W3C Opens Up Web Standards Development Process

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The World Wide Web Consortium has announced measures for developer participation in Web standardisation

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced a new agile track for developers and businesses to create Web technology within its international community of experts.

The move is an effort to support the rapid evolution of Web technology, W3C officials said, because innovation can come from organisations as well as individuals, W3C has designed W3C Community Groups to promote diverse participation: Anyone may propose a group, and groups start quickly as soon as there is a small measure of peer support.

Community Benefits

There are no fees to participate and active groups may work indefinitely. Lightweight participation policies let groups decide most aspects of how they work. The larger community benefits from specifications available under royalty-free patent terms and permissive copyright.

“Innovation and standardisation build on each other,” said Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO, in a statement. “The stable Web platform provided by W3C has always encouraged innovation. As the pace of innovation accelerates and more industries embrace W3C’s Open Web Platform, Community Groups will accelerate incorporation of innovative technologies into the Web.”

With the launch of Community Groups, W3C now offers a smooth path from innovation to open standardisation to recognition as an ISO/IEC International Standard. W3C’s goals differ at each of these complementary stages, but they all contribute to the organisation’s mission of developing interoperable standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.

The W3C, like many standards bodies, has had a reputation for slogging through specifications and taking a long time to get certain ones approved. In the Web era, this is not possible, observers say.

Meanwhile, the W3C announced the launch of Business Groups, which provide W3C members and non-members a vendor-neutral forum for the development of market-specific technologies and the means to have an impact on the direction of Web standards. W3C staff work with Business Groups to help them achieve their goals and to provide connectivity among groups with shared interests. For instance, a Business Group might compile industry-specific requirements or use cases as input to a W3C Working Group.

“W3C is now open for crowd-sourcing the development of Web technology,” said Harry Halpin, W3C’s community development lead, in a statement. “Through these groups, people can reach influential companies, research groups, and government agencies. Developers can propose ideas to the extensive W3C social network, and in a matter of minutes start to build mindshare using W3C’s collaborative tools or their own. Creating a Community or Business Group does not mean giving up an existing identity; it means having an easier time promoting community-driven work for future standardisation.”

The first groups to launch reflect a varied set of interests. W3C announced eight Community Groups:

and one Business Group:

Oil, Gas and Chemicals

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