Solutions for W3C Web site Quality

W3C Web site trivia

The W3C has been created 10 years ago and has most part of its content on the Web. To be able to understand the W3C environment, we have to go through a number of facts and figures:

In May 2005,

W3C Web site has problems...

One of the main reproaches made to W3C is usually is lack of usability in terms of coherency in navigation and Web design of its pages (not particulary appealing). These are valid comments though we can balance them with other facts.

Though we have strict rules, called the pubrules, for the space where the W3C recommendations are kept. It is a consistent information space. We have also a kind of very basic templating system, called ,new, based on a script which can help a consistent design across a section of the Web site. For example the QA Team is using this system.

We can also argue that there is a lack of use of the full potential of HTML, XHTML semantics to improve the indexing of Web pages and built useful indexes.

Though this depends on the section of the W3C Web site. For example, the QA Web site has a lot of metadata included in its headers.

We could consider that there are too many editors or webmasters, or we could consider that all people have the possiblity to edit this information space and that is a benefit for the whole W3C.

We can certainly improve and we have to do it.

... but achieves also very good things.

How many Web sites with 875,000 Web pages and ten years old meet these facts:


No future? No we have a past, a very important one almost as old as the Web and we are still able to rely on these documents which contains the knowledge of hundreds of participants. We have improved and developed the techniques which help us to keep a very high level of quality, even if not sensational visually. The understanding of the technology is shared at different level accross the Team but any person who knows how to write in a real Web authoring tool (HTTP PUT) can start to edit documents right away without having to be trained specifically.

Techniques and Tools for W3C Web site quality

Comma tools and Mini Templating system

The W3C system team has developped an important number of tools to help people editing the Web site. There are called the ,tools (pronounced comma tools). At the end of any URLs on the server, you can add a comma and hit the enter key, you will get a page with a number of tools like

How to create a template?

Let's say, One wants to create a very simple template where the user will be able to enter the title of the document and the name of the author. An HTML authoring tool is the only thing, the template editor will need. A few %%variable%% parameters at the appropriate places in the document are enough to define the template, which is saved in a /Templates/ directory.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
   <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
   <title>%%Document_Title%% - QA @ W3C</title>
   <meta name="DC.Creator" content="%%Author%%" />

<address>Author: %%Author%%</address>

Each time someone will put ,new at the end of an URI, he/she will have the possibility to choose a template and finally edit the forms for the value of Author and Document_Title, in this case, and save the document which is now ready to be filled with content.

Caveat: Do not help once the page has been already written, though there is a possibility to define a system where you could watch URIs and apply transformation to this URI when the content has been modified. It's a project to explore and use the full notion of URI being just a pointer to a ressource.

Use XSLT servlet for dynamic content

As we have seen most of the content at W3C Web site is composed of static Web pages. But This information is structured with elements and class attributes in XHTML files, as you would structure content in a database. XHTML files are XML files and so can be manipulated by XSLT and XPath for example.

In Progress.


This article is the companion guide of a Talk given at the WWW 2004 Conference in New-York on May 19, 2004.

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Created Date: 2004-05-19 by Karl Dubost
Last modified $Date: 2004/05/19 13:41:14 $ by $Author: kdubost $

Copyright © 2000-2003 W3C® (MIT, ERCIM, Keio), All Rights Reserved. W3C liability, trademark, document use and software licensing rules apply. Your interactions with this site are in accordance with our public and Member privacy statements.