W3C publishes documents that define Web technologies. These documents follow a process designed to promote consensus, fairness, public accountability, and quality. At the end of this process, W3C publishes Recommendations, which are considered Web standards.
Yes, W3C also publishes other technical reports that are not standards. These documents do not follow the formal standards process but are published as a service to the community.
In some cases, these documents serve as input to the standards process. Common sources of input to the standards process include:
Each W3C Technical Report has two URIs associated with it, located at the beginning of the document:
We encourage you to consider carefully which of the two identifiers to use when referring to a W3C Technical Report. If you mean to refer to a particular document or passage "forever," please use the "this version" URI. If you need to refer to "whatever is the most up-to-date version", please use the "latest version" URI.
Note: Newer technical reports may include a second "latest version URI" that links to the "most recent standard for this technology, whatever the version number." For more information, see Version Management in W3C Technical Reports.
Conformance is the fulfillment of specified requirements by a product, process, or service. These requirements are detailed in a specification as part of a conformance clause and in the body of the specification.
A clear presentation of conformance is crucial to successful interoperability of implementations.
The W3C community provides translations of W3C standards and other material. W3C welcomes volunteers and has suggestions for how to volunteer. In addition, W3C has a policy for authorized W3C translations designed to achieve quality translations through a process that relies on transparency and community accountability.
No. At this time, W3C has not developed a certification program or authorized any other program to certify conformance to W3C standards.
W3C maintains a list of known patent disclosures and exclusions.
If you wish to disclose or exclude a patent, find the group on our list of groups and follow links to disclose patents or exclude claims on that page.
Each W3C Technical Report includes a "Status of this document" section near the front. In this section, you will find information about where to send comments.
Groups are required to report objections to the Director and to document them publicly (per section 3.3.2 of the W3C Process Document). If an individual believes objections are not being adequately reported to the Director, the individual may raise concerns with the relevant Domain Lead. Please see the list of Domains, Activities, and Groups and contact information for Domain Leads.
Each specification defines its own DTDs, often in an appendix of the specification.
Specifications index elements differently. Most specifications include one or more DTDs, or document type definitions. A DTD defines the syntax of a language in technical terms. Some XML specifications include XML Schema definitions; a schema is another way to define the syntax of a language. Some specifications also include a simple list of element and attribute names for convenience.
W3C does not have a single page where all of the elements and attributes of all W3C Technical Reports are listed.
We encourage you to use your browser cache and other caching tools so that a separate offline version is not required. The W3C Communications Team does not have a general policy requiring a Working Group to provide a package for reading a specification offline.
Some Working Groups provide packages for reading a W3C Technical Report offline.
If you are having problems unzipping a file, it may be that your system has already unzipped it for you during the download without removing the ".gz" suffix. You may have to rename the already unzipped file by hand.