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The purpose of this wiki is to consolidate some of the Web Applications WG's (aka WebApps) Real Working Modes including: Participation and Communication, Meetings, Consensus, Mail List usage, links to important resources, etc.

Note the WG's Charter formally defines many aspects of the group's working mode. In all cases, the Charter and/or the W3C Process Document overrides the information in this wiki. Nevertheless, this wiki contains additional information about how the group really works and as such, this information may be particularly useful to new members of the WG.

This document is a Living Document and as such will change. Members of the WG are encouraged to edit (e.g. to embellish, correct, etc.) the information in this document.

Participation and Communication

WebApps' formal Participation and Communication models are documented in the Participation and Communications sections of its Charter, respectively.

Strictly speaking, only the Chairs and Editors have firm participation requirements. However, all WG members are strongly encouraged to participate in all of the specifications in progress.

A WG member may participate in various ways including:

Participation from the Public, via our Public mail lists is also welcome, provided comments, contributions, etc. are consistent with the W3C Patent Policy. The group uses the following mail lists:

The widgetspecs Twitter account is used to make public announcements about the group's Widgets Specs.

The Technical Reports Process (What is an Editor's Draft?)

The W3C Process Document formally defines the Technical Report Process this group follows.

This group uses Editor's Drafts (ED) which, as the name indicates, is simply the latest version of a specification an Editor maintains. An ED should be thought of as the tip of the tree i.e. a work in progress that may change at any point in time.

EDs are not formal publications by the W3C and as such, the W3C Process Document does not explicitly define them.

Those with a vested interest in a specification e.g. implementers and application developers, should use a spec's Editor's Draft and not a dated version of the ED that was published as a Working Draft in the W3C's Technical Reports repository.

The W3C Process Document defines a so-called Publication "Heart Beat" Requirement that states a WG should publish each spec in the Technical Reports (aka /TR/) repository. For various reasons, including the relatively large number of specs in development, this WG does not generally follow this requirement.


Editors in this Working Group have wide freedom to update (add, change, delete) text in Editor's Drafts without explicit consensus from the group. This method is referred to as Edit First and Review Later and is contrary to other WGs that follow a Review First and Edit Later editing model.

Does this does mean WG members' input is not taken into account? No. Editors are expected to consider all inputs and to reflect that input in the ED.

Note: before the WG formally publishes a specification as a Technical Report (i.e. a copy of the spec is placed in the Technical Reports repository), WG members will be asked if there is consensus to publish the specification (as described in this document's Call for Consensus section).

WebApps' SpecEditing wiki includes information about spec editing, including Editor roles and responsibilities.

Bugs, Issues and Actions

The WG uses Tracker to record and track WebApps' Actions.

The WG has no single mechanism to record and track issues. Some spec Editors record issues directly in the spec (e.g. "Issue: ..."), a few spec Editors still use the WebApps' Tracker Tool to track issues but most spec Editors use W3C's Bugzilla.

Bugzilla is the preferred bug tracking mechanism for all new specs. See WebApps' Bugzilla components for a list of the specs (components) using Bugzilla.

(Tracker does have a nice feature that it scans all of WebApps' mail lists for the patterns "ISSUE-NNN" and "ACTION-NNN" (where NNN is an issue or action number). If that pattern is found, the URI of the e-mail in the public-webapps archive will automatically be included in the database record for that issue or action.)


Patent Policy

The WG's Charter defines the Patent Policy for this group:

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.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

A consequence of the group's Patent Policy is that inputs for the group's specifications from non-WG participants is not permitted. See the W3C Patent Policy FAQ titled How should Working Groups handle contributions from non-participants (e.g., meeting guests or on public lists)? for more information about contributions from non-WG participants.

Meetings? What Meetings?

Most of WebApps' specification work progresses without formal meetings. Instead, all of the technical work is done via the group's various mail lists, IRC and Bug databases.

The consortium usually has an annual All Working Group f2f meeting week and this group normally has a f2f meeting during that week.

See WebApps' Meeting Wiki for information about the group's formal meetings.

Consensus and Call for Consensus

Consensus is a very important part of the W3C process and is formally codified in the Process Document as follows:

Consensus is a core value of the W3C. To promote consensus, the W3C process requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g., another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public).

Since much of WebApps' work is done without formal meetings, the group uses a Call for Consensus (aka CfC) mechanism (typically email) to formally gather input on a specific question such as Is spec X ready to publish as a Last Call Working Draft?. When a CfC is issued, an explicit response from WG members is preferred and note that the lack of a response will always be considered assent i.e. agreement with the proposal.

Most CfC's are done on the public-webapps mail list and the comment period is typically one week. However, in some rare cases, for example when Member confidentially is an issue, the member-webapps mail list is used.

Note the CfC mechanism may not be used with some of the WG's work, for instance, those WG members working on the Widgets specs do not typically use CfCs because they have regularly scheduled meetings.

Mail List Policy, Usage, Etiquette, etc.

The Consortium has formal Mail List policies and procedures yet also accommodates some flexibility on how mail lists are used:

Each W3C mailing list has its own policies regarding who may post to the list. Those subscribed to each list are generally able to post directly to the list without delay; those who are not may be subject to manual moderation (at least the first time they post.)

See W3C Mailing List and Archive Info and W3C Guidelines for Email Attachment Formats for more information.

WebApps' members appreciate and encourage frank technical discussions on our mail lists but all discussions must be done in a respectful manner. Please note this respect requirement is codified in the Process Document via the following participation criteria "Social competence in one's role". Additionally, see Positive Work Environment Task Force and if you did not attend Kindergarten, we expect our list participants to adhere to the basic principles in All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.

We also expect our mail list participants to adhere to the following email etiquette:

  • Messages should be encoded using plain text. Anything in rich text will be lost by the archives and appear poorly to many readers before they get that far.
  • Messages should not use top-posting. See the WHATWG's top-posting guidelines for more information and this email from Tobie Langel for information about top-posting and Outlook and Outlook Express.
  • Subjects should be prefaced with the name of the spec (for example: [DOM4] Blah, Blah, Blah)
  • When you reply to a message, please use ">" as your quotation character.
  • Do not prefix your content with something like "[myname]". Your content will be visible to everyone because it will *not* be prefixed by the quotation character (">").
  • Do not write at the top "comments inline". People will know your comments are inline.
  • Do strip quoted text which is not relevant to your reply.
  • Do not write in ALL CAPS. It is considered bad form. If you need to _underscore_ something, you can do so as such, if you wanted to *strengthen* something you can similarly, and if you want to provide a certain /italic/ style, you may do that as well.
  • Your messages are archived. If you need to include links within your message, please use [x] notation inline, and include the relevant links at the end of the message.
  • Attachments must follow the W3C Guidelines for Email Attachment Formats, in particular:
    • Avoid unnecessary email attachments.
    • Use an attachment only when it is likely to benefit to recipients. Otherwise, place the information (in plain text format) in the body of your message.
    • If an attachment is necessary, avoid formats that are virus prone, proprietary or platform dependent. For example, whenever possible you should use HTML instead of MS Word, PowerPoint or PDF.
    • Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Off-Topic Discussion Policy

Webapps' mail lists are only to be used for technical discussions of the group's specifications and related resources such as test cases.

Discussions related to general W3C-wide processes and policies are not appropriate for any of WebApps' mail lists and as such, discussions on those subjects are considered "off-topic".

Here is a list of documents and topics that are explicitly off-topic for WebApps' mail lists, including one or more appropriate discussion forums that may be used:

We expect everyone using WebApps' mail lists to please respect this policy.


WebApps uses two different channels of the W3C's IRC system (; port 6667):

  • #webapps - for Public technical discussions; this channel is continuously logged/archive
  • #wam - for Member-confidential discussions; this channel is NOT logged

An HTML interface to the W3C's IRC system is available at See Meeting Resources for more information about the W3C's IRC system.


The WG's charter mandates the WG create a comprehensive test suite for all features of a specification is necessary to ensure the specification's robustness, consistency, and implementability, and to promote interoperability between User Agents.

The WG's main testing resources are:

CVS and Mercurial

The WG uses CVS and in the spring of 2010 started using Mercurial. Mercurial should now be used for all new specs.

Some Mercurial links:

The group uses several different CVS directories for the group's old-ish specs:

See the following documents for more information about CVS and its usage in the W3C:

Links to Group Resources