HOME

TheInfoList




The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international
standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpr ...
for the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational ...
. Founded in 1994 and currently led by
Tim Berners-Lee Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system ...

Tim Berners-Lee
, the
consortium A consortium (plural: consortia) is an association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization founded and funded by businesses tha ...

consortium
is made up of member organizations that maintain full-time staff working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. , W3C had 455 members. W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.


History

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded in 1994 by
Tim Berners-Lee Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system ...

Tim Berners-Lee
after he left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
) in October, 1994. It was founded at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
Laboratory for Computer Science MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research. Research institutes may specialize in basic r ...
(MIT/LCS) with support from the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
, the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of in ...
(DARPA), which had pioneered the
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies ...
, one of the predecessors to the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. It was located in Technology Square until 2004, when it moved, with CSAIL, to the Stata Center. The organization tries to foster compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards defined by the W3C. Incompatible versions of HTML are offered by different vendors, causing inconsistency in how web pages are displayed. The consortium tries to get all those vendors to implement a set of core principles and components that are chosen by the consortium. It was originally intended that CERN host the European branch of W3C; however, CERN wished to focus on particle physics, not information technology. In April 1995, the
French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation The National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria) () is a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (fre ...
(INRIA) became the European host of W3C, with
Keio University , mottoeng = The pen is mightier than the sword 200px, An illustration of Cardinal Richelieu holding a sword, by H. A. Ogden, 1892, from ''The Works of Edward Bulwer Lytton'' "The pen is mightier than the sword" is a metonymic adage An ada ...

Keio University
Research Institute at SFC (KRIS) becoming the Asian host in September 1996. Starting in 1997, W3C created regional offices around the world. As of September 2009, it had eighteen World Offices covering Australia, the Benelux countries (Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium), Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and, as of 2016, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In October 2012, W3C convened a community of major web players and publishers to establish a
MediaWiki MediaWiki is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the softwa ...

MediaWiki
wiki that seeks to document open web standards called the
WebPlatform WebPlatform.org (or WebPlatform) was a community-edited documentation Documentation is any communicable material that is used to describe, explain or instruct regarding some attributes of an object, system or procedure, such as its parts, assem ...
and WebPlatform Docs. In January 2013,
Beihang University Beihang University ( zh, t=北航大學, s=北航大学, p=Běiháng Dàxué), previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (), abbreviated as ''BUAA'' or ''Beihang'' ( zh, c=北航, p=Běiháng), is a major public resea ...
became the Chinese host.


Specification maturation

Sometimes, when a specification becomes too large, it is split into independent modules that can mature at their own pace. Subsequent editions of a module or specification are known as levels and are denoted by the first integer in the title (e.g. CSS3 = Level 3). Subsequent revisions on each level are denoted by an integer following a decimal point (for example, CSS2.1 = Revision 1). The W3C standard formation process is defined within the W3C process document, outlining four maturity levels through which each new standard or recommendation must progress.


Working draft (WD)

After enough content has been gathered from 'editor drafts' and discussion, it may be published as a working draft (WD) for review by the community. A WD document is the first form of a standard that is publicly available. Commentary by virtually anyone is accepted, though no promises are made with regard to action on any particular element commented upon. At this stage, the standard document may have significant differences from its final form. As such, anyone who implements WD standards should be ready to significantly modify their implementations as the standard matures.


Candidate recommendation (CR)

A candidate recommendation is a version of a standard that is more mature than the WD. At this point, the group responsible for the standard is satisfied that the standard meets its goal. The purpose of the CR is to elicit aid from the development community as to how implementable the standard is. The standard document may change further, but at this point, significant features are mostly decided. The design of those features can still change due to feedback from implementors.


Proposed recommendation (PR)

A proposed recommendation is the version of a standard that has passed the prior two levels. The users of the standard provide input. At this stage, the document is submitted to the W3C Advisory Council for final approval. While this step is important, it rarely causes any significant changes to a standard as it passes to the next phase.


W3C recommendation (REC)

This is the most mature stage of development. At this point, the standard has undergone extensive review and testing, under both theoretical and practical conditions. The standard is now endorsed by the W3C, indicating its readiness for deployment to the public, and encouraging more widespread support among implementors and authors. Recommendations can sometimes be implemented incorrectly, partially, or not at all, but many standards define two or more levels of conformance that developers must follow if they wish to label their product as W3C-compliant.


Later revisions

A recommendation may be updated or extended by separately-published, non-technical errata or editor drafts until sufficient substantial edits accumulate for producing a new edition or level of the recommendation. Additionally, the W3C publishes various kinds of informative notes which are to be used as references.


Certification

Unlike the ISOC and other international standards bodies, the W3C does not have a certification program. The W3C has decided, for now, that it is not suitable to start such a program, owing to the risk of creating more drawbacks for the community than benefits.


Administration

The Consortium is jointly administered by the
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is a at the (MIT) formed by the 2003 merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab). Housed within the , CSAIL is the ...
(CSAIL, located in
Stata Center The Ray and Maria Stata Center or Building 32 is a 720,000-square-foot (67,000 m2) academic complex designed by Pritzker Prize The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually "to honor a living architect An architect is a person wh ...
) in the United States, the (ERCIM) (in
Sophia Antipolis (wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for ...

Sophia Antipolis
, France),
Keio University , mottoeng = The pen is mightier than the sword 200px, An illustration of Cardinal Richelieu holding a sword, by H. A. Ogden, 1892, from ''The Works of Edward Bulwer Lytton'' "The pen is mightier than the sword" is a metonymic adage An ada ...

Keio University
(in Japan) and
Beihang University Beihang University ( zh, t=北航大學, s=北航大学, p=Běiháng Dàxué), previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (), abbreviated as ''BUAA'' or ''Beihang'' ( zh, c=北航, p=Běiháng), is a major public resea ...
(in China). The W3C also has World Offices in eighteen regions around the world. The W3C Offices work with their regional web communities to promote W3C technologies in local languages, broaden the W3C's geographical base and encourage international participation in W3C Activities. The W3C has a staff team of 70–80 worldwide . W3C is run by a management team which allocates resources and designs strategy, led by CEO Jeffrey Jaffe (as of March 2010), former CTO of
Novell Novell, Inc. was an American software and services company headquartered in Provo, Utah Provo is the third-largest city in Utah, United States. It is south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the largest city and county se ...

Novell
. It also includes an advisory board which supports in strategy and legal matters and helps resolve conflicts. The majority of standardization work is done by external experts in the W3C's various working groups.


Membership

The Consortium is governed by its membership. The list of members is available to the public. Members include businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, governmental entities, and individuals. Membership requirements are transparent except for one requirement: An application for membership must be reviewed and approved by the W3C. Many guidelines and requirements are stated in detail, but there is no final guideline about the process or standards by which membership might be finally approved or denied. The cost of membership is given on a sliding scale, depending on the character of the organization applying and the country in which it is located. Countries are categorized by the World Bank's most recent grouping by GNI (
gross national income The gross national income (GNI), previously known as gross national product (GNP), is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a mone ...
) per capita.


Criticism

In 2012 and 2013, the W3C started considering adding DRM-specific
Encrypted Media Extensions Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) is a W3C specification for providing a communication channel between web browsers and the Content Decryption Module (CDM) software which implements digital rights management (DRM). This allows the use of HTML5 vide ...
(EME) to HTML5, which was criticised as being against the openness, interoperability, and vendor neutrality that distinguished websites built using only W3C standards from those requiring proprietary plug-ins like Flash. On 18 September 2017, the W3C published the EME specification as a recommendation, leading to the
Electronic Frontier Foundation The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit group based in . The foundation was formed on 10 July 1990 by , and to promote . The EFF provides funds for legal defense in court, presents ' briefs, defends individual ...
's resignation from W3C. As feared by the opponents of EME, , none of the widely used Content Decryption Modules used with EME is available for licensing without a per-browser licensing fee.


Standards

W3C/
IETF The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary functi ...
standards (over
Internet protocol suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of s used in the and similar s. The current foundational protocols in the suite are the (TCP) and the (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Departm ...
):


References


External links


About the World Wide Web Consortium

W3C Technical Reports and Publications

W3C Process Document

W3C History

How to read W3C specs
{{Authority control 1994 establishments in the United States Internet Standard organizations Organizations established in 1994 Organizations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts Standards organizations in the United States Technology consortia Web development Web services Tim Berners-Lee