November 24, 1995

HTML 2.0 was published as IETF RFC 1866. Supplemental RFCs added capabilities:

  • November 25, 1995: RFC 1867 (form-based file upload)
  • May 1996: RFC 1942 (tables)
  • August 1996: RFC 1980 (client-side image maps)
  • January 1997: RFC 2070 (internationalization)

January 1997

HTML 3.2 was published as a W3C Recommendation. It was the first version developed and standardized exclusively by the W3C, as the IETF had closed its HTML Working Group in September 1996.

HTML 3.2 dropped math formulas entirely, reconciled overlap among various proprietary extensions and adopted most of Netscape’s visual markup tags. Netscape’s blink element and Microsoft’s marquee element were omitted due to a mutual agreement between the two companies. A markup for mathematical formulas similar to that in HTML was not standardized until 14 months later in MathML.

December 1997

HTML 4.0was published as a W3C Recommendation. It offers three variations:

  • Strict, in which deprecated elements are forbidden,
  • Transitional, in which deprecated elements are allowed,
  • Frameset, in which mostly only frame related elements are allowed;

Initially code-named “Cougar”, HTML 4.0 adopted many browser-specific element types and attributes, but at the same time sought to phase out Netscape’s visual markup features by marking them as deprecated in favor of style sheets. HTML 4 is an SGML application conforming to ISO 8879 – SGML.

April 1998

HTML 4.0 was reissued with minor edits without incrementing the version number.

December 1999

HTML 4.01 was published as a W3C Recommendation. It offers the same three variations as HTML 4.0 and its last errata were published May 12, 2001.

May 2000

ISO/IEC 15445:2000 (“ISO HTML”, based on HTML 4.01 Strict) was published as an ISO/IEC international standard. In the ISO this standard falls in the domain of the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 34 – Document description and processing languages).ajmal.

As of mid-2008, HTML 4.01 and ISO/IEC 15445:2000 are the most recent versions of HTML. Development of the parallel, XML-based language XHTML occupied the W3C’s HTML Working Group through the early and mid-2000s.


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