It's no surprise that HTML 5 is coming. However, it's been a bit easier to miss that a lot of work has also been going into the issue of Web forms.

So much so, that the HTML Working Group has announced that Web Forms 2.0 have been superseded by HTML 5.


The first Web Forms 2.0 Working Draft appeared as far back as February 2004. At that point it was the proverbial gleam in the eyes of a few dreamers rather than a formal World Wide Web Consortium project. This group of dreamers evolved into the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG).

In June 2004, the first Call for Comments version of Web Forms 2.0 was posted. From there, in April 2005, Web Forms 2.0 reached the W3C Web site as a formal member submission. The final public version appears in July 2005, marked with "This document is in the very final stages and will very shortly become a call for implementations."

However, Web Forms 2.0 then went silent. According to the WHATWG FAQ, Web Forms 2.0 was "informally declared feature complete and the WHATWG is awaiting implementation experience." The plans to roll this specification into HTML 5 are also stated here.

Learning Opportunities

The New Web Forms Functionality

Functionality added to HTML 5 through Web Forms 2.0 includes:

  • Rudimentary type and validity checking
  • New allowable behavior for some form elements
  • Considerable extensions to input types
  • Extensions to submit buttons
  • Procedures for handling unexpected elements and values
  • An event model for form events fired by form elements
  • An updated form submission specification

In other words, HTML 5 brings a powerful new world to form builders that should allow for more robust, flexible forms that render properly on a wider number of browsers and devices without requiring tons of additional code. Bring it on, we say!

For more on HTML 5, see: