Once upon a time W3C looked at the Web and said: “We provided the world with HTML, we gave them even XML and CSS and so much more. But people are reluctant to follow our standards. Developers write poorly designed, non validating code. They don’t separate content from presentation, not to talk about accessibility. Browsers accept this garbage and don’t even complain. Much worse: they offer silly extensions like e.g.
blink to please silly developers.” And W3C decided that something had to happen.
Angrily W3C announced: “We will make a new HTML. Better as everything we had before. We’ll remove all the garbage and provide a clean, extensible framework based on XML. We will call it XHTML2“. They released the first Working Draft in Dec. 2002. (The picture below shows the architecture that was on W3C’s agenda for the Future Web from a flyer dated 2004).
There was a lot of howling and wailing amongst developers and browser vendors. They flocked together and said: “This W3C wants to boss us around with their standards. We want more features, more freedom and no XMLization. We’ll make a Web of our own!” They decided to call themselves WHATWG.
This was of course not what W3C wanted to see. But the promotion of XHTML2 was rather not successful neither did it make much progress over the years. So W3C recognized the risk to lose its community. And it reminded itself of some non technical virtues and their mission to prevent the Web from breaking apart. They went to WHATWG and said: “We are the experts of Web standards and you know obviously what people want. Let’s team up!” WHATWG answered: “You didn’t treat us always fair. But if we agree that we write it down and you copy it, it might be OK.” So it came to the scene depicted below. And the lived happily and peacefully together … at least for a while.