the HTML5 specification, coming from CSS, SVG, and the greater Open Web Platform umbrella.

As indicated by @iandevlin and @adactio, CSS3 is not part of HTML. However, HTML5 represents an umbrella term for all new technologies (as is inferred from Also, the specification itself is now a living standard known as HTML and not HTML5.

So, I am not quite sure how this collusion of terms would reflect in developer choices in real life.

  • Would they stop using CSS3 because it is now part of HTML5?
  • Would they make poorer use of CSS?
  • Will this cause choice paralysis in terms of which technology to use?

A word acquires its meaning not because of its original definition but by what people bestow on it while it remains in use. I strongly feel the meaning of 'HTML5' has long since left the building and its implication to refer to the specification itself also has been abandoned by the spec editors.

I would love to hear your thoughts here before we go about adding disclaimers to the site.


Raynos commented Jan 24, 2012

HTML5 for me has the same stupidly broad meaning as "web 2.0" does. I see "HTML5" as all recent technologies that browsers use.

When I mean the actual W3C HTML5 spec I'll state so explicitly. I tend to use WHATWG HTML anyway, and even then when I reference the actual HTML spec I tend to say WHATWG HTML to identity I'm talking about the specification and not about the HTML language in general.


miketaylr commented Jan 24, 2012

Could you please add a disclaimer to the word "shiny"? I have a matte screen and none of this stuff actually shines. 💔


beverloo commented Jan 24, 2012

Practical usage outweights theoretical ant-fucking. While the term HTML5 indeed is incorrect to use as an umbrella term for all these technologies, the ship has sailed and we're not going to stop it.

We may get a new chance to do this the right way with, although the rich history of names (including "DHTML", "AJAX" etcetera) for Web based paradigms shows that something will be invented either way. That discussion is, however, entirely out of scope here.

No disclaimer needed.

I don't think that HTML5 should be used as an umbrella term for all new web technologies. I don't think that backing this term to encompass everything and anything that's relatively new to the web is helpful.

There are a number of things that were part of the HTML5 specification and no longer are which are almost acceptable to call HTML5 (e.g. the canvas API), but others which were never part of it (e.g. Geolocation) shouldn't be. HTML 4.01 doesn't include CSS2.1 so I really can't see the logic in lumping CSS3 under the term HTML5.

Just because people are continuing to make this mistake isn't a reason to not try and correct it. Many of us were fed up with Web 2.0 being used to mean many unrelated things and here we are again and doing nothing to attempt to correct it.

As for the specification being a living standard, that's only the WHATWG version, whereas the W3C one is more rigid and structured (as I'm sure you're aware).

I think the disclaimer is needed, to indicate to people that the term HTML5 is being used loosely here and that not everything mentioned is strictly HTML5.


yatil commented Jan 24, 2012

This gets so confused all the time. „Use HTML5 to animate transition the color of the link.“ is something that I hear regularly. It blurs the line between semantic and presentation. I don’t think it makes sense to use HTML5 as an umbrella term on a web site that is actually used to educate. One should be more precise if one wants to teach people. At least the page title should say HTML5 (and related technologies), please!

I feel the ship has sailed when trying to communicate this point to the general public, tech writers, bosses, clients, and small children up the street. However, since the site is aimed at developers I think it does a disservice to not remind them that HTML5 means a very particular specification, and that it makes it easier in the future to cite new specifications that will be supported on the site (as they come up), but are otherwise distinct. For those who do know better (me, a couple folks above), it just looks like the site got it wrong and doesn't understand the difference itself.

If we as technical professionals cede the meaning of HTML5 when speaking to other technical professionals, we are falling prey to marketing speak that has no place in discussions about specific technical matters.


addyosmani commented Feb 15, 2012

I'm with @beverloo on this one. A disclaimer like this seems unnecessary.

@nimbupani nimbupani closed this Feb 19, 2013

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