DDWG API for September
The DDWG recently posted a summary
of its July Face-to-Face meeting in London. Among the highlights is a decision by the group to publish a first draft of the API by the end of September. It will require a lot of input to make this happen, so hopefully the Web community will come on board to help.
There were several other developments during the meeting. Check out the summary for details.
23:18:13, Categories: News
Announcing DDR Core Vocabulary Process
The DDWG is pleased to announce the opening of its process to gather contributions to the Device Description Repository (DDR) Core Vocabulary.
The process is open to everyone, including non-W3C Members.
The purpose of the process is to create an initial vocabulary for the proposed Repository. The vocabulary will represent device properties that are considered essential to the successful adaptation of Web content for mobile devices.
It is hoped that public instances of the DDR, implementing the API to be published by the DDWG, will be hosted following the creation of the API, and that these instances will support the core vocabulary.
A public mailing list has also been prepared to support discussion of information submitted via the process.
Details of the process have been placed on the DDWG wiki. 
On behalf of the DDWG,
--- Rotan Hanrahan, Chair.
12:32:58, Categories: News
State of Play, May 2007
The DDWG maintains a wiki in public, has a public mailing list and (of course) this blog. But that is not all. The group also has regular teleconferences, some face-to-face meetings and there’s a fair amount of email traffic between the members outside of the normal public channels. I have pulled all these together to get an overall picture of the state of play in DDWG. What I find is this:
The group work commenced properly in January 2007, around the time of the first face-to-face. The Top N Properties information was to be published within 2 months, and was actually released via the wiki in February.
It was decided that IDL would be used to define the API and that the vocabulary should be developed through RDF/OWL. The vocabulary would need to be consistent would other technologies that deal with device characteristics that were in development, or being planned, by other groups. It was agreed that we needed a common ontology of device information. Work on the ontology commenced immediately.
The work proceeded from February until responsibility was transferred to the newly chartered UWA group. The ontology is currently being developed as a joint UWA/DDWG project. Meanwhile the DDWG has continued its work on definitions of terms, revising the requirements and other legacy documents. Even the meaning of "Device Description" became the topic of intense debate.
The work on DD Structures commenced in March. This deals with the issues of grouping device descriptions in a portable fashion, so that one can (for example) retrieve information about a device family, such as a PDA. Like all other DDWG work, you can view the details on the wiki.
One of the tricky issues being addressed by the DDWG at this time is the "identity" of a device. The charter requires the group to decouple the concept of the physical device from the software (user agent). This is important because in order to insert or retrieve information to/from the DDR it will be necessary to unambiguously identify the "device" to which the data is associated. Given the malleability of mobile hardware and the configurability of mobile software, devices have become a bit of a fuzzy concept. Consequently, a unique key to identify these things has become hugely complex. This issue consumed a whole day of debate at the April face-to-face meetings. In the end, we decided that the key would likely be a compound derived from contextual information, mainly something to identify the physical device together with something that identifies (characteristics) of the software. The DDWG might have to mandate a key generation algorithm to accompany the core vocabulary, though this will require much more debate, given that the DDR is supposed to be extensible.
The details of the keying mechanism have been set aside while the shape of the API is developed. This will be done in tandem with the completion of the requirements document, which is being recast to clarify its relationship to the DDR and the API.
Meanwhile the process of creating the core vocabulary has commenced. Behind the scenes, the group is testing a contribution process, to verify that it can gather the right information for the core vocabulary, and can feed into the UWA ontology. This will be tested for a little while, and then it will be launched in public, empty and waiting for contributions. Expect to see the first signs in May 2007.
As chair, I am pleased to see that the foundations for the API design and the core vocabulary are fitting into place, and happy to see that DDWG will soon be collecting the elements of the core vocabulary. The challenges of the API design, the device identity mechanism and the device description structures are going to be tough, but I believe we have the team to succeed.
Finally, I hope to see more public engagement in the DDWG work, so please pay regular visits to the wiki and subscribe to the mailing list. Your contributions are very welcome.
Rotan Hanrahan, Chair of DDWG.
09:00:00, Categories: News
DDWG gets a make-over
This, the second week of February 2007, sees the W3C DDWG get a new look. As indicated in the group's second charter, the technical work of the group will now be conducted in public view. To this end, the group will have a public site, a public mailing list, a wiki in which group contributions can be seen (and to which the public can contribute via the mailing list) and a blog to report news from the group.
15:15:40, Categories: News
DDWG Blog first post
This is the first post of the W3C MWI Device Description Working Group
blog. Here we'll post news about Device Description work, DDWG meeting summaries, and other related topics. Thanks for reading!