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Device Independence Activity Statement

A few years ago, virtually the only way to access the Web was through a personal computer or workstation. True, there were variations between the facilities offered by various browsers, some being capable of use on text-based terminals. However, almost invariably, Web access, for individuals without specific accessibility needs, involved using a machine with a reasonably large, color display with full graphic capabilities. While this is still primarily true, since the middle of 2000, the number of different kinds of devices that can access the Web has grown from a small number with essentially the same core capabilities to many hundreds with a wide variety of different capabilities. At the time of writing, mobile phones, smart phones, personal digital assistants, interactive television systems, voice response systems, kiosks and even certain domestic appliances can all access the Web.

The range of capabilities for input and output and the range of markup languages and networks supported greatly complicate the task of authoring Web sites and applications that can be accessed by users with whatever device they choose to use.

The Device Independence Activity encompasses the techniques required to make such support an affordable reality. In particular the Activity focuses on:

Without this initiative, there is an increasing danger that parts of the Web will become unavailable to users unless they employ a particular type of device.

Highlights Since the Previous Advisory Committee Meeting

This Activity has now closed, and this page will not be updated any further. The work items have been transferred to the Ubiquitous Web Applications Actvity.

Recent changes have included:

Delivery Context: Interfaces (DCI) Accessing Static and Dynamic Properties defines an API to access a browser's delivery context (static properties such as screen size, or dynamic, e.g. battery level). The specification entered Candidate Recommendation in October. Two implementations of the specification already exist, thus Candidate Recommendation is expected to be fairly thorough.

Content Selection for Device Independence (DISelect) defines XML markup that can be embedded in rendered markup (e.g. XHTML, SVG) and which brings extra functionality for selecting alternative content within the document according to the delivery context. For instance, an HTML page can contain DISelect markup that will make the page readable on small screens by leaving out large pictures. DISelect was split into 3 specifications published in October:

Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL) is a profile of XHTML2+XForms+CSS+DISelect specifically designed for authors of Web content that is expected to be rendered on multiple types of devices. The First Public Working Draft was published in May and a primer was published in October.

To address issues as early as possible, work on layout is going on in cooperation with the CSS and Internationalization Working Groups.

Summary of Activity Structure

GroupChairTeam ContactCharter
Device Independence Working Group
Rhys LewisDave Raggett, Stéphane BoyeraChartered until 30 April 2007

This Activity Statement was prepared for the May 2007 W3C Advisory Committee Meeting (Members only) per section 5 of the W3C Process Document. Generated from group data.

Dave Raggett, Device Independence Activity Lead

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