Use Cases

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Use cases and stories for bringing work to W3C. Part of the task force about Making W3C the place for new standards.

Note: one can also synthesize other use cases from the ones below (e.g., an experimental specification would compete with another one).


Comments or suggestions? public-vision-newstd@w3.org

[Core] Develop a new Web standard

Following a Member Submission or W3C Workshop, a number of parties (some Members, some not) want to create a new Web standard or set of guidelines. The community expects international adoption and needs strong IPR protection. This is the typical W3C pattern: the staff begins to work with Members on a new charter (or revised charter of an existing group). Charter development may take several months (typically as interested Members review their patent portfolios). Advisory Committee review of the charter is 4 weeks, plus 2 weeks or so to address comments.

For an existing group, if this is a new deliverable, Advisory Committee review may be non-controversial, or controversial (e.g., if there are IPR issues related to a new area of work). The level of controversy will affect the total "start time."

[Sunset] Revise a W3C Recommendation

W3C published FooML in 2005 and has since ceased active work on the technology (for any number of reasons, e.g., many believe BarML has superseded FooML). However, there's an active FooML community (including some governments that reference FooML in regulation) and they would like W3C to revise the specification to make some corrections. W3C may not want to start a Working Group to incorporate the community's corrections and conduct any necessary reviews.

Another use case: Standing WG (or just set of people) who update a spec continuously; open-ended charters.

Question: Is a Working Group necessary for this use case?

[Vocabulary] Develop an industry-specific (vertical) vocabulary

A number of organizations (some of whom may be W3C Members, others may not) want to develop a vocabulary for publishing the news. A couple of the organizations have an existing set of terms and want to build community support for them. W3C is under consideration as a venue for developing the vocabular (e.g., due to existing semantic web community). However, there are other organizations that specialize in this sort of thing for publishers. The cost of Membership is a barrier to participation, although a low fee would likely be acceptable. The organizations who aren't W3C Members are not interested in many of the other activities at W3C and thus do not intend to participate in other Working Groups.

Examples: VoiD, SIOC, FOAF, Bibo

Benefits for W3C: interaction with broader community, feedback from verticals on core specs, facilitate deployment of Web technologies to more domains

Benefits for community: a pre-defined process/infrastructure, possible feedback from Web technology experts, influence on revision of base standards as needed for domain-specific work

[Profile] Create a profile of one or more specifications

  • A number of companies want to create a profile of existing specifications that meets their particular needs. They do not expect to restrict the standards themselves, but they have particular use cases that need to be addressed and so within their community, they only require a subset of functionality in practice.
  • People want to discuss the need for a metastandard incorporating existing standards to perform a different kind of use case (e.g, "a user wants to be able to do this...")

Example: WS-I Profile, Interactive Whiteboard spec

Benefits for W3C: direct feedback on core specs, scoping for revision of specs, membership expansion

Benefits for community: avoid multiplication of profiles across organizations, feedback from experts on the initial spec, influence on future revisions


[Experiment] Experiment on a specification, test suite, etc. with low start-up costs and ability to work indefinitely

  • A small number of individuals and/or organizations want to start up a group very quickly to experiment with some ideas. It might be a new specification or extensions to an existing one (e.g., FBML). Although they want to conduct their work in public, they are not interested for the time-being in building consensus around the specification. They want some collaboration tools. Ultimately they want to publish their results at a persistent URI, but may never choose to move the work to the standards track. They want a liberal document license (e.g., BSD or MIT). They want patent policy protection (e.g., non-assert) early since they will be deploying incrementally. They are highly focused on implementation experience and not breaking deployed content.
  • W3C has an existing Recommendation; the community may wish to create an incompatible next version of the technology.
  • People want to collaborate on a white paper or develop a test suite
  • People want to work on ideas with standardization in mind, but the technology might not become "core" until well into the future.
  • Unable to reach consensus, the W3C community splits and wants to develop two specifications in parallel, letting the market choose which one(s) will become industry standards. There may be many reasons for the inability to converge (differing views of Web architecture, desire to retain control, technical issues, technology substrate issues (e.g., RDF v. XML))

Example: HTML5/XHTML 2, Schema/Relax NG. Benefits for W3C: less risk of getting entrenched in a wrong track, less cost in reconciliating views down the road. Benefits for community: use existing infrastructure and process, keep contacts with other track


Example: Audio XG

Benefits for W3C: facilitate the discovery and incorporation of new technologies

Benefits for community: existing process/infrastructure, easier standardization path if needed

[Reinvent] Another body is developing a specification that could reuse a W3C Recommendation

An other organization (possibly unfamiliar with W3C work) is developing a specification that overlaps in functionality with a W3C technology. W3C needs to conduct outreach to the organization to raise awareness and start a dialog.

Example: DAAP, Broadcast Markup Language (BML), IPTV

[Promote] Promote an informal standard through some formalization process

  • Some group of people or organization have produced a specification (possibly with or without a degree of legal protection) that has become widely deployed within the industry. However, they would like their standard to become a W3C Recommendation, possibly because but not necessarily because they would like to be even more well-known and have stronger IPR commitments, would like to see integration with other communities and standards. They strongly feel they do not want to start with scratch. One requirement may be working with a large group of people not normally affiliated with the W3C or familiar with W3C Process, and having more than one organization managing the standards. Example: A possible trajectory for some of the work in the Social Web space. WebCGM?
  • How should W3C periodically reset expectations about the technology? Should W3C rubberstamp the de facto standard? Rescind the W3C Recommendation? Publish an update to keep the community informed (but leave the specifications as-is)? Example: WSDL 1.1. ote: See related discussion on "Interoperable Standard" in the IETF.
  • Where do Member Submissions fit in? Public Submissions?

Question: Is a WG necessary (or desirable) for this use case?

Note: Used to be called "FastTrack" but since the process may not be any faster, and essentially is about not having a WG, was changed to ByPass.

Another note: WSDL 1.1 is an international standard via another process. So there is a WSDL standard and a WSDL Member Submission (and a WSDL 2.0 Rec). Should we try to harmonize those (e.g., via a status document)?