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One of the main accomplishments at W3C is to write specifications and create standards out of them. While the Working Groups at large are responsible for building consensus on the technical decisions, the editors have the heavy responsibility of transforming these decisions into actual specifications.

This page tries to gather resources that can help editors do their job: documentation, tools, tutorials, etc. If you know other resources that would benefit editors by being listed here, please inform the W3C Communication Team at

Where to start?

If you are a newly appointed editor in your Working Group, here is some advice that should be useful to get you started.

Guidelines on W3C specifications editing

W3C has developed a set of resources giving advices and guidelines on editing W3C specifications in varous domains:

Bert Bos's essay on W3C's design principles and Tim Berners-Lee's essentials of a specification may also be a useful reading.

During the internal development of a specification, make sure to distinguish official drafts from internal ones using the style for Group-internal Drafts.


W3C editors have developed several types of HTML and XML based grammars to make it easier to develop and maintain their specifications. We try to maintain a list of these grammars; XMLSpec is the most-often used incarnation of these grammars – Karl <> plans to work on setting up a documentation for it, but you can see what e.g. Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Core looks like in XMLSpec and read a few introductory materials: Richard Ishida's guide, the DI Working Group introduction to it (Member-only), Why Use XMLSpec? (Member-only).

Some raw results of a survey [Member-only] done among editors at the end of 2002 can help you in your choices.

Authoring tools


Here are tools that can prove to be useful when developing your specification.

Most of these tools can be quickly accessed using the so called ,tools interface: appending ,keyword to a URI triggers a certain tool on this URI; for instance, appending ,validate to this page's URI will send it to the HTML validator.

Central JavaScript repository

Specifications should, of course, be device-independent. But, with care, you can still include certain kinds of scripts. If the script you want is in W3C's repository of common JavaScript libraries, you're recommended to link to that repository, rather than make a copy of the script. (Note that, together with the common style sheets, these scripts are the only resources that may be outside the specification's own directory.)

There is no documentation for now (except for MathJax).

Dominique Hazaël-Massieux for the Communication Team - Send comments and suggestions to