Device Independence

Access to a Unified Web from Any Device in Any Context by Anyone

This Activity has now closed, and this page will not be updated any further. The work items have been transferred to the Ubiquitous Web Applications Actvity.

What is Device Independence? | Working Group | Publications | Mailing List | Dependencies | WG Charter | Activity Statement | How to Join | Past News | CC/PP Archive

What's New?


30 March 2007
DIWG closes and its work items are transferred to the new Ubiquitous Web Applications WG.
8 December 2006
DIWG publishes the first draft of Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP): Structure and Vocabularies 2.0 (CC/PP 2.0). Comments are welcome through the DIWG mailing list.
19 October 2006
DDWG publises Candidate Recommendation for Delivery Context Interfaces
10 October 2006
DIWG publishes the first draft of DIAL Primer, and a new version of DISelect, which now comes in 3 parts: Content Selection for Device Independence (in Last Call), Content Selection Primer and Delivery Context: XPath Access Functions (Last Call). Comments are welcome on the www-di list.
16 May 2006
DIWG publishes the Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL) Working Draft. Read the press release.
20 March 2006
DIWG updates the Delivery Context Overview for Device Independence Working Group Note.
11 November 2005
DIWG publish Delivery Context: Interfaces (DCI) Accessing Static and Dynamic Properties Last Call Working Draft
2 May 2005
DIWG publish Content Selection for Device Independence 1.0 last call working draft
28 April 2005
DIWG publish an updated roadmap and milestones for its deliverables
21 April 2005
DIWG publish a statement on Device Independence, Accessibility and Multimodal Interaction

Past news ...

Our Publications


Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP): Structure and Vocabularies 1.0
A CC/PP profile is a description of device capabilities and user preferences. This document describes the structure of a CC/PP profile and shows how vocabularies for these capabilities are used. The CC/PP Test Suite and Implementation report are also available

Last Call Working Drafts

Content Selection for Device Independence (DISelect) 1.0
This document defines a markup for selecting between versions of content.
Delivery Context: Interfaces (DCI) (formerly: Dynamic Properties Framework (DPF))
This document defines platform and language neutral interfaces that provide Web applications with access to a hierarchy of dynamic properties representing device capabilities, configurations, user preferences and environmental conditions.


Glossary of Terms for Device Independence
This document provides a glossary of terms used in discussions of device independence.


Authoring Techniques for Device Independence
This note provides a summary of several techniques and best practices that Web site authors and solution providers may employ when creating and delivering content to a diverse set of access mechanisms.
Device Independence Principles
This note discusses the general principles associated with device independence.
Authoring Challenges for Device Independence
This note discusses the challenges associated with authoring materials that can be accessed by a wide range of device with very different capabilities. It includes a set of high level requirements for systems that support device independence.

Working Drafts

Core Presentation Characteristics: Requirements and Use Cases
This working draft describes the requirements for core presentation characteristics and covers a number of use cases.
Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL)
This working draft describes a markup language for the filtering and presentation of Web page content available across different delivery contexts
Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP): Structure and Vocabularies 2.0 (CC/PP 2.0)
This working draft updates the CC/PP 1.0 Recommendation by making it in line with the latest revision of RDF, and ensures its interoperability with OMA's UAProf2.

What is Device Independence?

A few years ago, virtually the only way to access the Web was through a personal computer or workstation. True, there were variations between the facilities offered by various browsers, some being capable of use on text-based terminals. However, almost invariably, Web access, for individuals without specific accessibility needs, involved using a machine with a reasonably large, color display with full graphic capabilities. While this is still primarily true, since the middle of 2000, the number of different kinds of device that can access the Web has grown from a small number with essentially the same core capabilities to many hundreds with a wide variety of different capabilities. At the time of writing, mobile phones, smart phones, personal digital assistants, interactive television systems, voice response systems, kiosks and even certain domestic appliances can all access the Web.

The range of capabilities for input and output and the range of markup languages and networks supported greatly complicate the task of authoring web sites and applications that can be accessed by users whatever device they choose to use. Device Independence encompasses the techniques required to make such support an affordable reality. In particular the activity focuses on

Without this initiative, there is an increasing danger that parts of the Web will become unavailable to users unless they employ a particular type of device.

For more information see the Introduction to Device Independence.

For more information on relationship between DI, Multimodal Interaction and WAI see the article on Device Independence, Accessibility and Multimodal Interaction

Key Goals of Device Independence

The mission of the Device Independence Activity is to avoid fragmentation of the Web into spaces that are accessible only from subsets of devices. In particular the Device Independence Working Group will

Device Independence Public Mailing List

The Device Independence activity has a public mailing list at In addition, an archive of the list is available.

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

To subscribe to this list, Send an email to with the word subscribe in the email subject header. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the word unsubscribe in the email subject header. For additional help, consult the W3C's public email list pages.

Using the List

Once you have subscribed, you can post comments about device independence or about any of our documents to this list.

Let us know what you think.

Other Lists

Mobile Access to the Web

There is is an archived public mailing list for technical discussion about mobile access at Although the Mobile Access Interest Group has now closed, this mailing list continues to be available as a discussion forum.

TV and the Web - Archive Only

There is an archive of the public mailing list that used to be used for technical discussion about TV and the Web at This mailing list was used by the TV & the Web Interest Group. The group and the mailing list is now closed. The archive remains available for reference.

Device Independence Working Group

The Device Independence Working Group (member only link) is open to W3C members and invited experts. The working group meets weekly by phone. Face to face meetings are held three to four times per year.

Joining the Device Independence Working Group

If your organization is already a member of W3C, ask your W3C Advisory Committee Representative to email the Working Group chair and staff contact to confirm that your organization is prepared to commit the time and expense involved in participating in the group. You will be expected to attend all Working Group meetings and to respond in a timely fashion to email requests.

Further details about joining DIWG are available on the Working Group (member only link) page.

More information about the W3C is available as is information about joining W3C.

Current Working Group Participants (member only link)

Relationships with Other Work

The Mobile Web Initiative
The DI Activity has a close relationship with the MWI. While the MWI is focused on outreach programs to promote the Mobile Web, the DI Working Group designs core technologies for enabling Web access on any enabled device, including mobile. The MWI uncovers requirements in the specific area of mobile devices, which the DIWG integrates in the design of its specifications.
Any proposals for new markup associated with device independence must be compatible with XHTML 2
Any proposals for new markup associated with device independence must be compatible with XForms
Multimodal Interaction
Proposals associated with delivery context must take into account the needs or multimodal interaction.
Hypertext Coordination Group (member only link)
The Hypertext Coordination Group has the responsibility for ensuring that reviews between Working Groups are planned and carried out so as to meet requirements for deliverables and deadlines. The Hypertext Coordination Group includes representatives for the XML Coordination Group and for the Web Accessibility Initiative, as well as the Working Groups in the Document Formats Domain and Interaction Domain.
Web Accessibility Initiative
The Device Independence Working Group cooperates with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to ensure that enhancements associated with Device Independence meet W3C accessibility goals. DIWG also works with WAI to help ensure that, where appropriate, new mechanisms introduced for device independence can also be used to support accessibility.
CC/PP Working Group
In March 2003 the CC/PP working group closed. Work on CC/PP was taken over by the Device Independence Working Group. The work of the CC/PP Working Group is available.

Dave Raggett, W3C Activity Lead for DIWG; Stéphane Boyera, W3C Team Contact for DIWG
Rhys Lewis, Chair DIWG

Level A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Valid XHTML 1.0! Last revised by $Author: dsr $ on $Date: 2007/03/30 18:45:55 $