The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) said on Thursday that it has proposed a plan to move the HTML5 spec into its official "Candidate Recommendation" status by 2014, and then HTML5.1 by 2016. So far this plan hasn't been approved by the HTML Working Group (WG), but it's open for discussion within the group along with the Accessibility Task Force, and the WAI Protocols and Formats Working Group.
For the W3C to get HTML5 into the Candidate Recommendation stage on time, it will need to rip out some of the less stable aspects and reassign them to the later HTML 5.1. This shouldn't be too much of a hassle given that HTML 5 has been "modularized" over the years, as chunks have already been spun off like Web Workers, WebSockets, Microdata and many others which have since become separate, standalone W3C specifications.
"Modularity plays an important role in the plan progress," the W3C blog stated. "To enable features to evolve independently and rapidly, the group will make use of what it calls 'extension specifications.' Some extension specifications may end up being published as stand-alone documents that are part of the 'HTML family of specifications'; others may be re-integrated into the "baseline" HTML5 specification."
To determine what stays in the HTML5 spec, the plans proposes that the group needs to determine which features are likely to meet the "Public Permissive" CR exit criteria. The group must then create a "stable HTML5.0" draft which includes just the "stable" features, and omits the remaining "unstable" features. After that, they will create an HTML5.1 editor’s draft which is a superset of the stable HTML5.0, but with the "unstable" features included instead of omitted, and also with any new proposed features included.
Then for HTML5.1 in 2016, the HTML WG will repeat the process, throwing the unstable parts into HTML5.2. This streamlined process should mean that additional features will reach the Recommendation stage quicker than before the plan was proposed. That said, if the plan is adopted, then the HTML WG expects to advance HTML5.0 to Candidate Recommendation mode in Q4 of this year.
To read the proposed plan, head here.