The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML Working Group has published a draft of the HTML 5 specification, the first major update to HTML in 10 years, factoring in changing tastes around rich-media applications and online collaboration.

Much has changed since the early dot-com days of December 1997 when HTML 4 was published. Now developers, designers and users have unlocked the Web's potential. Sites have moved from being a collection of static pages to media-rich communities leveraging participation.

HTML 5 is defined in a way that it is backwards compatible with the way web browsers handle deployed content. Some of the new elements in HTML 5 relate to structure and presentation. The new section and article tags, for instance, should be familiar to those of you who have worked with docbook. There are also new elements for navigation, headers, footers, figures, and dialog. Media support gets a boost, with the canvas drawing system as well as new audio and video tags. Improvements to HTML forms include support for date and time input elements and a new datagrid that will support interactive tables and trees. HTML 5 also gets basic templating functionality and support for repeating elements.

A full list of changes from the previous version can be found here.

UPDATE: Here's some more in-depth The HTML 5 Draft Hints at a Brave New Web

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