Pointer Events Working Group Charter draft

Note: This charter was reviewed by the Membership; it has been superseded by the approved charter.

The mission of the Pointer Events Working Group, part of the Rich Web Client Activity, is to provide methods to enable simple device independent input from pointing devices such as mouse, pen, and multi-touch screen.

Join the Pointer Events Working Group.

End date 30 September 2014
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Art Barstow (Nokia)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 7)
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; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, no more than 3 per year.


Web browsers can receive input in a variety of ways including mouse, touch, and pen input. A “pointer” is an abstract form of input that can be any point of contact on a input surface made by a mouse cursor, pen, finger, or multiple fingers.

Web Pointer Events provide support for handling mouse, touch, and pen input for web sites and web applications through DOM Events.

For example, a content creator using Web Pointer Events would have only use a single model, rather than separate code paths for mouse events, touch events, and pen-tablet events, making authoring content much more efficient and inclusive.

Out of Scope

The following features are out of scope, and will not be addressed by this working group.

  • Gestures. Examples of out-of-scope gesture functionality and APIs include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Comparisons between pointers to determine an action (e.g., panning for scrollable regions, pinch for zooming, press-and-hold for a mouse right-click).
    • Comparisons between time stamps of pointers to determine an action.
    • Comparisons between combinations of pointers and/or their time stamps to determine an action.
    • Determining an action based on comparison to a threshold (e.g., scroll speed based on a pressure threshold, panning based on distance threshold, press-and-hold based on a timing threshold).
    • APIs or functionality processing data that is indicative of a confidence level that a pointer is associated with a gesture.
  • Higher level APIs used to convey user intent.
    • High-level representational events, which are in the scope of the Web Events and IndieUI working groups.
  • Input targeting methods and disambiguation.
    • The algorithms and underlying systems used to determine target elements and pointer location.
    • Algorithms to determine unintended input (e.g. palm rejection).
  • Equipment used to detect input events.
    • Sensors, algorithms, and systems used to detect physical interactions and convert them into input events.
  • Ink and handwriting APIs.

Success Criteria

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


The working group will deliver the following W3C Recommendation:

Web Pointer Events

This specification defines a unified interface for web applications to access event information related to pointing devices. This includes mouse, pen, multi-touch screen, and related input mechanisms. While device specific information such as pressure or contact geometry might be included in the events, web developers can program against the events without needing to know what type of device created them.

Other Deliverables

Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

  • Use case and requirement documents;
  • Test suite and implementation report for the specification;
  • Primer or Best Practice documents to support web developers when designing applications.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group wiki.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
Web Pointer Events December 2012 May 2013 September 2013 January 2014 June 2014


As per Working Group dependencies described in the W3C Process Document (section 6.2.6, Working Group and Interest Group Charters and section 7.4.2, Last Call Announcement), this group will seek early feedback from the following groups, and inform them in advance of our intent to transition to Last Call:

W3C Groups

Protocols and Formats Working Group
The PFWG reviews specifications to determine support for accessibility to people with disabilities. In particular, the PFWG will review the ability of the event model to be used by people regardless of input device, including non-pointer devices.
User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG)
The UAWG is tasked with informing implementers how to make their products more accessible and usable. New input models offer both opportunities and challenges for accessibility, thus the Pointer Events WG will work with WAI on best practices, and assist UAWG to develop user agent implementation requirements to ensure that the pointer events are accessible in practice.
Web Applications Working Group
The WebApps WG develops APIs for client-side development and for markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior. In particular, it develops DOM Core and DOM Events. The Pointer Events specification is expected to be defined in terms of the WebIDL specification.
Web Events Working Group
The Web Events WG develops the Touch Interface specification, an alternative touch-only event interface, and high-level user-intent representational events, which may be impacted by the Pointer Events Working Groups's deliverables.
IndieUI Working Group
The IndieUI WG works with the Web Events Working Group to develop a model to represent inferred user intent behind specific inputs. The Pointer Events WG will coordinate to ensure the pointer events model is compatible with this further abstraction.
Web Applications Security Working Group
Privacy Interest Group
The WebAppSec WG and Privacy IG ensure that specifications produced by W3C do not introduce security or privacy issues.


To be successful, the Pointer Events Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification. The Chairs and specification Editors are expected to contribute half of a day per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

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

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 Pointer Events Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list public-pointer-events@w3.org (archive). The public is invited to post messages to this list.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Pointer Events Working Group home page.

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 participant requests such a discussion.

Information about the group (for example, details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants) will be available from the Pointer Events 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 Pointer Events 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.

Doug Schepers

$Date: 2012/11/09 22:50:24 $