of the HTML5 specification. HTML5 also defines in some detail the required processing for
invalid documents so that syntax errors will be treated uniformly by all conforming browsers and
other user agents.
3 The Open Web Platform
The Open Web Platform (OWP) is the name given to a collection of Web standards which have
been developed by the W3C . The Open Web Platform has been defined as "a platform for
innovation, consolidation and cost efficiencies" .
The Open Web Platform covers Web standards such as HTML5, CSS 2.1, CSS3 (including the
Selectors, Media Queries, Text, Backgrounds and Borders, Colors, 2D Transformations, 3D
Transformations, Transitions, Animations, and Multi-Columns modules), CSS Namespaces,
SVG 1.1, MathML 3, WAI-ARIA 1.0, ECMAScript 5, 2D Context, WebGL, Web Storage, Indexed
Database API, Web Workers, WebSockets Protocol/API, Geolocation API, Server-Sent Events,
Element Traversal, DOM Level 3 Events, Media Fragments, XMLHttpRequest, Selectors API,
CSSOM View Module, Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, File API, RDFa, Microdata and WOFF.
Use of the term Open Web Platform can be helpful in describing developments which make use
of standards which complement HTML5.
The list of Web standards covered by the term provides an indication of the significant
developments which are currently taking place which aim to provide much greater and more
robust support for use of the Web across a variety of platforms and for a variety of uses.
4 Importance to Higher Education
The Web became of strategic importance to higher education in the mid 1990s primarily in its
role as an informational resource. As the potential of Web became better understood new types
of services were developed and the Web is now used to support the key areas of significance to
higher educational institutions: teaching and learning and research.
However although innovative uses of the Web have been seen in these areas, the limitations of
Web standards made it difficult and costly to develop highly-interactive cross-platform
applications. Such difficulties meant that significant developments in use of the Web to provide
applications (as opposed to access to information) was being led to large global companies,
with Google’s range of services such as Google Docs providing an example of a
The experiences gained in developing such Web-based applications led to the evolution of Web
standards to support such development work. In addition the growth in popularity of mobile
devices led to the development of standards which could be used across multiple types of
devices, in addition to the cross-platform independence which allowed Web services to be
accessed across desktop PCs running MS Windows, Apple Macintosh or Linux operating
Developments to the HTML5 standard enable multimedia resources to be embedded in HTML
resources as a native resources. In addition developments to related standards, such as SVG
(Scalable Vector Graphics) and MathML (the Mathematics Markup Language) together with
developments to standards which support programmatic manipulation of objects defined in
these markup languages will provide a rich environment for the development of new types of
tools and services which will be value to support a range of institutional requirements.
In addition the support for mobile devices will enable access to this new generation of
applications to be provided across a range of mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads,
Android devices and smart phones and tablet computers which may use operating systems
provided by other vendors.
In brief the development of HTML5 and the Open Web Platform can provide the following
benefits across higher education:
A rich environment for the development of applications which can run in a Web browser.
A rich environment for the development of applications which can run across a range of
platforms and suit the particular requirements of mobile devices.