This public report was first prepared for the Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee Meeting 2015. See the accompanying W3C Fact Sheet — October 2015. For the previous edition, see the May 2015 W3C highlights. For future editions of this report, please consult the latest version.
Earlier in the year we presented a refreshed W3C, looking at four elements of fundamental change: Process, Modern Tooling, New Document License, Content.
Thanks to the W3C Advisory Board, the Revising W3C Process Community Group and W3C Membership, the 2015 Process document became operational on 1st September.
The move to using more modern tools to help WGs get their work done, and also help us reach out to developers, has continued as the use of Specifiction and GitHub, for example, have increased. GitHub in particular is becoming a foundation of work from internal projects to Community Groups to Working Groups. Robin Berjon has compiled a helpful guide to GitHub specifically aimed at those contributing to W3C projects. This fits modern workflow practices for developers and enables more people to give feedback, suggest code changes or simply monitor edits.
A further step in this direction is the introduction of a W3C data API. Released in August, this exposes core data such as groups, their specifications and key people. We hope this will enable Web standards supporters to create new uses for the data.
This focus on modern practices aligns with our intent to empower all users of the Web to ensure the platform keeps moving forward, living up to its full potential.
This year has seen the introduction of two licenses, initially the new W3C Document License followed later by the W3C Software and Document License which is (and was) GPL-compatible and permits copying and modification with attribution. Both licenses may be used from now and we expect widespread adoption.
There has also been discussion about the agreement for Invited Experts with changes over the summer giving more freedom to both Invited Experts and W3C:
In May we reported that there was considerable new content be added to the Web Platform. Here are some recent developments.
We face tremendous security and privacy challenges, but W3C is increasing our efforts to address these issues. Recent newsworthy attacks and thefts of data demonstrate the severity of these issues as well as how influential online security has become in our offline lives, even over long timeframes.
Most advanced is the Web Cryptography API for performing basic cryptographic operations in web applications. The API, finalizing interoperability testing now, provides core components for libraries to build upon, avoiding the need for developers to "roll their own" solutions. At a higher level the Web Application Security Working Group has an impressive list of maturing specs that help developers build and deploy secure web applications. Content Security Policy Level 2 progressed to Candidate Recommendation this year as did Mixed Content and Upgrade Insecure Requests. End users place tremendous trust in the browser and apps within it so by helping developers we're ultimately helping all web users. This is consistent with an approach outlined by the TAG earlier this year encouraging the use of secure communication methods over the web. For this reason we welcome and support other web security initiatives such as the Let's Encrypt project. Also the Tracking Preference Expression (DNT) spec became a Candidate Recommendation recently and aims to give users and sites new tools for communication about privacy preferences. The TAG's security and privacy self-review questionnaire guides specification editors in developing Security and Privacy Considerations for their specs.
The next security challenge we're tackling is better authentication: integration with hardware and a framework for native multi-factor authentication on the web. We're working with external organizations such as the FIDO Alliance to improve authentication and hardware-based security options, improving the levels of assurance to which users and application providers are able to protect their online accounts and communications.
All this progress is not possible without the dedication of an increasingly broad spectrum of participants from areas such as industry, education, institutions and passionate individual developers. This is reflected in the continued growth of Community Groups which now number over 220 with over 6,000 people involved. They serve as a foundation for the evolution of the Open Web Platform. In addition to this are physical events either through talks at conferences or meetups such as the "meet the TAG" days. There is also a developer meetup in Sapporo at the end of October as part of TPAC 2015, which is being held in cooperation with the local Japanese developer community.
Finally, we're always trying to reach new developers to encourage the adoption of web standards and we made a great step forward in this aspect with the launch of W3Cx, a partnership with edX to provide an online HTML5 course. Over 87,000 people enrolled in the course with about 10,000 making it to the end and numerous post-course reviews gave a grade of 5-star reviews. A second edition of HTML5 Part 1 course is now underway, with a Part 2 starting in December 2015.
In recognition of increased consumer demand for data and services in Connected Cars, the automotive industry is working at W3C to bring drivers and passengers a rich Web experience.
W3C formed the Automotive and Web Platform Business Group back in 2013. In February 2015 we launched the Automotive Working Group to take the specification work starting within the Business Group through the W3C Standards Process.
Having handed over the Vehicle API and accompanying Vehicle Data specifications the Business Group was freed up to pursue new work. It is acting as an incubator for prospective standards work. Presently they are exploring Media Tuner API in conjunction with the TV Controller API Community Group and Location Based Services (Navigation related) based on work coming out of Genivi. The group may informally take on additional areas provided there is interest and we intend to update the charter to reflect activity that is reaching critical mass and likely to produce standards work.
The Working Group has published its First Public Working Drafts in June and progressing on a number of issues and adding to the specifications.
There have been two face to face meetings since it was launched in February. The first was in Stuttgart in April and second end of July in Seattle. In June we launched a joint Automotive Privacy and Security Task Force comprised of individuals from both the BG and WG and is getting a fair amount of focus and activity.
The BG will be having its next F2F in Seoul coinciding with Genivi's All Member Meeting, followed immediately by WG F2F at TPAC in Sapporo.
We held a Digital Marketing Workshop, 17-18 September, hosted by Nielsen in Florida and in collaboration with experts from interactive advertising, media, digital marketing, online retailing, market research, and customer data analytics, etc.
Workshop discussions emphasized the need for integrity in digital marketing: security of web ad delivery mechanisms, application and page context, and viewability; robust and auditable data measurement; reliable marketing asset tracking and product description; and user privacy assurances. We identified ongoing work on the Open Web Platform to which representatives from the broad digital marketing industry can contribute, and new areas of work to be pursued.
Links to the minutes are available from the workshop's agenda page and a report will be linked there shortly. As we move forward, we will establish an Interest Group, Business Group, or Community Group to steer marketing work to existing or new WGs. The role of this group will be to understand the technical requirements of marketing on the Web: e.g. performance, security, APIs, data formats and vocabularies. We're now looking for involvement from new members and from marketing divisions of existing members.
The Digital Publishing Interest Group’s charter was renewed in September 2015 and the new charter adopts the approach described in a separate white paper “Advancing Portable Documents for the Open Web Platform: EPUB+WEB”. The Digital Publishing Interest Group held a face-to-face meeting in May, hosted by Hachette Group in New York, USA. The minutes are online and some of the main topics discussed were: Packaging, Identifiers, Pagination, Accessibility, Education & Outreach, and Rechartering of the Interest Group.
Some Public Working Drafts published recently include Web Annotation Protocol, Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0, and Priorities for CSS.
The Web Payments work within W3C aims to make payments easier and more secure. There are various payment systems on the Web and we're trying to help users by more fluidly incorporating these existing solutions into the browser. We've been pleased to welcome involvement from banks, browser vendors, merchants, payment service providers, hardware providers, and are still seeking to grow participation, notably in Asia. A full list of current participants is available.
The Web Payments Interest Group was created in November 2014 and led to the creation of the first payments-related Working Group (see below). The Interest Group is now indentifying the next problems and issues to work on, including:
Please see the draft IG face-to-face agenda planned for TPAC 2015 for more information about how the IG is identifying next priorities.
A revised draft charter has been prepared following feedback for a previous charter proposal. We're looking for help to decide the plans and priorities for the next Working Group charter. As part of this, Ian Jacobs has conducted webinars for AC Representatives both to answer questions and gather feedback.
We see the browser as a mediator, linking Web applications and digital wallets (which hold payment instruments). As such, the Web Payments Working Group will develop standards that streamline checkout on e-Commerce sites.
With so much planned and so much at stake, we recommend people read the FAQ published with the charter.
The growing convergence of the telecommunications and Web industries has found several illustrations in the recent developments of the technical agenda in W3C.
WebRTC, probably the most visible symbol of that convergence with its promises to bring telecommunication as a feature of any Web site or Web app, has been making good progress, with the camera/microphone API reaching last call and getting close to reach Candidate Recommendation Status. The main WebRTC API is now entering a stabilization phase for its 1.0 version, with the set of features frozen at the group's F2F September meeting. The discussions on the charter renewal for the group have come to a conclusion and open the way for the next version of the API to bring convergence with the alternative ORTC work that had been happening in a Community Group.
Payment is another area where the capabilities of telecommunication operators can find new area of applications in the Web world, thanks to the strong momentum behind the already-launched Payments Interest Group, and the under-AC-review Web Payments Working Group.
Further integration can be expected from the Hardware Authentication Working Group, for which a charter is under development, with opportunities for operators to find new usage for their their widely deployed SIM cards.
While the Web and Mobile Interest Group is expected to close when the charter ends at the end of October, the work on making the Web a great platform for mobile is continuing apace, and the deployment of serviceworker, manifests for Web apps, push paves the way for Web apps to become first-class citizens on mobile devices. Renewed interest in sensor APIs, bluetooth and NFC also points the way to making them more integrated with the underlying hardware capabilities of the devices.
Started in the Web and Mobile IG, the efforts in identifying opportunities for further integration between the network and app layers from within Web apps continue.
The development of the Internet of Things brings new usage to operators widely-deployed data network. The Web of Things Interest group is continuing its work started earlier this year through 4 task forces: "Thing Description", "APIs and Protocols", "Discovery" and "Security, Privacy and Resilience".
Many operators also provide media services to their customers; the activity in the Web and TV interest group continues to provide new capabilities for Web-based services in this area, as illustrated by the ongoing work on the TV Control API, Web-based synchronization, and more recently cloud-based rendering.
The group's recent activity is a continuing discussion of new end-to-end digital video use cases include dynamic ad insertion and mapping of well defined URI names to deliver Caches.
Call to action: GGIE is soon going to begin deep diving into select use cases with the intention of fleshing out in detail the end-end use cases, and to identify gaps in current standards that are preventing the use case from being available for implementation. We are also looking at what the group will focus on in 2016, including areas such as deeper work on identity and privacy for digital content creators and viewers. See the current use cases linked from the GGIE website.
Recent activities of the Multi-device Timing CG have focused on filling gaps in the draft spec of the TimingObject with the goal of getting it ready for standardization.
Recent discussions and draft edits have been concerned with
The TimingObject spec draft has recently been updated to cover these objectives, and we invite feedback from interested parties (Web TV IG members in particular). The Multi-device Timing CG will also be focussing on outreach, as multi-device timing likely is relevant for several groups involved with media related activities (capturing, transcripts, captioning, track support, animation, multi screen, remote control, audio, interactivity, animation, etc.).
The current focus is on completing the technical specification of the TV Control API which is on track for completion of the Editor's Draft by the end of 2015. The current draft is now in a review stage and welcomes feedback.
Most recently discussion and spec edits have focused on recording and time-shifting. Work is being tracked in a progress table showing areas that are supported and unsupported in the current spec.
The minutes of the group's face-to-face meeting from May in Berlin are available online: http://www.w3.org/2015/05/19-webscreens-minutes.html
The spec continues to mature and recent edits include the specification of a
PresentationRequest object and
defaultRequest attribute. These changes and more can be https://github.com/w3c/presentation-api/commits/gh-pagesviewed on GitHub.
Like the Web and TV Interest Group, the Second Screen Working Group will have its next face-to-face meeting at TPAC 2015 in Sapporo, Japan.
W3C’s vision for the Web of Things focuses on the role of Web technologies for a platform of platforms as a basis for services spanning IoT platforms from microcontrollers to cloud-based server farms. Shared semantics are essential for discovery, interoperability, scaling and layering on top of existing protocols and platforms.
For this purpose, metadata can be classified into: things, security and communications, where things are considered to be virtual representations (objects) for physical or abstract entities.
Thing descriptions are modelled in terms of W3C’s resource description framework (RDF). This includes the semantics for what kind of thing it is, and the data models for its events, properties and actions. The underlying protocols are free to use whatever communication patterns are appropriate to the context given the constraints set by the given metadata.
W3C is exploring the use of lightweight representations of metadata that are easy to author and process, even on resource constrained devices.
The WoT IG has the following task forces:
Next steps are discussion at TPAC and the preparation of a charter for a Web of Things Working Group.
The IoT is being held back by divergent approaches that result in data silos, high costs, investment risks and reduced market opportunities. W3C is reaching out to the alliances and SDOs involved in the IoT with the aim of forging a shared understanding of what will be needed to achieve the convergence required to unleash the network effect and realise the full potential for the IoT. As an example, we recently signed a collaboration agreement with the Industrial Internet Consortium and are attempting to replicate this with a number of other alliances and SDOs.
WAI charters completed a second set of reviews, receiving strong support but also comments and objections, some of which have been processed and others of which are in progress.
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is continuing to develop guidance for addressing accessibility user requirements within W3C specifications, including across different industry verticals when resources allow, to enable Working Groups and Community Groups to more easily get information on how accessibility considerations can be addressed at early stages of specification development. The draft Web Technology Accessibility Guidelines (WTAG) will be a key resource for this, along with a checklist enabling the resource to be used as a cross-technology, self-learning resource for accessibility considerations in the development of Web technologies. Development of this resource will move from the Protocols and Formats Working Group (PFWG) to the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group.
WAI has been publishing and updating several specifications to supplement accessibility gaps in the Open Web Platform, including a draft of the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) 1.1, and accessibility-supporting features in Canvas. It has also had input into the Publishing WAI-ARIA module, and has started work on several accessibility API mappings (AAMs).
WAI held an updated “WAI2020 Framework” discussion at the M-Enabling Conference in Washington DC,, seeking input on planning for Web accessibility guidelines needs five or more years in the future across the combined areas of Web content, applications, browsers, and authoring tools.
Harmonized uptake of WCAG 2.0 continues in different countries, with a heavy demand for implementation resources. WCAG WG continued work in two Task Forces which will be critical to exploring the development of normative extensions as it prepares an updated charter that may lead to a WCAG 2.1 and/or WAI 3.0 version: the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Task Force and the Mobile Accessibility Task Force. It has just started the Low Vision Task Force. The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group completed processing comments on the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 Working Draft and has published an updated Working Group Note-track Working Draft. Additionally, the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 is now a completed W3C Recommendation.
Previous participants of the Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group are exploring development of a normative set of WCAG 2.0 evaluation rules, along with some participants from the Automated WCAG Monitoring Community Group, which is exploring ways to standardize automated testing of Web content and application accessibility.
The i18n WG has reviewed and discussed comments relating to a number of specifications, including CSV, WebVTT, Linked Data Patch Format, Web Payments Use Cases, App Manifest, Linked Data Patch Format, Media Capture and Streams, CSS Text, CSS Writing Modes, CSS Ruby, and others. The scope of the former wiki page, Links to text layout and typography information, was enlarged to also serve browser implementers to point to details needed for implementation and extension of features in CSS specs. The CSS specs will point to this document in future.
The group continues to work on Internationalization Best Practices for Spec Developers, documenting other guidelines for spec developers for a wide range of topics, to make it easier to bring internationalization topics to the table at an early stage in the specification development process, and to reduce the dependency on late reviews. The easiest way into this information is via the page Internationalization Techniques: Developing specifications.
The Working Group published further updates to the Working Draft of Character Model for the World Wide Web: String Matching and Searching, previously called Character Model for the World Wide Web: Normalization. Aimed at W3C specification developers, the new Working Draft removes much material that was outdated and extends the content into other areas where string matching considerations apply, beyond those of normalization. The Working Group has also been investigating best practices for handling bi-directional content in plain text environments, such as WebVTT, CSV, JSON, etc.
A First Public Working Draft (FPWD) of Requirements for Chinese Text Layout 中文排版需求, was published. The document supports two language versions on the same page: English and Chinese. (The reader can filter the page to show a single language.) The next draft will also distinguish between Simplified and Traditional Chinese, i.e. showing 3 language versions of the page (see the github draft). The China host has also raised interest in work on Tibetan Layout Requirements, and a very early draft has been prepared.
Internationalization Activity lists have been used to support a major new initiative to standardise Mongolian variant forms in Unicode. Many of the world's top Mongolian font experts are collaborating in this effort.
Work has slowed for Indic and Korean layout requirements, however updated working drafts were published for both (the latter combining the English and Korean versions into a single page).
Two new task forces have been established, and are beginning work on Arabic Layout Requirements, and Ethiopic Layout Requirements. For a summary of documents available or being worked on related to layout and typographic requirements, see the page Layout & typography.
To assure the availability of ITS 2.0 metadata in the whole multilingual content life cycle, the ITS Interest Group continues to cooperate closely with the OASIS XLIFF TC to foster the adoption of ITS 2.0 within XLIFF 2.0, and to gather feedback and requirements for future work. XLIFF 2.1 is under way and will support ITS 2.0 natively. With funding from the European commission via the LIDER project, various community groups (BP-MLOD, LD4LT, OntoLex) are continuing to discuss technical topics as the basis for combining language technologies (machine translation, cross-lingual search, information extraction etc.) and multilingual linked data sources. The outcome of these discussions will influence W3C standardization work items, especially the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group. Various reports are being created by the BPMLOD group on best practices for multilingual linked data. The plan is to publish them before end of October as community group reports.
The I18N Working Group continues to submit internationalization-related tests to the HTML and CSS test suites, including, for example, tests for RLI/LRI, CSS related tests for text-transform, white-space, text-align, text-justify, word-break, and vertical text, CSS ruby, and so on.
Members of the I18N Working Group participated in the editorial committee of the Unicode Standard, which produced Unicode 8 this year, and is about to publish the beta of Unicode 8. They also track ongoing discussions at the Unicode Consortium, the IETF, and other organizations which affect the internationalization of the Web.
The Working Group delivers talks and seminars to raise awareness about the Multilingual Web and encourage participation in the work at the W3C. The 8th MultilingualWeb workshop was held in Riga, Latvia on 29 April 2015, in conjunction with the Riga Summit organized by the European Commission. As usual, a report is available, with summaries and videos of talks.
The Working Draft of Custom Counter Styles, which supports CSS Counter Styles Level 3, was kept up to date with changes to the CSS spec. It provides content authors with over 120 ready-made templates for counter styles in almost 30 writings systems from around the world. The group also continues to maintain and add to it's collection of articles for content developers, helping them understand and work with internationalisation-related features of the Web. See the list of techniques index for authoring HTML and CSS content, which points to resources on a task-by-task basis. Support for internationalization content and the user forum was also provided for the HTML5 "massive open online course" (MOOC) run by the W3C.
The Web is impacting all industries and more and more skilled people are needed to develop Web sites and Web applications using the latest available Web standards. We currently have two key initiatives to help address this need.
W3C has signed a partnership with edX (one of the 2 most widely-used massive online learning platforms). This led to the creation of W3Cx. W3Cx had its first HTML5 course in June-July 2015. It was a blockbuster (from edX's perspective) in terms of the high number of enrollees (87K+) and 10K of the students stayed engaged until the end of the course. Happily there were subsequently a large number of 5 stars reviews.
On September 30, 2015, we announced that we are strengthening our course offerings on edX with two more HTML5 courses and an XSeries Program dedicated to HTML5 composed of 2 MOOC courses: "HTML5 Part 1: HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices" and "HTML5 Part 2: Advanced Techniques for Designing HTML5 Apps", at an intermediate level. The first of these courses is already underway. In addition, an "Introduction to HTML5" course is also in the works, as this is in a high demand from edX users (which just reached 5 millions users). Given the fantastic success of the 1st course, W3C and edX are planning to continue working together.
W3DevCampus is W3C's official training program. It offers e-traditional teaching, i.e. with a teacher taking care of up to 100 students. We offer high quality online training courses (also on-site, upon request) on Web technologies. The courses are also offered in multiple languages — currently English and Spanish.
After each course, the student receives a certificate of course completion and a badge.
There has continued to be regular participation in major Internet Governance initiatives, including NMI, GIPO, and also attending ICANN face-to-face meetings in Singapore, Buenos Aires and Dublin. We also entered into new liaisons with peer organizations and groups, such as IIC, JTC 1 WG10, FIDO, Genivi, OGC, RDA, etc. See our public liaisons page for details of all liaisons.
In Europe, we participated and sent comments on the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation being drafted by the European Commission and the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP). We're also planning to support an SKOS submission to the MSP.
Lastly, at our request, OpenStand moved its copyright notice to Creative Commons (CC0) and internally the Liaisons team, in close collaboration with the AB, came up with a proposal for a Web Policy Interest Group, the PolIG.
As announced to AC members in June, the AC elected the following people to the Advisory Board:
An asterisk ("*") indicates the individual was re-elected. All terms start 1 July 2015. Four terms are for two years, until 30 June 2017. One term is for one year, until 30 June 2016. Tantek Çelik will serve the 1-year term, since he was the fifth highest vote getter, to fill the seat vacated by Art Barstow.
Continuing AB participants are: Virginie Galindo (Gemalto), Jay (Junichi) Kishigami (NTT), Soohong Daniel Park (Samsung Electronics), David Singer (Apple).
Look out for the next election period in April/May 2016.
Following a face-to-face meeting in May in Paris next to the AC meeting, the AB met most recently on 8-9 September 2015 in Seattle, USA, hosted by Microsoft. Some of the topics discussed were:
On 20 July 2015, the AB resolved to hold one hour calls every two weeks; specifically the first Monday and third Monday of every month. The times will always be from 2-3PM UTC. AB meeting summaries are available from the AB member-only page.
Task Force: Best practices to support multilingual W3C
At the 2015 AC meeting in Paris there was a trial of an #ac-questions IRC channel where questions could be typed in languages other than English, and multilingual volunteers from the AB, Offices and Team would translate them in real-time. The goal of the experiment was to facilitate participation from our international audience. In practice, the group naturally chose to feed back to this channel multilingual translations of the presentations. There is a more detailed report of the experiment.
After the July face-to-face meeting two findings were published:
A developer-focused "Meet the TAG" event was held as part of the TAG's face-to-face meeting in Berlin in July, hosted by Yandex. Minutes and other materials from the meeting are available on GitHub. A video of the developer meetup is available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BpsUYn6Z2o
The TAG then held a face-to-face meeting a couple of months later hosted by MIT in Boston, MA, USA, and with invited guest Cory Doctorow in attendance. There was a chance for local developers to meet the TAG at another developer meetup later in the evening.
The structural and policy changes we've made recently are lowering the barriers to influencing the Web's evolution. Developers, industry, browser vendors, indeed all users now have a better opportunity than ever to suggest enhancements, address issues and simply help make using the Web a better, safer experience. Naturally there is still a lot to do but the progress we're making together provides great hope for the future.
For all drafts and publications please see the Standards and Drafts search page.
To learn more about recent achievements and upcoming work of all W3C Working and Interest Groups, we have prepared updates for all activities. The Community Groups and Business Groups site provides access to the activities of those groups.