Web Applications Working Group Charter

The mission of the Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group, part of the Rich Web Client Activity, is to provide specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web, including specifications both for application programming interfaces (APIs) for client-side development and for markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior.

Join the Web Applications Working Group.

End date 30 June 2012
Confidentiality Proceedings are Public
Chairs Art Barstow
Charles McCathieNevile
Team Contacts
(FTE %: 30)
Steven Pemberton
Doug Schepers
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: topic-specific calls may be held
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; other additional F2F meetings may be scheduled (at least 2 per year)
IRC: active participants, particularly editors, regularly use the #webapps W3C IRC channel


As Web browsers and the Web engine components that power them are becoming ubiquitous across a range of operating systems and devices, developers are increasingly using Web technologies to build applications and are relying on Web engines as application runtime environments. Examples of applications now commonly built using Web technologies include reservation systems, online shopping sites, auction sites, games, multimedia applications, calendars, maps, chat applications, clocks, interactive design applications, stock tickers, currency converters and data entry/display systems.

The target environments for the Web Applications Working Group's deliverables include desktop and mobile browsers as well as non-browser environments that make use of Web technologies. The group seeks to promote universal access to Web applications across a wide range of devices and among a diversity of users, including users with particular accessibility needs. The APIs must provide generic and consistent interoperability and integration among all target formats, such HTML, XHTML, and SVG.

Additionally, the Web Applications Working Group has the goal to improve client-side application development through education, outreach, and interoperability testing. To reach this goal, the Web Applications Working Group will create Primer documents for relevant specifications, and promote creation of tutorials and other educational material in the larger community.


This charter extends the original Web Applications Working Group Charter to take on new deliverables necessary for the evolving Web application market, and continue work already in progress. This charter drops some deliverables which are covered by other groups or which have made no progress (Window Object, Media Object), slightly expands the scope of some existing deliverables, such as Database APIs and File API, and explicitly adds three new deliverables: Asynchronous DOM Mutation Notification; Web Messaging; and Widget Embedding.

The scope of the Web Applications Working Group covers the technologies related to developing client-side applications on the Web, including both markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior and programming interfaces for client-side development.

The markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior category covers areas such as:

The application programming interfaces (APIs) for client-side development category covers areas such as:

Additionally, server-side APIs for support of client-side functionality will be defined as needed.

Both the APIs and markup vocabularies defined in Web Applications Working Group specifications are expected to be applicable to, and designed for, use with an array of target formats — including HTML, XHTML, SVG, DAISY, MathML, SMIL, and any other DOM-related technology. Although the primary focus will be handling of content deployed over the Web, the deliverables of the Web Applications Working Group should take into consideration uses of Web technologies for other purposes, such as the purpose of building user interfaces on devices; for example, user interfaces in multimedia devices such as digital cameras and in industrial information tools such RFID/barcode scanners and checkout machines.

The Web Applications Working Group should adopt, refine and when needed, extend, existing practices where possible. The Working Group should also take into account the fact that some deliverables will most likely be tied to widely deployed platforms. Therefore, it is feasible for the Working Group to deliver APIs optimized for particular languages, such as ECMAScript. Interfaces for other languages such as Java, Python, C# and Ruby, may be developed in cooperation with the organizations responsible for those languages.

Furthermore, the Web Applications Working Group deliverables must address issues of accessibility, internationalization, mobility, security, and privacy.

Education, outreach, and testing also play an important role in improving the current state of Web applications. The Working Group should aim to provide the community with resources that meet the educational requirements stated in its group mission statement. Comprehensive test suites will be developed for each specification to ensure interoperability, and the group will assist in the production of interoperability reports. The group will also maintain errata as required for the continued relevance and usefulness of the specifications it produces.

Success Criteria

In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each specification is expected to have two independent implementations of each of feature defined in the specification.


Recommendation-Track Deliverables

The working group will deliver at least the following:

Each specification must contain a section detailing any known security implications for implementors, Web authors, and end users. The WebApps WG will actively seek security review on all its specifications.

For a detailed summary of the current list of deliverables, and an up-to-date timeline, see the WebApps WG Publication Status page.

3.1.1. Specification Maintenance

The working group will also maintain errata and new editions, as necessary, for the following Recommendation-status specifications:

3.1.2. Other Specifications

The market for applications of Web technologies continues to evolve quickly. Therefore, in addition to the specifications described in this charter, the Web Applications Working Group may take on additional specifications necessary to enable the creation of Web applications to meet the needs of the market as it evolves.

Specifically, because of the close relationship of the WebApps WG and the HTML WG in terms of participants, market, and community, the WebApps WG may opt to take on a limited number of specifications which were initially part of the HTML5 specification that have been split off for more general use with other languages. Consistent with W3C process, an Advisory Committee Review will evaluate whether the additional deliverable should be added to the WebApps WG charter. The expectation is that if the review is successful, Working Group participants will not be required to re-join the Working Group. For any work transferred to the WebApps WG, the first draft published in the WebApps WG is considered the first public Working Draft for application of the Patent Policy exclusion rules.

Other specification proposals may be identified by new submissions from Members, or by market research. These deliverables will require rechartering the Working Group.

For all new deliverables, the WebApps WG should develop an associated requirements section or document that identifies demonstrable use cases.

Other Deliverables

Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

  • Test suites for each specification
  • Primers for each specification
  • Requirements document for new specifications
  • Non-normative schemas for language formats
  • Non-normative group notes

A comprehensive test suite for all features of a specification is necessary to ensure the specification's robustness, consistency, and implementability, and to promote interoperability between User Agents. Therefore, each specification must have a companion test suite, which should be completed by the end of the Last Call phase, and must be completed, with an implementation report, before transition from Candidate Recommendation to Proposed Recommendation. Additional tests may be added to the test suite at any stage of the Recommendation track, and the maintenance of a implementation report is encouraged.

Given sufficient resources, the Web Application Working Group should review other working groups' deliverables that are identified as being relevant to Web Applications Working Group mission.


The production of the deliverables depends upon the resources available, and will change as new information and implementation experience is reported to the group. The updated timeline is available from the WebApps WG Publication Status page.

Dependencies and Liaisons


The Widget Interface and XMLHttpRequest specifications currently have a dependency upon the HTML 5.0 specification. The Web Applications Working Group is not aware of any other Web Applications Working Group specifications that depend upon specifications developed by other groups, though there are some dependencies between current Web Applications Working Group specifications.

However, the specifications of several other groups, such as HTML and SVG, depend upon particular Web Applications Working Group specifications, notably the DOM specifications. Therefore, additional dependancies will be avoided to prevent the disruption of dependent deliverables.


The Web Applications Working Group expects to maintain contacts with at least the following groups and Activities within W3C (in alphabetical order):

Cascading Style Sheets Working Group
To collaborate on the Selectors API and widget media feature specifications.
Device APIs and Policy Working Group
To coordinate regarding features for devices services such as Calendar, Contacts, Camera, etc., and to collaborate on the File API functionality.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) Working Group
To monitor the development of the HTML specification as it complements the WebApps WG's specifications, and to help ensure HTML requirements for the WebApps WG's deliverables are met (noting that the HTML Working Group charter states specifically that the HTML Working Group will produce a specification for a language evolved from HTML4 and for describing the semantics of both Web documents and Web applications). In addition, to potentially form a joint task force with the HTML and SVG WG to specify the Canvas Graphics API, should the need arise.
Multimodal Interaction Working Group
To coordinate regarding features and models for voice, pen, and other alternative inputs.
Protocols and Formats Working Group
To ensure that WebApps WG deliverables support accessibility requirements.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) Working Group
To monitor the development of the SVG specification as it complements the WebApps WG's specifications, and to help ensure SVG requirements for the WebApps WG's deliverables are met. In addition, to potentially form a joint task force with the HTML and SVG WG to specify the Canvas Graphics API, should the need arise.
User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group
To ensure that WebApps WG deliverables support accessibility requirements, particularly with regard to interoperability with assistive technologies, and inclusion in deliverables of guidance for implementing WebApps deliverables in ways that support accessibility requirements.
Media Annotations Working Group
To integrate consistent APIs for multimedia functionality, e.g. the API for Media Resource 1.0.

Furthermore, the Web Applications Working Group expects to follow the following W3C Recommendations, Guidelines and Notes and, if necessary, to liaise with the communities behind the following documents:

External Groups

The following is a tentative list of external bodies the Working Group should collaborate with:

ECMA Technical Committee 39 (TC39)
This is the group responsible for ECMAScript standardization, and related ECMAScript features like E4X. As the Web Applications Working Group will be developing ECMAScript APIs, it should collaborate with TC39.
Internet Engineering Task Force
The IETF is responsible for defining robust and secure protocols for Internet functionality. A close relationship with the IETF HTTP group is crucial to ensuring the good design, deployment, and success of protocol-based APIs such as CORS and Web Sockets. This Working Group will rely upon review and parallel progress of associated specifications, and will keep pace with the IETF's HTTP and HyBi groups' work, conditional upon steady progress.
MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)
To provide guidance for integration and compatible extension of the Widgets specifications.
OMTP has produced a set of architectural requirements, BONDI, which may inform the Widgets deliverables.


To be successful, the Web Applications Working Group is expected to have 10 or more active participants for its duration, and to have the participation of the industry leaders in fields relevant to the specifications it produces.

The Chairs and specification Editors are expected to contribute one to two days per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The Web Applications Working Group will also allocate the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification.

The Web Applications Working Group welcomes participation from non-Members. The group encourages questions and comments on its public mailing lists, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration, with the agreement from each participant to Royalty-Free licensing of those submissions under the W3C Patent Policy.


Most Web Application Working Group Teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis. At least one teleconference will be held per week, and a monthly coordination teleconference will be held, with attendance by the Chairs, W3C Team Contacts, and the Editors of each specification, as well as other interested group members, in order to assess progress and discuss any issues common among multiple specifications.

Most of the technical work of the group will be done through discussions on one of the group's public mailing lists, for which there is no formal requirement for participation:

Editors within the group will use the W3C's public CVS repository to maintain Editor's Draft of specifications. The group's action and issue tracking data will also be public, as will the Member-approved minutes from all teleconferences.

The group will use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a particular member requests such a discussion.

Information about the group (for example, details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants) will be available from the Web Applications Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the W3C Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus and with due process. The expectation is that typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required. However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs should put a question out for voting within the group (allowing for remote asynchronous participation -- using, for example, email and/or web-based survey techniques) and record a decision, along with any objections. The matter should then be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Web Applications Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Please also see the previous Web Applications Working Group Charter.

Steven Pemberton, <steven@w3.org>, Team Contact
Doug Schepers, <schepers@w3.org>, Team Contact
Art Barstow, Nokia, Chair
Charles McCathieNevile, Opera, Chair

$Date: 2010/06/15 13:35:13 $

Note: Modified on Jun 15, 2010 to remove mentions of AIDE and Notification.