Bruce Lawson's personal site

Meet NEWT: New Exciting Web Technologies

As professionals, we need to keep our jargon accurate. That’s why I hate hearing “HTML5” used as an umbrella term for any web technology, especially when people confuse HTML5 (mark-up and APIs) with CSS 3 (eye-candy). Repeat after me: HTML5 != CSS 3.

So we need a buzzword, as “HTML5 and related technologies” is unwieldy (and inaccurate). I prefer “NEWT” which stands for New Exciting Web Technologies and can thus safely encompass real-HTML5, CSS 3, SVG, XHR2, Geolocation, Web Sockets, WOFF, Web DB, IndexedDB, WebGL and the like.

Because new acronyms need a logo, the talented and generous Rob Winters made a cute newt.

various sizes of cute newt on Flickr

(Other sizes, Transparent-background version.)

Please, use the logo and term in your presentations, and wave goodbye to misery of I.B.E. (Inaccurate Buzzword Embarrassment)!

(Be nice if you attributed Rob, and even me, but no compulsion.)

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52 Responses to “ Meet NEWT: New Exciting Web Technologies ”

Comment by Paul Brunt

woohoo, a new word for the next generation…Much better then it’s predecessor (AJAX) and it’s got a logo..which is so cool 🙂

PS yes I did get this excited when I first heard the term ajax 😉

Comment by Daniel A, Tiecher

Yet another buzzword I get to learn. I’m starting to have a big collection of these nowadays. =)

I guess from now on is NEWT FTW, then!

The logo is not that great, though…

Comment by Stomme poes

oh noes

yet another fancy acronym with a cute logo I have to keep track of

How is CSS3 a related technology? Other than they both come with a shiny Mattel-style pink BETA star with a gradient and dropshadow attached? : )

Comment by Kevin Sweeney

It’s too late for this stuff and you’re only adding to the confusion now. Should we change AJAX as well now that it includes JSON and HTML?

In the end, developers will know what this means, and everyone else will just be impressed by the buzzword. Unless you can supply quantifiable evidence that this is hurting our industry, I say let bygones be byg0n3s and just carry on.

Comment by Michael Kozakewich

I’m usually hesitant to use strange-sounding buzzwords (AJAX isn’t as bad, because it’s just someone’s name), but the logo is cute. So I might mention NEWT to some students, sometime.

However, I can imagine some people talking about “NEWT Technologies,” which would be annoying.

Comment by James Pearce

Howabout the ‘Hickson Stack’? Or ‘HXON’ for short.

(Backronym required… “HTML5? eXcellent… ONwards!” or something)

As an aside, I find it interesting that HTML5 (the markup) is mostly about strengthening the concepts of a ‘document’, whereas HTML5 (all the other stuff) is much about enabling ‘apps’. Maybe that’s another way to taxonomize it.

Comment by Terry Morgan

Love the newt logo – very cute. Unfortunately I suspect it’s too little, too late. I doubt HTML5 as a term is going to go away regardless of (in)accuracy.

The goatse-pancake-bunny is hypnotic BTW.

Comment by Daniel

If Tim O’Reilly ends up publishing a book about it, part of me will hope that it will have a picture of an Indonesian Kerbau, or something, on the cover.

Comment by Danny Moules

“It’s not finished” annoys me the most. Perhaps we should stop using the English language because it’s “not finished yet” and move to French, as that was apparently finished in 1799.

The English language isn’t going to change under me in a way everything (or everyone) I interact with can’t conciliate sometime within the next year or two. A draft specification of a markup language might well do that. Indeed, that’s precisely why they’re drafts: because they are expected to do that.

Parsers don’t interpret dialects or ask ‘what does that mean?’ when they are introduced to a term they don’t expect. They fail in horrible and unpredictable ways for years ahead and spawn ‘strict’ and ‘quirk’ sub-specifications, security flaws and huge man hours of time writing hacks to ensure broad compatibility. We all know this is what happens when someone writes for one spec and then that spec changes. It causes issues.

PS. Cute pic!

Comment by Danny Moules


“The real test of quality is the DOM that the browser constructs from the code, and when browsers have HTML5 parsers, they’ll construct identical DOMs even from invalid code, which is a fantastic win for the interoperable Web.”

That’s great for browsers, but I suspect not every HTML5 consumer is going to be able to utilise a huge HTML5 parser. There are tons of embedded devices and light-weight stand-aline scripts that access HTML4 applications using very stripped down parsers for various reasons that aren’t browser-related. I think it’s a huge loss for the interoperable web. Great for Opera, but not for something that just wants to quickly parse out some meta tags, for example. It’s ‘interoperability’ for a subset of agents, which isn’t interoperability at all.

Comment by Danny Moules

The Robustness Principle = “Be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept.”

Corollary: “Be liberal in what you send; be conservative in what you accept.” = The Anti-Robustness Principle?

By expecting a fully fledged parser to accept the document and allowing the document author liberal freedom with what they send to the user-agent, you’re proposing the latter.

Comment by Code Retard: Anything Geeky Goes

[…] Using “HTML5″ to represent technologies well beyond the standard itself doesn’t sit well with some developers who see a useful role in more precise terms. Bruce Lawson, an employee of browser maker Opera and co-author of a book on HTML5, has proposed the acronym NEWT–new exciting Web technologies […]

Comment by Latest Internet News « LatestIT

[…] Using “HTML 5″ to represent technologies well beyond the standard itself doesn’t sit well with some developers who see a useful role in more precise terms. Bruce Lawson, an employee of browser maker Opera and co-author of a book on HTML 5, has proposed the acronym NEWT–new exciting Web technologies […]

Comment by People of HTML5 – John Foliot ✩ Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

[…] I understand and accept however that in terms of marketing and mass communication, having a term that describes the idea of the current larger eco-structure is by necessity going to be abstract. The conversation around naming has gone on for some time now, and I suspect that most developers remotely interested already know that the stack of Open Web Technologies we are using needs a name (my buddy Bruce Lawson dubbed it NEWT). […]

Comment by Evan Bowling

NEWT? that just doesn’t work. Using “New Exciting” is like using “High Definition”

Comment by Chris Meunier

Hi Bruce
Loved the cute newt and interested by the chat here about new technologies and the misuse of acronyms.

I want to use the cute newt on a local school-church community magazine (free give-away) we are starting. We chose the name NEWT because we wanted something different and the area is called Newtown. But finding your acronym idea adds another dimension of what we’re trying to do – open ourselves to the present and future world. So I’m very happy to attribute the source.

You said about Creative Commons it’s polite to ask, so I’d be grateful if you could confirm you are happy for this use.

I’m sure the primary school kids will love it. Perhaps it will make some of them think about web technologies as a career??

Thanks, Chris

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