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Even while HTML was in the throes of a standardization effort, discussion of what would follow was a hot topic in the WWW community. Dave Raggett created an early discussion document for a markup language called HTML + in late 1993 that detailed many features later recognizable in HTML 3.0. HTML + was designed to be:
"A superset of HTML and...allows a gradual rollover from the previous format (HTML)."About HTML 3.0
HTML + never became a reality. Instead, it evolved into HTML 3.0 - the intended successor to HTML 2.0. HTML 3.0 provided many additional capabilities over HTML 2.0 such as tables, text flow around figures and the display of complex math elements. Even though it was backwards compatible with HTML 2.0, the difference between HTML 2.0 and HTML 3.0 was so large that standardization and deployment of the whole proposal in browsers of the time proved unwieldy.
Why it is important
Even though the draft for 3.0 expired, it did have a profound effect on current practices in web browsers. Several of the more stable concepts of the proposal survived the experimental period and were either included in HTML 3.2 (Wilbur) or HTML 4.0. Many capabilities now commonly supported by most of the popular browsers also had their beginnings in HTML 3.0 such as Tables, text flow around images, page alignment for block structuring elements as well as other character level formatting elements. It is historically interesting also to note the progress that occurred between versions 2.0 and 3.0 in relation to the release periods and features of the major browsers.
Note: In these documents, several features which had their genesis during the HTML 3.0 creation effort (such as client side image maps and elements/attributes comprising complex tables) are not marked as being officially from HTML 3.0. In a recent decision, I decided to only indicate HTML 3.0 support only for those elements/attributes found in the last publicly available DTD for HTML 3.0 that was published. I will try to convey a more detailed history of such features where it seems appropriate.