Evolution of the Web: Background

Editor's draft of 24 December 2011; see Overview for copyright, caveats, etc.

How did we get here? Where did this document come from?

Over many years, the W3C and the W3C TAG have discussed a variety of issues relating to the evolution of Web standards. An early work plan for web evolution and the design requirements can be found in:

For many years, the TAG has worked in the area of extensibility and evolution, and has produced a number of findings related to the topic:

In addition, it has created (and abandoned) a number draft findings,not currently part of the majorTAG products:

as well as some documents in uncertain status:

While these issues are still in the TAG priorities:

The TAG manages work assignments through. This document is also written to satisfy these actions:

The current W3C list of "products" -- major tasks the TAG is undertaking -- only has one product related to the overall perspective::

Although some of the other products are tangentially related.


During the December 8, 2011 teleconference, the TAG resolved:

RESOLUTION: The TAG, with Larry in the lead, will prepare a document (based on http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2011Dec/att-0037/draft-registries.txt), likely a finding, discussing architecture for extensibility points in specifications, including but not necessarily limited to registries. This will augment the soon-to-be published (short) work on MIME architecture.

However, many of the perspectives in Evolvability -- written as a reaction to the HTML cycle -- were rejected. Rather, the HTML cycle has been retained, but in a modified form.

The principles outlined -- use of namespaces, use of URIs to denote namespaces, "follow your nose" and other principles -- need to be reexamined in terms of this course correction.

This document is an approach to provide a perspective for bridging between the evolution of HTML and other components of the web space, and to rationalize the divergent perspectives ("irreconcillable differences").