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World Wide Web Consortium and Wireless Application Protocol Forum Establish Formal Liaison Relationship

Industry Bodies Work Together to Create Future Mobile-Friendly Web Specifications

W3C Contacts --
North America: Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884
Europe: Josef Dietl, <jdietl@w3.org>, +33.4.92.38.79.72
Asia: Yuko Watanabe, <yuko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170
WAP Forum Contacts --
Luisa Handem; WAP Forum Office <Luisahandem@msn.com>, +1.972.506.9687
David Nieland, Group Manager <dnieland@bsmg.com>, +1.972.830.2663

(also available in Japanese)


http://www.w3.org/ -- 8 December 1999 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum (www.wapforum.org) today announced a formal liaison relationship to define next-generation Web specifications that support the full participation of wireless devices on the World Wide Web. The WAP Forum and W3C are working together to develop a common process of producing next-generation, XML-based Web specifications, define testing and implementation processes, and promote these specifications to the industry at large.

W3C develops open, interoperable specifications that reinforce and extend the scalability, robustness and capability of the Web as a universal communications medium. WAP is the de-facto global standard for providing Internet communications and advanced telephony services on digital mobile phones, pagers, personal digital assistants and other wireless terminals. By working together, the WAP Forum and the W3C will enable wireless devices to participate as full peers in the universal information space of the Web, largely through the incorporation of WAP's Wireless Markup Language (WML) features into the W3C's XHTML, the next generation markup language for the Web.

Coordination between the two bodies began this week in Sydney, Australia, in conjunction with the WAP Forum's members meeting. The WAP/W3C coordination committee will meet on a regular basis to maintain consistency between the specifications of the WAP Forum and the W3C, to promote common specifications wherever possible, and to enable cooperation between the working groups in both organizations. Work items include the joint work on XHTML; compatibility with SMIL, the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language; ensuring user control over privacy information, and CC/PP, a universal device profiling protocol based on W3C's RDF Metadata technology. The two organizations are also conducting a joint workshop in position-dependent information services, to be held in February 2000 in Sophia-Antipolis, France.

Together, WAP Forum and W3C will face the technical challenge of mobile access to information on the Web. The two organizations will coordinate on the future development of XML applications; and in content adaptation through the use of vector graphics and style sheets. Instead of developing diverging sets of solutions, it is the intent of both organizations to find common solutions that will address mobile requirements.

"The W3C regards the Web as a universal space, and device-independence is a critical piece. Recognizing the needs of digital cellular phones and other portable devices, and incorporating those considerations into the development of Web specifications is critical for the Web's success," says Tim Berners-Lee, Director of W3C. "Our liaison relationship with the WAP Forum will work towards the seamless integration of mobile devices and the Web."

"Our liaison relationship with the W3C represents the key to WAP's convergence with the Internet of the future," says Greg Williams, board chairman of the WAP Forum. "While the WAP Forum and the W3C have different organizational goals, we share goals for the future of the global information space, and we want to avoid unnecessary divergence between the standards of the two organizations."


About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, reference code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 370 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

About the WAP Forum

The WAP Forum is an industry association that has developed the de-facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. Handset manufacturers representing 95 percent of the world market across all technologies have committed to shipping WAP-enabled devices. Carriers representing more than 100 million subscribers worldwide have joined WAP. These commitments will put 10's of millions of WAP-browser-enabled products in consumer hands by the end of 2000. WAP Forum membership is open to all industry participants. For further details on the Forum and its members, please visit the Forum's Web site at www.wapforum.org. The Web site also includes a downloadable version of WAP V1.1.