World Wide Web Consortium

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World Wide Web Consortium
File:W3C Icon.svg
Abbreviation W3C
Motto Leading the Web to Its Full Potential...
Formation October 1994
Type Standards organization
Purpose/focus Developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.
Location MIT/CSAIL in USA, ERCIM in France, Keio University in Japan and many other offices around the world
Region served Worldwide
Membership 317 member organizations[1]
Director Tim Berners-Lee
Staff 62
Website w3.org
For criticism see Criticism of World_Wide_Web_Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or W3).

Founded and headed by Tim Berners-Lee,[2] the consortium is made up of member organizations which maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. As of 10 July 2011, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has 317 members.[1]

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 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 and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which had pioneered the Internet.

W3C 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 September 2009, it has 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 the United Kingdom and Ireland.[3]

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:[4]

  1. Working Draft
  2. Last Call Working Draft
  3. Call for implementation
  4. Call for Review of a Proposed Recommendation
  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 fifth edition). W3C also publishes various kinds of informative Notes which are not intended to be treated as standards.

W3C 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, located in Stata Center[5]) 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 sixteen 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.

W3C has a relatively small staff team, around 50-60 worldwide recently (as of 2010).[6] The CEO of W3C as of Dec. 2010 is Jeffrey Jaffe,[7] former CTO of Novell. The majority of standardization work is done by external experts in W3C's various working groups.

Membership

The domain w3.org attracted at least 11 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.[8]

The Consortium is governed by its membership, which in August 2009 comprised 322 organizations. The list of members is available to the public.[1] Members include businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, governmental entities, and individuals.[9]

Membership requirements are transparent except for one requirement. An application for membership must be reviewed and approved by 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.[10]

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.[11] Countries are categorized by the World Bank's most recent grouping by GNI ("Gross National Income") per capita.[12]

Standards

W3C/IETF Standards (over Internet protocol suite):

References

External links

Template:W3C Standards

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at World Wide Web Consortium.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

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