“HTML 5” or “HTML5”?

Published on September 11, 2009 (↻ April 22, 2024), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development.

It’s “HTML5,” not “HTML 5,” declares the most recent post on the WHATWG blog. A seemingly trivial matter, yet compare that to names of other HTML specifications: HTML 2.0, HTML 3.2, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, XHTML 1.1, XHTML 2.0.

Calling HTML 5 “HTML5” is inconsistent and grammatically wrong. I don’t understand the decision. Personally, I’ll continue to reference this version of HTML as… HTML 5.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!

Comments (Closed)

  1. On September 11, 2009, 10:47 CEST, Francesco said:

    HTML 5!

  2. On September 11, 2009, 14:48 CEST, Ruan Mér said:

    HTML 5! [2]

  3. On September 11, 2009, 15:46 CEST, Check said:

    HTML 5.

  4. On September 11, 2009, 20:49 CEST, Jens Nedal said:

    I wonder what is behind that kind of naming convention. Silly really. Has any plausible explanation been given to date?

    “HTML 5″

  5. On September 12, 2009, 13:43 CEST, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    There’s nothing but consensus, whether here or on Twitter or on Facebook or in the physical world.

    Jens, the only thing close to an explanation that I could find so far is “W333! ’s” comment on the WHATWG blog. Don’t really find it convincing though… in this case we should have really removed any versioning (i.e., “HTML”).

  6. On September 12, 2009, 15:56 CEST, Lachlan Hunt said:

    The spec had previously made a distinction between “HTML 5″ (with space) the vocabulary, and “HTML5″ (without space) the syntax. Similarly, “XHTML5″ (without space) was used to refer to the XML serialisation of HTML5. This distinction between the vocabularly and syntax was removed as it was realised that trying to maintain such a distinction based merely on the presence or absence of a space was not very sensible, and so a choice was made to stick with just one spelling and be self-consistent within the spec.

  7. On September 17, 2009, 7:47 CEST, Divaharlal said:

    HTML5 is good to pronounce. Its a next generation markup by w3c, so its better to have a difference

  8. On September 19, 2009, 23:28 CEST, Larry Soule said:

    HTML5 is an update to both html 4.1 and xhtml 1.1. When completed, it will be more drastic then any other html update has been. It will completely change the way web sites and applications are written.

    It is much like when Mac went from version 9.2 to 10.0. They “rebranded” the name to OS X. Yes, its still OS 10, but it was such a drastic change to the os, that they chose to use a new name.

  9. On September 20, 2009, 21:16 CEST, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    Lachlan, thanks for clarifying. I understand that “HTML 5” would have solved that as well then? Has consistency with other HTML specs been considered during any naming discussions?

    Divaharlal, is “HTML 5” to be pronounced differently?

    Larry, is that related to the… space question?

  10. On September 24, 2009, 12:08 CEST, chaz said:

    y not call.. ” HTML five

  11. On September 26, 2009, 6:46 CEST, Diana said:

    Thanks for the link to read the arguments. I don’t see a valid reason for omitting the space. I agree with you that I’ll be referencing HTML 5.

  12. On October 1, 2009, 17:26 CEST, Tim Wright said:

    As dumb as the arguement over a space is, I actually came across this when I was writing my last Smashing Article. I ended up using HTML5, but for consistancy throughout the article I also used HTML4.01 and XHTML1.0.

    But for what it’s worth, I think HTML 5 looks nicer

  13. On October 12, 2009, 15:02 CEST, David Collantes said:

    I am with you as well. HTML 5, of course.

  14. On October 14, 2009, 11:45 CEST, HTMLer said:

    HTML 5, +1

  15. On October 17, 2009, 0:01 CEST, Max Howell said:

    It’s branding. HTML5 is the most important revision to the spec to date. It deserves to be paraded around on its own pedestal.

    I imagine the convention that has arisen to remove the space occurred by circumstance. People just started removing the space sub-consciously. They realised in-between words that the entity that is HTML5 had become more than just the spec.

  16. On November 24, 2009, 11:35 CET, Mathias Bynens said:

    Sorry, but no.

    If the WHATWG once and for all decides it should be ‘HTML5’, who are we to say differently?

    Also, (incorrectly) referring to HTML5 as ‘HTML 5’ might have consequences you haven’t considered. For one, the HTML5watcher Twitter bot will only log tweets matching ‘HTML5’, not ‘HTML 5’. Of course, this is just an example – but I’m sure you see the point.

    This is why we have standards, people!