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A day with Paul Cotton, co-chair at W3C HTML Work Group

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure to spend my day with Paul Cotton.

Paul Cotton is the Group Manager of Microsoft’s Interoperability team that covers HTML and Cloud technologies. In addition he is currently co-chair of the W3C HTML Working Group that is standardizing HTML5, Microdata, Canvas 2D Context …

During the day we were talking about many different things, but as you can imagine our main conversation subject was HTML5. It was very interesting to see the professionalism of Paul handling the two hats he needs to wear constantly, one to represent Microsoft interests and the other one to represent W3C interests, this means the interests of the entire web community and this is a huge responsibility. The first thing that called my attention on this regards was that Paul was not talking about browsers, but about user-agents in a way to abstract his conversations from specific browsers.

One of the most interesting things to reflect on was how the HTML specification and the industry could evolve from the point we are today. Far from talking about new features or new technologies to be included in the specification, Paul was talking about how the new members of the group could influence this evolution. Until today most of the members were coming from companies with a long trajectory in the web like Microsoft, Mozilla or Adobe, but now there are other members coming from very disparate industries like TV manufacturers like Sony, LG or from the entertainment world as Disney.

This proves how the web of the future is attracting a full new universe of possibilities that might change the panorama as we know it today, simple things like a browser update that is very common in the computer world, might not be desirable anymore when you need update the firmware of your TV to have its embedded browser updated.

Time will tell, but as Paul says also the technologies suffer the Darwinian evolution and I completely agree, it doesn’t matter how much you try to get stuck in one of them they will evolve or disappear, so be prepared for the change.

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