- How Industry is Leveraging the Open Web Platform
- Looking Ahead
- New Services
- Developer Relations
- Appendix: Group Details
The Web is unparalleled in its support for innovation, from individuals, research, and enterprise. In this report we examine the forces of innovation through the lens of industry, and how the Open Web Platform is transforming digital publishing, automotive, television, entertainment. Signals from the past few months show the trend remains healthy:
- In Developer Economics Q3 2013 Vision Mobile reports that, "HTML5 has entrenched itself as a mobile development technology of choice, with 52% of the developer population using HTML5 technologies for developing mobile apps."
- In Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead, McKinsey & Company writes, "If companies can embrace Web-based business and operating models, they stand to gain far more than they lose. Social technologies, for example, are emerging as more than a powerful means of connecting with markets; they also are a means of communication and collaboration within and between businesses that has the potential to vastly improve productivity and organizational effectiveness."
- eMarketer reports that TV advertising revenue is losing ground to digital advertising revenue, which has double digit growth.
These industries are leveraging the benefits of the Open Web Platform including the ability to reach a large number of devices at less cost, no install, a large developer community, and so on. But they are also finding the platform does not yet fulfill their more specialized requirements. The Digital Publishing industry wants higher quality typography, advanced layout and pagination, support for the world's languages, and better readability of long texts. The Auto industry needs technology that meets safety standards and interoperable access to vehicle data across brands and regulatory environments. The Television and Entertainment industry is pushing for fine-grain control over media streams, support for encrypted media, second screen support, service and device discovery, and more. Everyone wants better performance on mobile devices. Telecommunications companies want to repackage existing services and legacy infrastructure, and integrate them seamlessly with new services in customer-facing and enterprise apps. The Consumer Electronics industry wants more robustness. Device manufacturers want apps to be able to access sensors through low-power connections. And so on.
Through packaging (EPUB 3), profiles (DLNA, SMPTE-TT), APIs (Vehicle API), and non-yet-standardized features, these industries are stretching the Web in many directions. Now these industries are transforming the Open Web Platform.
W3C has been encouraging innovation in a few different ways. Through Workshops we meet new stakeholders, hear their requirements, and ease their entry into the community. Through Community Groups and a startup Membership program we lower barriers to getting work done rapidly. We are looking to build a more global community through overtures such as the launch of the Beihang Host in 2013 and our Multilingual Web events. By adopting permissive document licenses (in both Community Groups and now the HTML Working Group) we believe more people will bring their work to W3C. To meet industry demand for faster technology development, the Advisory Board is streamlining the Recommendation Track without losing sight of pillars such as consensus and fairness. In cooperation with Adobe we have promoted a culture of testing so that we can achieve platform interoperability on many classes of devices. Through WebPlatform.org docs, W3DevCampus, and W3Conf we are sharing practical guidance so that developers will have the skills to create Web content and apps on new platforms.
Direct participation by these industries in W3C offers many benefits: those individuals can promote adoption of open standards, enrich our work with new ideas, and help us better understand developer realities and business use cases. The requirements they bring to the table can drive better user experience, richer content, enhanced communications capabilities, and improved performance. At times, industry-specific requirements lead to general improvements. For instance, the use case of TV remotes was used to extend DOM Events Level 3 to provide a global standard for any input device —multimedia keyboards, gamepads— that could provide media control. In this way, when we are successful, we preserve One Web and avoid industry-specific silos.
There are also costs and risks associated with the expansion of our community and our agenda. We have heard resistance within some groups to the influx of new requirements. Culture clashes may become more pronounced. We must be wary of APIs that cannot be used beyond limited use cases. As our impact increases, we may encounter more of the sort of controversy we have seen with Encrypted Media Extensions and Do Not Track. We know some topics will be divisive, some language barriers pronounced, and some visions for the Web incompatible.
We are already evolving to address some of these challenges. Beyond process, license, and fee changes, we are planning improvements to our Web site, chair training, and community documentation that should make it easier for people to get work done within W3C. The community will need to develop new social tools as well to cope with these changes.
TPAC provides us each year with a unique opportunity to exchange ideas with our peers. We look forward to the creative tension we expect to see during TPAC 2013 in Shenzhen, China.
In the remainder of this report we look at W3C activities through the lens of several of the industries we've mentioned, some "core" platform highlights, activities on the horizon, and some recent developer relations and liaison activities.
How Industry is Leveraging the Open Web Platform
In this report we highlight recent and upcoming activities related to the Web and Mobile, Digital Publishing, TV and Broadcasting, and Social and Communications industries.
Industry has at this point embraced the Open Web Platform as an enterprise-grade platform for mobile devices. As an example, in October 2013 it was reported that SAP "is planning to rely heavily on HTML5 and open standards within its products for building mobile applications." In September, it was reported that the Ford Motor Company "rolled out a feature to its mobile Web site that makes the car research process more interactive, pointing to the growing opportunities that HTML5 gives marketers in creating richer mobile experiences." Amazon opened their store to Web apps in August 2013. These stories are powerful but not unique. Vision Mobile's 2013 survey indicated that HTML5 is now "the platform of choice for a quarter of all developers targeting enterprise customers."
We do read occasional reports of companies preferring native over the Open Web Platform, as native platforms currently maintain some advantages over the Web. We know we have more to do to achieve broad interoperability, solid performance, access to device features, and so on. But there is no longer doubt about the viability of the Open Web Platform for mobile. FirefoxOS, Tizen, and other Web-based operating systems provide additional avenues for Web expansion. With mobile Internet revenue to exceed fixed broadband globally by 2014 it is important that we do all we can to make the Web excel on mobile devices.
To that end, in 2013, W3C organized a headlights project on closing the gap with native. The task force published a rich Gap Analysis that compares existing mobile apps development approaches from the end-user perspective as well as from the content and service provider perspective. The task force proposes a framework for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different platforms, which in turn will help us prioritize the steps to bring Web and native closer together.
To carry out the next phase of work —accelerating the development of Web technology so that it becomes a compelling platform for mobile applications and the obvious choice for cross platform development— W3C launched the Web and Mobile Interest Group in August. It is a forum where designers, developers, equipment manufacturers, tool and platform vendors, browser vendors, operators and others will elaborate use cases and requirements. The group will do more work on the gap analysis and revise the Core Mobile Web Community Group's Core Mobile Web Platform — 2012 to keep pace with changes in the mobile landscape.
Several other W3C groups with strong mobile interests have also progressed in the past six months. The NFC Working Group published an Editor's Draft of the Web NFC API in August. The timing is good, for as the Yankee Group reported in August, "more than three-quarters of consumers are interested in NFC...NFC tags are picking up momentum..."
The Push API provides a good example of a capability that exists in native platforms and that the Web must support. The API allows application servers to send messages to a Web application, including when the user is not actively using the application. For social networking, messaging, and many other scenarios, users want to be able to receive alerts. In May W3C launched a Patent Advisory Group (PAG) in response to patent disclosures around the specification. The PAG recently concluded that the disclosed patents do not read on the Push API specification and that W3C should continue to work on the API.
Through discussions with Members we believe there is growing interest in work on network service discovery, geofencing (knowing where a mobile user is within a well-defined area such as within a building), network optimizations, bluetooth, and Web of Things.
There is also keen interest in Web payments, especially on mobile devices, as confirmed by the headlights task force on Web payments. According to Yankee Group research, "close to 70 percent of consumers are interested in adopting mobile payments, but less than 14 percent have actually completed a mobile transaction in the past six months." Web developers want to monetize their work, but on mobile devices, advertisements may not be the best solution. The current Web payment landscape is fragmented, which puts the Web at a disadvantage compared to native mobile platforms. Today there are many solution providers (card issuers, carrier billing, paypal, google wallet, bitcoin, payswarm, m-pesa, etc.) and thus many stakeholders to include in the conversation.
Our current work on Web Cryptography, Systems Applications APIs, and NFC will all be pertinent for online payments. To learn what else we can address we are planning a March 2014 Workshop on payments in Paris. The Workshop will focus on the opportunity to define a simple payment request API that Web applications could use to request a payment. The agenda may also cover online and offline payments, small payments as part of prior arrangements, person-to-person payments, and contact-less payment solutions (e.g., based upon vouchers represented as printed barcodes, or more generally, using NFC).
To keep the community informed of progress on all of W3C's mobile-related technologies, we publish quarterly the "Standards for Web Applications on Mobile: current state and roadmap," a list of W3C technologies that increase the capabilities of Web applications, and their standardization and deployment status.
Mobile World Congress (MWC) provides an opportunity to meet with W3C staff and Members for demos, training, and other updates. We invite you to come by our booth at MWC in February 2014, and to contact the W3C staff if you are interested in joint marketing or communications activities.
EReaders and tablets are changing reading habits. E-books are growing in popularity (though growth rates have slowed recently) and at least in the UK, E-Book sales have overtaken print sales. Business models are changing all over. In 2012, the New York times reported that their "circulation revenue —money made from people buying the paper or access to its digital edition— surpassed advertising revenue" for the first time. These trends show no sign of slowing.
The publishing industry is always an early adopter of Web technology. Recently, they built EPUB 3.0, the latest version of that standard from the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), around a foundation of HTML, CSS, and SVG. Through our outreach to IDPF and other leading consortia in the publishing industry, including BISG, EDitEUR, IPTC, the Daisy Consortium, and NISO we know that W3C standards may not yet provide all the necessary features for digital publishers.
To hear directly from the publishing industry, we organized three Workshops in 2013: Electronic Books and the Open Web Platform, Richer Internationalization for eBooks, and Publishing and the Open Web Platform. Through them we heard demand for higher quality typography, better color control, advanced layout, multi-column support, pagination, media integration, full integration of the world's scripts, and better readability of long texts. As Hachette's Pierre Danet said regarding what publishers want from the Web: "The display of content must be perfect. This includes respect for pages, colors, layout, and typography."
To efficiently gather these requirements, W3C launched a new Digital Publishing Activity in July. The Digital Publishing Interest Group has begun to compile use cases to bring to the relevant Working Groups.
Fonts are dear to publishers and we have good font news from the past six months. CSS Fonts Module Level 3, which advanced to Candidate Recommendation in October, brings to typography on the Web what was already possible in print: detailed control of advanced font features. Together with WOFF fonts, designers can use OpenType features such as "tabular figures" in financial tables or decorative "swash forms" typically used at the start or end of a word. Meanwhile, the Web Fonts Working Group is approaching a First Public Working Draft for WOFF 2.
At the June Workshop in Tokyo on Internationalization of eBooks, participants cited vertical text and ruby as top priorities. We have made progress recently on those and other internationalization topics. In October the Internationalization Working Group published a substantially revised version of Use Cases & Exploratory Approaches for Ruby Markup as a Note. That document supports the development of the HTML5 extension specification HTML Ruby Markup Extensions. Work on bidirectional text in HTML5 and CSS brings those technologies in line with new developments in the Bidirectional Algorithm in the recently released Unicode 6.3. W3C plans to continue its Multilingual Web event series as a way to share information about what standards and best practices currently exist, and what gaps need to be filled, not just for digital publishing but for the Web as a whole.
TV and Broadcasting
In the past year video-watching on mobile devices has doubled. This year in the US, the average time spent with digital media per day will surpass TV viewing. Viewing is no longer a passive act. In the US, 87% of entertainment consumers say they use at least one second-screen device while watching television. The increasingly social nature of viewing content is also driving commerce; television is a major catalyst for search. No surprise, then, that the television industry would look to lower costs of video distribution to the largest number of devices. HTML5 video is widely supported and new capabilities are on the way.
Media Source Extensions, which advanced to Last Call in September, gives app developers precise control over media streams. It is now possible to modify streams on the fly to meet a range of business use cases, including performance enhancements, ad-insertion, time-shifting, and video editing. The Media Capture and Streams specification makes it easier to generate streams from the camera or microphone of a mobile (or other) device. The Web Audio API, updated in October, gives app developers the ability to process and synthesize audio in applications. Better audio on the Web is critical for sophisticated Web-based games or interactive applications. WebRTC (see more below) is also playing a role in the Web/TV convergence; Chromecast uses WebRTC to bridge online media and HDTV screens.
Of the many media-related specifications in development at W3C, the most controversial has been the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). We relaunched the HTML Working Group in September, over one objection (from the EFF) about the inclusion of EME in scope. Soon afterward, Tim Berners-Lee shared his thoughts on encrypted video and the Open Web, including rationale for the decision that EME is in scope for the HTML Working Group:
Some arguments for inclusion take this form: if content protection of some kind has to be used for videos, it is better for it to be discussed in the open at W3C, better for everyone to use an interoperable open standard as much as possible, and better for it to be framed in a browser which can be open source, and available on a general purpose computer rather than a special purpose box. Those are key arguments for the decision that this topic is in scope.
The EME draft was updated mid-October. Debate continues, and several W3C contributors have expressed their unhappiness with the HTML charter decision. W3C has invited proposals for increasing the openness and interoperability of solutions to the expressed use cases. But, as Tim Berners-Lee wrote, if EME is to continue, we need to do more to push for openness at the layers below it:
No one likes DRM as a user, wherever it crops up. It is worth thinking, though, about what it is we do not like about existing DRM-based systems, and how we could possibly build a system which will be a more open, fairer one than the actual systems which we see today. If we, the programmers who design and build Web systems, are going to consider something which could be very onerous in many ways, what can we ask in return?
Identifying these tradeoffs is the very stuff of W3C's consensus approach to standards, and input from the entire Membership and Web community is critical. That is why there are so many forums within W3C where people can seek or propose solutions, including the HTML Working Group, the Web and TV Interest Group, the Restricted Media Community Group, and the new Web Copyright Community Group, launched "to produce a set of realistic proposals for Web-compatible copyright legislation."
In the area of captions on the Web, in early November we anticipate Membership review of a revised charter that will include Recommendation-track deliverables for both TTML and WebVTT. The Web and TV Interest Group is working on the next round of requirements for timed text, media APIs, stereoscopic 3D, and testing. There is renewed activity around network service discovery of available services and content provided by home network devices. The Media Resource In-band Tracks Community Group has just formed to find a way to provide interoperable access to information available in diverse media formats, including MPEG-2 transport stream, WebM and MPEG-4.
With input from the Web and TV Interest Group, W3C is also preparing to announce a (fourth) Workshop on TV and the Web in early 2014. The focus will be on the intersection of broadcasting and the Web, covering topics such as Hybrid TV, multi-screen advertising, and other second screen scenarios.
Social and Communication
More and more people are spending more of their time online in social networks; Americans 27%, Chinese 41% for example. McKinsey advises enterprise to leverage this phenomenon: "If companies can embrace Web-based business and operating models, they stand to gain far more than they lose. Social technologies, for example, are emerging as more than a powerful means of connecting with markets; they also are a means of communication and collaboration within and between businesses that has the potential to vastly improve productivity and organizational effectiveness."
A number of issues are currently limiting the potential of social networks. APIs and data-formats in this space do not allow easy transfer of social data between heterogeneous systems, as is required for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships. The lack of APIs makes it more difficult for Web application developers to embed social functionality from third-party sites into their Web applications. At the same time, many users and organizations wish to retain control of their profiles and other social data, and share in a decentralized fashion, but we do not yet have standards for creating a federated social Web.
In August, W3C and OpenSocial jointly organized a Workshop on Social Standards. The consensus points of the Workshop report form the basis for an upcoming proposal for a new Social Activity. The soon-to-be-proposed Social Web Working Group will develop a format for social data (based on Activity Streams), a protocol for federation (possibly based on Pubsubhubbub protocol, Salmon Protocol, Web Mention or related work in XMPP), and a means to embed third-party social content (based on the OpenSocial API). A Social Business Interest Group will develop use cases, an architecture for the social Web, and social vocabularies that will allow cross-industry interoperability. Lastly, a Social Interest Group will help to coordinate discussions around social Web within W3C, and formulate a broad strategy to enable social business and federation.
WebRTC is emerging as another powerful tool for connecting people, by enriching apps with more communications services. In the words of Anne Lee (Alcatel-Lucent), "WebRTC is a bridge between the telecommunications world and the Web. It lets operators reach customers with integrated solutions on many devices and over many types of telecommunications services. WebRTC offers a great opportunity for Telcos to expand their offerings by tapping into the enormous Web market. WebRTC will also enable the Telcos to transform existing offerings."
WebRTC is being standardized in part at the IETF, and in part at W3C. Though still a Working Draft, there are frequent announcements of new implementations. In a June WebRTC impact study, 86.9% of respondents from service provider and telecom applications development communities indicated "WebRTC is significant to their overall product roadmaps" and 49% of respondents said they "intend to deploy a WebRTC solution within the next 12 months." Brett Shockley (Avaya) explains why: "We've demonstrated the benefit of being able to link people on their smart phones, tablets, PC’s and Mac’s with each other and back to video conference rooms paired with rich content. But now people want more richness, more quality, and no download. WebRTC is the natural next step."
Lastly, ITS 2.0, which allows developers to integrate automated processing of human language into core Web technologies, is now a W3C Recommendation.
Below we highlight notable areas of current and upcoming work.
In September we announced the new charter for the HTML Working Group, which includes an experiment for a dual license. The experiment is expected to make it easier for people to bring work to the HTML Working Group, and for the group to complete HTML 5.0 on time. W3C HTML Ruby Markup Extensions was published in October as the first dual license specification.
HTML5 remains on track to advance to Recommendation in 2014. The Working Group is evaluating some of the normative references in the specification to determine whether they will satisfy the newly published criteria used by the Director to determine the stability of normative references.
One of those references is WebIDL, used in Web specifications to describe programming language interfaces. HTML5 and a number of other specifications depend on WebIDL, which has been parked at Candidate Recommendation since April 2012. We now believe we have a complete test suite for WebIDL, which will help us determine when we have sufficient implementation experience for WebIDL to advance to Recommendation.
Privacy and Security
In September 2013 the Tracking Protection Working Group "reset." Co-Chairs Justin Brookman and Carl Cargill joined Matthias Schunter, bringing additional experience to the chairing team. Working with the Team, the Chairs created a plan to get to Last Call and polled the Working Group to get feedback on the plan. The poll indicated that a majority of those who completed the survey wanted to continue the group but also wanted changes to the plan. The group subsequently expressed support for prioritizing work on one of the group's two specifications: Tracking Preference Expression (DNT). As of October, the Chairs are evaluating the feedback and preparing a revised plan.
This work is challenging but fundamental to the Web. User trust, earned through understanding and control of privacy options, is key to the Web's opportunities as universal communications platform. As McKinsey notes, "Billions of people soon will be socializing, sharing information, and conducting transactions on the Internet. As businesses and governments use the Web to monitor assets, manage payments, and store data, they will be tracking moves individuals make on the Internet. Navigating the issues associated with generating economic utility while managing privacy will require organizations to examine trade-offs and address tensions in a clear, thoughtful way as rules of the road are established." W3C is endeavoring to do precisely that, and with the diverse stakeholders necessary for the adoption of a meaningful standard for tracking protection.
Web Security is a collaborative effort; W3C coordinates some of that work in its Security Activity. The Web Security Interest Group is developing a new plan to incubate security ideas, focusing particularly on Mobile Web Security. To collaborate with security work elsewhere in the Web stack, we are in the early phases of planning a Security Workshop in London in March, in conjunction with the IETF meeting.
The Web Cryptography Working Group expects to bring its WebCrypto API to Last Call this year, and has already seen implementations in browsers and a polyfill library. The Web Application Security (WebAppSec) Working Group, rechartered with expanded scope in September, added new work on version 1.1 of Content Security Policy (CSP). In June Twitter cited CSP as "an additional layer of security on top existing controls," with new flexibility to work with existing Web sources. WebAppSec will also work on Secure Mixed Content and Lightweight Isolated / Safe Content.
Poor app performance is costly. One study of travel sites found that 57% of online shoppers will wait 3 seconds or less before abandoning the site, and one in five will open a competing site in another window if made to wait. We therefore face a serious problem if, according to Google, the median page load time for a mobile Web site is around 5 seconds, and the mean time is over 10 seconds. Performance issues are compounded by the fact that Web apps continue to grow in size and interactivity, even as we try to run them on a greater variety of devices, some with constrained memory, processing power, and battery life. On some systems, even where there are performance improvements, infrequent software updates means that some users are not seeing them.
W3C's Web Performance Working Group is developing APIs that developers use to measure and improve application performance. Feedback from the October O'Reilly Velocity Conference suggests that developers are using these APIs and are thirsty for more. A new Resource Priorities specification is due out in November 2013. The specification gives developers fine-grain control over when page components are loaded: either when the network load is low, or when the component becomes visible to the user.
A 2013 Headlights task force on performance identified a number of bottlenecks to Web app performance at the network layer, in memory (DOM, events, garbage collection), in drawing on the page, in tooling, and more. The task force recommended improving browsers by prioritizing use cases (such as asynchronous scroll, multitab interfaces, animations, and caching) and working with browser makers and the community to improve implementations. We are also anticipating a second Web Performance Workshop (June 2014 in Santa Clara) as a venue for hearing about new performance challenges.
The headlights task force also recommended development of more tools for developers and guidelines for developers on how to create high-performance apps, starting from performance tips developed by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!.
As the Web has grown from a documentation sharing platform to a complete distributed programming environment available on all kinds of devices, the need for testing has become acute. In February we announced an ambitious plan to scale up W3C's testing efforts. In the past six months there has been progress in developing a community around test development, as well as a shared infrastructure. For example, all W3C test suites except for CSS are now managed on a single github repository and test coverage continues to increase.
To achieve the level of interoperability that many industries demand, especially for consumer electronics, we will need additional resources.
Adobe and numerous other partners have contributed to the test effort significantly through a series of "Test the Web Forward" events around the world: in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seattle, Sydney, and elsewhere. At these events, developers learn how to create the tests that will make the Web more robust for all. A report from the Shanghai event noted that hundreds of participating developers generated 1003 tests and 35 bug reports, setting a "Test The Web forward world record". The next event in the series is Test the Web Forward Shenzhen, organized with TPAC 2013 in Shenzhen, China.
Earlier this year, Adobe generously transferred the "Test the Web Forward" brand to W3C. We plan to use that recognized brand to refer to W3C's overall test effort, and to continue to integrate results from test events into our published test suites. We recently redesigned the Test the Web Forward site and made significant strides in creating documentation for the creation and review of tests. We need your support to Test the Web Forward! Please contact the W3C staff if you wish to accelerate broad deployment of Web technology.
Data on the Web
For nearly twenty years, W3C has developed formats for representing, organizing, querying, and drawing inferences from machine-readable data on the Web, the most ambitious being the Semantic Web. The primary value of RDF and related technologies has been that these technologies have the Web at their core, providing a unique means of integrating data at Web scale. For example, YarcData describes a drug repurposing project conducted using Semantic Web technologies that "took about six weeks, which is astonishing compared to the usual time it takes to develop a drug". W3C's Semantic Web effort has been successful in some communities (including government, health care, and search) and continues to grow every day.
However, many communities on the Web chose other, simpler, formats to publish a staggering amount of data; available data is now doubling every 20 months yet only a fraction of it makes use of W3C standards. We believe the reason to be that many applications, although not all, simply do not need the full power of Semantic Web technologies to achieve data integration. In such circumstances, less powerful but simpler approaches suffice. Principal among these less powerful formats is comma-separated values (CSV), a popular format readily processed by a wide variety of popular software. To gain traction in our data activities, we need to move closer to developer practices.
In October the Director proposed to the Membership a new vision for our data activities: to make it easier for people and organizations to share data as far as possible using existing tools and working practices but in a way that enables others to derive and add value, and to utilize it, in ways that suit them. The Activity includes two new efforts:
- a proposed CSV on the Web Working Group that will define mechanisms for interpreting a set of CSVs as relational data. This will include the definition of a vocabulary for describing tables expressed as CSV and discoverable on the web, and the relationships between them.
- a proposed Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group that will develop the open data ecosystem, provide guidance to publishers, and foster trust in data among developers
A number of existing Working and Interest Groups will continue their work on health care and life sciences, government linked data, and a linked data platform. We also anticipate a Workshop on Linking Geospatial Data in February 2014 in London.
The next section explains why the timing of this new activity is so important.
Web of Things
The Internet of Things has nearly arrived. McKinsey anticipates that "tiny sensors and actuators, proliferating at astounding rates, are expected to explode in number over the next decade, potentially linking over 50 billion physical entities as costs plummet and networks become more pervasive." These new devices will transform cities, homes, transportation, utilities, retail, health care, and many other industries. Some of these new devices will not have screens. Some will only connect to the network over low-power connections, not well-suited for HTTP. Some will be disposable. The diversity will create new challenges for the Web as a scalable architecture.
With so many industries and objects producing vast data streams, there is a real risk that data silos will arise for lack of common protocols or architecture. We believe the Web will play an important role in enabling distributed data creation while mitigating the risk of silos. We already know the Web lets people continue to use existing devices (e.g., desktop browsers) even as the world introduces new devices (e.g., tablets) to leverage existing services. The "Web of Things" describes an application layer for accessing the Internet of Things through cloud-based gateways and services.
We have identified a number of hot topics, including service discovery and composition, security, representation of data streams, capturing usable machine-readable semantics, and much more. Through the European Compose Project W3C is studying how to enable an open marketplace of services for the Internet of Things. The Web of Things Community Group provides a forum for discussion within W3C.
We are investigating holding a Web of Things Workshop in 2014 and expect to have more information before the end of 2013.
The W3C Premium Validator Suite and W3DevCampus training are part of the W3C New Services Activity.
W3C Premium Validator Suite
In September W3C launched the W3C Validator Suite, a premium online service for HTML, CSS, and Internationalization checks across an entire Website. It's a faster, easier way to check Web site quality compared to our free validator, which checks Web pages one at a time. Funds from W3C Validator Suite help W3C improve the free W3C validator tools and provide long-term stability of both the free and premium services.
In October, based on customer feedback, W3C created a new pricing structure based on service credits. This approach offers more flexibility in the ways the service can be used, as well as greater efficiencies and potential cost savings to users.
Some of the feedback we have received since the launch includes concerns that the premium service is not open source; some in the community would like to contribute. Others have requested the ability to buy shrink-wrapped versions or download the software. The W3C Validator team is considering actions based on this feedback and welcomes additional suggestions.
To meet growing demand W3C has initiated regional partnerships to provide courses in other languages. Before the end of 2013, HTML5 classes will be available in Korean and in Japanese thanks to partnerships with Future Web Technologies and Internet Academy, respectively. W3C and Intel are collaborating on a Responsive Web Design course that will be freely available thanks to Intel's sponsorship.
W3C offers a number of services for the community of Web developers and designers, including the W3C validators and other tools, WebPlatform.org docs, W3Conf (the next one will be in 2014) and practical guides.
W3C also publishes a column in A List Apart. Since the AC Meeting in June, we have published three pieces: Security Affair by Virginie Galindo (Gemalto), Around the World Wide Web in Eighty Minutes by Richard Ishida (W3C), and Performance Matters by Jatinder Mann (Microsoft).
Accessibility and Internationalization Resources
W3C continues its work to ensure that the expanding Web remains available to all, including through the publication of resources that provide practical guidance.
The Internationalization Working Group recently published a set of comprehensive resources for content authors that explain how to use markup for pages containing mixed-direction content (e.g., for Arabic right-to-left or Japanese vertical content) with new HTML5 features. It also published a number of new articles, including one that explains the translate attribute, newly introduced in HTML5 and long-awaited by the localization industry.
Liaisons provide an important avenue for W3C to reach out to industries, through the bodies where they convene. In this regard, the W3C staff has had an active six months, building solid relationships with OIPF (Open IPTV Forum), with GSMA (for more synergies in the Web mobile area) and with EPASOrg (Euro Payment Area). At meetings and through conference presentations, W3C communicates its own initiatives (e.g., around payments or Web standards being driven by the television industry) and learns about ways in which the Open Web Platform needs to evolve to be more useful to those industries.
In response to events since June that risked eroding public confidence in the global network, W3C signed two joint statements with our Internet organization partners. We issued the Statement from OpenStand on the Strengths of the OpenStand Principles with partners IEEE, IETF/IAB and ISOC in the face of allegations of interference by some governments in the standards development process. We reaffirmed our position that following OpenStand principles is the best way we know to decrease the risk that any participant can inappropriately manipulate the standards development process. We issued the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation with a larger set of partners, including ICANN and the NICs. In it we reinforced the importance of globally coherent Internet operations, warned against Internet fragmentation at a national level, identified the need for improved Internet governance, the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, and a call to prioritize the transition to IPv6 as an important step to global Internet inclusion.
In November, W3C and 24 other organizations signed a letter in support of the US Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), which the signators called "an important step toward true [US] federal spending transparency as it empowers the public to see how their tax dollars are being used." This would be done using open data formats such as those published by W3C. The proposed legislation directs the US Government "to create data standards for tracking and reporting government-wide spending, including requiring agencies to use consistent identifiers for entities and publish data in machine-readable formats."
W3C has been recognized as an ISO/IEC JTC 1 PAS Submitter since October 2010. Since then two W3C packages have been approved: for Web Services and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. As reported in June, W3C had been studying potential submissions for SVG 1.1 and WS-RA (Web Services Resource Access). For SVG 1.1 we have decided to wait. For WS-RA we have decided against the submission because WS-RA does not have sufficient market adoption. We are now planning to submit MathML 3.0, which is very stable and widely implemented.
W3C is actively participating in the European Commission Multistakeholder Platform (EC MSP), which was established in 2012 to advise the Commission on its ICT Standardization work program. In the past months, the focus of the group has been the EC Rolling Plan for ICT Standardization, which identifies EU policy priorities where ICT standardization should be considered as part of policy making. In its latest version, this plan lists the following areas, grouped in four clusters: societal challenges, innovation for the digital single market, sustainable growth, and key enablers/security. W3C is mentioned in several of these policy areas as a provider of standards.
Industries are leveraging the innovations of the Open Web Platform and beginning to extend it. To avoid silos and interoperability failures we must continue to invite dialog with these industries to accommodate use cases and provide solutions that are developer-friendly and consistent with principles of openness.
As the Web turns 25 next year, and W3C turns 20, we look forward to the creativity of ever more innovators, which W3C can support and draw upon as we steward the long-term health of the network.
We look forward to discussion in Shenzhen and thank you for your continued confidence in W3C.
Appendix: Group Details
To learn more about recent achievements and upcoming work of all W3C Working and Interest Groups, we have prepared updates for all Activities. The Community Groups and Business Groups site provides access to the activities of those groups.