The mission of the W3C Web Application Formats Working Group is to develop specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web. This includes the development of languages for applications, especially user interfaces.
The target platforms for this Working Group includes desktop and mobile browsers as well as many specialty, browser-like environments that use Web client technologies. The goal is to promote universal access both for users and devices, including those with special needs.
Additionally, the Working Group has the goal to improve client-side application development through education, outreach and interoperability testing.
With the ubiquity of Web browsers and Web document formats across a range of platforms and devices, many developers are using the Web as an application environment. Examples of applications built on rich Web clients include reservation systems, online shopping or auction sites, games, multimedia applications, calendars, maps, chat applications, weather displays, clocks, interactive design applications, stock tickers, currency converters and data entry/display systems.
Web client applications typically have some form of programmatic control. They may run within the browser or within another host application. A Web client application is typically downloaded on demand each time it is "executed", allowing a developer to update the application for all users as needed. Such applications are usually smaller than regular desktop applications in terms of code size and functionality, and may have interactive rich graphical interfaces.
The scope of the Web Application Formats Working Group covers the technologies related to developing client-side applications on the Web. In particular formats (or languages) for application development, such as a declarative user interface language (eg. XUL) and a binding language (XBL2).
This Working Group should adopt, refine and possibly extend existing practices where possible.
Furthermore, the Working Group deliverables must have a strong emphasis on accessibility, internationalization and security.
Education, outreach and testing also play an important role in improving the current state of Web applications. The Working Group should aim to provide the community with resources that meet the educational requirements stated in the mission above.
The Working Group is chartered until 15 November 2007.
The Working Group is expected to meet face to face approximately 4 times a year and to have a 60-90 minute teleconference every week.
The following is a list of deliverables that are under consideration for each task force. In some cases the item is specifying existing behavior of Web clients. In other cases the item is extending existing behavior in order to meet additional requirements. There are also some items that are specifying new technologies.
The deliverables are listed in order of suggested priority. The Working Group may choose a different priority at any time.
This deliverable should be based on an existing application/UI format, such as Mozilla's XUL, Microsoft's XAML, Macromedia's MXML or Laszlo Systems' LZX, provided the owners of the format are willing to contribute. The format should allow embedded program code. This format, combined with the deliverables below and existing technologies including XHTML, CSS, XForms, SVG and SMIL, should provide a strong basis for rich client application development.
Tentative milestones: First draft of requirements during October. First draft of specification during November. Candidate Recommendation 4th quarter of 2006.
XBL2 is an extension to the sXBL specification developed jointly by the SVG and CSS Working Groups. XBL is a declarative language that provides a binding between custom markup and existing technologies. This enables an extensible framework for custom controls and the MVC (model, view, controller) methodology.
Tentative milestones: First draft of requirements during January 2006. First draft of specification during February 2006. Candidate Recommendation 1st quarter of 2007.
Other, non-prioritized, deliverables include:
This may include a list of technologies to support in order to provide a standard interoperable Web application development platform.
Following the W3C process for specifications.
This may take the form of a weblog or W3C Notes with suggestions and guidelines for developing accessible Web applications.
Given that the rich Web client area is in a phase of rapid development, the Working Group may become aware of the urgent need for standardization of a technology not explicitly listed in this charter, but still in the scope of the Working Group.
Given the broad scope of this Working Group, with deliverables related to many W3C Activities, it will require close coordination with most Working Groups in the W3C Interaction Domain. This would include Web APIs, HTML, SVG, CSS, SMIL, Timed Text, Forms, CDF and Math.
The Working Group will closely coordinate with the W3C Mobile Web Initiative.
The Working Group will also coordinate with the horizontal activities at W3C, especially WAI, Internationalization and Quality Assurance. It will be represented on the Hypertext Coordination Group.
The following is a tentative list of external bodies the Working Group should collaborate with:
The proceedings of this working group are available only to W3C Members.
However, given that this work receives a large amount of interest from the general Web community, much of the existing work is publicly available, some domain experts are Web developers not represented directly by W3C Members and groups covering similar topics at other organizations are public, this Working Group must make an effort to engage in public communication. For example, the Working Group should publish specifications often, send summaries of Working Group activity to a public list and participate in those public lists, responding to comments in a timely manner.
The Web Application Formats Working Group shall communicate among its participants using the member-appformats mailing list (Member only).
The Working Group shall also maintain the public-appformats mailing list for public discussion of its work.
This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.
Working Group participants are expected to contribute 20% of a Full-Time workload.
The W3C Team will contribute 30% of a Full-Time workload.Dean Jackson, <email@example.com>