World Wide Web Consortium Issues HTML 4.0 as W3C Recommendation

Posted on December 19, 1997

Furthering its mission to lead the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the release of the HTML 4.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation. HTML 4.0 is the W3C's latest Recommendation for HTML, the basic publishing language of the Web. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by all W3C Members, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by the industry.

Developed throughout 1997 by the W3C HTML Working Group, HTML 4.0 makes the Web more appealing, more accessible, and more international. The W3C HTML Working Group includes key industry players such as Adobe Systems, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape Communications, Novell, Reuters, SoftQuad, Spyglass and Sun Microsystems; content specialists at HotWired, PathFinder and Verso, and experts in the fields of accessibility and internationalization.

HTML 4.0 improves the look and functionality of Web pages, offering several key improvements over the current HTML 3.2 Recommendation. "HTML 4.0 gives Web designers the ability to create dynamic, visually exciting pages that are accessible to all," said Dr. Dave Raggett, lead architect of the W3C's HTML activity. "It includes improvements to forms and tables as well as frames, scripts and support for style sheets. We are really pleased with the features for accessibility and internationalization."

Features include advanced forms, in-line frames, enhanced tables, and support for objects and scripts. Additionally, HTML 4.0 provides the markup needed for any language including multilingual documents, allowing authors to manage differences in language, text direction, and character encoding schemes. HTML 4.0 is also more accessible to users with disabilities, allowing table and form text to be rendered into braille or speech.