Open Web Standards has reached a new milestone on Monday when the W3C published their completed definitions for HTML5 and Canvas 2D. There is still a long and hard road until the specification becomes an official standard although the organization is finally comfortable classifying this description as feature complete.

The “Web Platform” is a collection of standards which form an environment for applications to target the web browser. HTML basically forms the structure for content and provides guidelines for what that structure physically means. CSS, Javascript, Canvas 2D, WebGL, WebCL, and other standards then contribute to the form and function of the content.

HTML5 allows for much more media, interactivity, and device-optimization than its 1999 predecessor. This standard, particularly once finalized and recommended by the W3C, can be part of the basis for fully featured programs which function as expected where the standard does.

This is an important milestone but one by no means the final destination of the standard.

The biggest sticking point in the HTML5 specification is still over video tag behavior. The W3C pushes for standards it recommends to comply with its royalty-free patent policy. Implementation of video has been pretty heavily locked down by various industry bodies, most noticeably MPEG-LA, which is most concerning for open source implementations which might not be able to include H.264. There still does not appear to be a firm resolution with this recent draft.

Still, once the patent issues have been settled, video will not just be accessible in static ways. Tutorials exist to show you how to manipulate the direct image data resulting from the video to do post-processing effects and other calculations. It should be an interesting abstraction for those who wish to implement video assets in applications such as for a texture in a game.

HTML5 is expected to be fully baked sometime in mid-2014. It would be around that time where HTML5.1 would mature to the state HTML5 celebrates today.