W3C Interaction Domain

Web API Working Group Charter


  1. Mission
  2. Background
  3. Scope
  4. Duration
  5. Operation
  6. Deliverables and Milestones
  7. Dependencies
  8. Confidentiality
  9. Communication
  10. Patent Policy
  11. Resources


The mission of the W3C Web API Working Group is to develop specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web. This includes the development of programming interfaces to be made available in a Web client.

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 devices and users, 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 API Working Group covers the technologies related to developing client-side applications on the Web. In particular, programming interfaces for client-side development, including network requests, timed events and platform interaction.

This Working Group should adopt, refine and possibly extend existing practices where possible. The Working Group should also take into account the fact that some deliverables will most likely be tied to widely deployed platforms. Therefore, it is feasible for the Working Group to deliver APIs optimized for particular languages, such as ECMAscript. Other language interfaces, such as Java, Python, C# and Ruby, should be developed in cooperation with the organization responsible for the language.

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 to 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.

Deliverables and Milestones

The following is a list of deliverables that are under consideration. 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.

Other, non-prioritized, deliverables include:


Dependencies within W3C

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 Application Formats, HTML, SVG, CSS, SMIL, Timed Text, Forms, CDF and Math.

The Working Group will also closely coordinate with the DOM Working Group, should the proposal to restart the DOM Activity be approved. The suggested plan is that the DOM Activity will maintain existing DOM Recommendations while the Web API Working Group develops enhancements (some of which may be part of the DOM).

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.

External dependencies/collaboration

The following is a tentative list of external bodies the Working Group should collaborate with:

ECMA Technical Committee 39 (TC39):
This is the group responsible for ECMAscript standardization, and related ECMAscript features like E4X. As the Web API Working Group will be developing ECMAscript APIs, it should collaborate with TC39.
As the audience, scope and participants of WHATWG and the Web API Working Group overlap, the two communities should work together to provide a common basis for application development on the Web.
OMA can provide input to the requirements and technologies for this Working Group, as well as review and possibly endorse the deliverables.
Some of the outputs of this Working Group are technologies that could be endorsed by 3GPP.
The Java Community Process may develop similar APIs to the Web API Working Group.
The Web Standards Project has a task force developing educational material for scripting. The Working Group should communicate with the WASP DOM Scripting Task Force on education and outreach.


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 API Working Group shall communicate among its participants using the member-webapi mailing list (Member only).

The Working Group shall also maintain the public-webapi mailing list for public discussion of its work.

Patent Policy

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, <dean@w3.org>
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