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World Wide Web Consortium

Web Design & Development Guide

World Wide Web Consortium

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Wide Wide Web Consortium
Type Consortium
Founded October 1994
Founder Tim Berners-Lee
Headquarters MIT/CSAIL in USA
ERCIM in France
Keio University in Japan
and many other offices around the world
Website www.w3.org -- History

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (W3). It is arranged as a consortium where member organizations maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the W3. As of March 2007, the W3C had 441 members. It is always open for new organizations to join.

W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.

The Consortium is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the primary author of the original URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) specifications, the principal technologies that form the basis of the World Wide Web.

History

In October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- which had pioneered the Internet -- and the European Commission.

The consortium was created to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards. Prior to its creation, incompatible versions of HTML were offered by different vendors, increasing the potential for inconsistency between web pages. The consortium was created to get all those vendors to agree on a set of core principles and components which would be supported by everyone.

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 Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA) became the European host of W3C, with Keio University becoming the Japanese branch in September 1996. Starting in 1997, W3C created regional offices around the world; as of May 2006 it has sixteen World Offices covering Australia, the Benelux countries (the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Belgium), Mainland China, Finland, Germany and Austria, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Korea, Morocco, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In January 2003, the European host was transferred from INRIA to the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), an organization that represents European national computer science laboratories.

Recommendations and certifications

In accord with the W3C Process Document, a Recommendation progresses through five maturity levels:

  1. Working Draft (WD)
  2. Last Call Working Draft
  3. Candidate Recommendation (CR)
  4. Proposed Recommendation (PR)
  5. W3C Recommendation (REC)

A Recommendation may be updated by separately published Errata until enough substantial edits accumulate, at which time a new edition of the Recommendation may be produced (e.g., XML is now in its fourth edition). W3C also publishes various kinds of informative Notes which are not intended to be treated as standards.

The Consortium leaves it up to manufacturers to follow the Recommendations. Many of its standards define levels of conformance, which the developers must follow if they wish to label their product W3C-compliant. Like any standards of other organizations, W3C recommendations are sometimes implemented partially. The Recommendations are under a royalty-free patent license, allowing anyone to implement them.

Unlike the ISOC and other international standards bodies, the W3C does not have a certification program. A certification program is a process which has benefits and drawbacks; 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 (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) (in Sophia Antipolis, France), and Keio University (in Japan). The W3C also has World Offices in fifteen regions around the world. The W3C Offices work with their regional Web communities to promote W3C technologies in local languages, broaden W3C's geographical base, and encourage international participation in W3C Activities.

Standards

W3C/IETF Standards (over Internet protocol suite):     

  • CSS
  • CGI
    DOM
    HTML
    RDF
    SVG
    SOAP
    SMIL
    SRGS
    SSML
    VoiceXML
               
  • WSDL
    XACML
    XHTML
    XML
    XML Events
    XForms
    XML Information Set
    XML Schema
    XPath
    XQuery
    XSLT

See also

External links


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