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In 1980 Tim Berners-Lee proposed a system that would allow CERN researchers to share documents. In 1989 then suggested an Internet based hypertext system, specifically HTML. In 1990 he wrote the browser and server software that was required. In 1991 he wrote a document that described 18 different elements. In 1993 the first proposal for a HTML specification was published. A HTML working group completed the first HTML specification, which all future implementations should be based. HTML 4.01 was published in 1999. In 2004 work began on HTML 5.

Further development under the auspices of the IETF was stalled by competing interests. Since 1996, the HTML specifications have been maintained, with input from commercial software vendors, by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).[13] However, in 2000, HTML also became an international standard (ISO/IEC 15445:2000). HTML 4.01 was published in late 1999, with further errata published through 2001. In 2004, development began on HTML5 in the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), which became a joint deliverable with the W3C in 2008, and completed and standardized on 28 October 2014.

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