|Formation||1 October 1994|
|Purpose||Developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.|
|Headquarters||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States|
|446 member organizations|
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. Founded in 1994 and currently led by Tim Berners-Lee, the consortium is made up of member organizations that maintain full-time staff working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. As of 21 October 2019 [update] , W3C had 443 members. W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee after he left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in October, 1994. It was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the European Commission, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which had pioneered the ARPANET, one of the predecessors to the 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 (INRIA) became the European host of W3C, with 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 wiki that seeks to document open web standards called the WebPlatform and WebPlatform Docs.
In January 2013, Beihang University became the Chinese host.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Consortium is jointly administered by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL, located in Stata Center) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics [ citation needed ](ERCIM) (in Sophia Antipolis, France), Keio University (in Japan) and Beihang University (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 as of 2015 [update] . 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. 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.[ citation needed ]
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) per capita.
In 2012 and 2013, the W3C started considering adding DRM-specific Encrypted Media Extensions (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. as of 2020 [update] , none of the widely used Content Decryption Modules used with EME is available for licensing without a per-browser licensing fee.On 18 September 2017, the W3C published the EME specification as a recommendation, leading to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's resignation from W3C. As feared by the opponents of EME,
W3C/IETF standards (over Internet protocol suite):
The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent interface that treats an XML or HTML document as a tree structure wherein each node is an object representing a part of the document. The DOM represents a document with a logical tree. Each branch of the tree ends in a node, and each node contains objects. DOM methods allow programmatic access to the tree; with them one can change the structure, style or content of a document. Nodes can have event handlers attached to them. Once an event is triggered, the event handlers get executed.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999.
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Berners-Lee proposed an information management system on 12 March 1989, then implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet in mid-November.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an effort to improve the accessibility of the World Wide Web for people with disabilities. People with disabilities may encounter difficulties when using computers generally, but also on the Web. Since people with disabilities often require non-standard devices and browsers, making websites more accessible also benefits a wide range of user agents and devices, including mobile devices, which have limited resources.
The Web Ontology Language (OWL) is a family of knowledge representation languages for authoring ontologies. Ontologies are a formal way to describe taxonomies and classification networks, essentially defining the structure of knowledge for various domains: the nouns representing classes of objects and the verbs representing relations between the objects.
The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) is a policy expression language that provides a flexible and interoperable information model, vocabulary, and encoding mechanisms for representing statements about the usage of content and services.
XML Base is a World Wide Web Consortium recommended facility for defining base URIs, for resolving relative URIs, in parts of XML documents.
RDFa or Resource Description Framework in Attributes is a W3C Recommendation that adds a set of attribute-level extensions to HTML, XHTML and various XML-based document types for embedding rich metadata within Web documents. The RDF data-model mapping enables its use for embedding RDF subject-predicate-object expressions within XHTML documents. It also enables the extraction of RDF model triples by compliant user agents.
The SVG Working Group is a working group created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to address the need for an alternative to the PostScript document format. The PostScript format was unable to create scalable fonts and objects without creating files which were inordinately larger than a file which used unscalable fonts and objects.
WAP Binary XML (WBXML) is a binary representation of XML. It was developed by the WAP Forum and since 2002 is maintained by the Open Mobile Alliance as a standard to allow XML documents to be transmitted in a compact manner over mobile networks and proposed as an addition to the World Wide Web Consortium's Wireless Application Protocol family of standards. The MIME media type application/vnd.wap.wbxml has been defined for documents that use WBXML.
The OpenReader Consortium is a nonprofit organization developing open digital publication standards. The project is in "cold storage" now, having been unable to successfully amass enough users for the formats it developed; they will continue their battle for open standards within the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).
XHTML Mobile Profile is a hypertextual computer language standard designed specifically for mobile phones and other resource-constrained devices.
HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. It is the fifth and last major HTML version that is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation. The current specification is known as the HTML Living Standard. It is maintained by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), a consortium of the major browser vendors.
Efficient XML Interchange (EXI) is a binary XML format for exchange of data on a computer network. It was developed by the W3C's Efficient Extensible Interchange Working Group and is one of the most prominent efforts to encode XML documents in a binary data format, rather than plain text. Using EXI format reduces the verbosity of XML documents as well as the cost of parsing. Improvements in the performance of writing (generating) content depends on the speed of the medium being written to, the methods and quality of actual implementations. EXI is useful for
The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) is a community of people interested in evolving HTML and related technologies. The WHATWG was founded by individuals from Apple Inc., the Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software, leading Web browser vendors, in 2004.
Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) is part of the family of XML markup languages. It mirrors or extends versions of the widely used HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the language in which Web pages are formulated.
EPUB is an e-book file format that uses the ".epub" file extension. The term is short for electronic publication and is sometimes styled ePub. EPUB is supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It became an official standard of the IDPF in September 2007, superseding the older Open eBook standard.
XHTML+RDFa is an extended version of the XHTML markup language for supporting RDF through a collection of attributes and processing rules in the form of well-formed XML documents. XHTML+RDFa is one of the techniques used to develop Semantic Web content by embedding rich semantic markup. Version 1.1 of the language is a superset of XHTML 1.1, integrating the attributes according to RDFa Core 1.1. In other words, it is an RDFa support through XHTML Modularization.
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 video to play back DRM-wrapped content such as streaming video services without the use of heavy third-party media plugins like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. The use of a third-party key management system may be required, depending on whether the publisher chooses to scramble the keys.