Browser Testing and Tools Working Group Charter

The mission of the Browser Testing and Tools Working Group is to produce technologies for automating testing of Web applications running in browsers.

Join the Browser Testing and Tools Working Group.

Start date 10 August 2021
End date 29 June 2024
Charter extension See Change History.
Chairs David Burns, W3C Invited Expert
Team Contacts Michael[tm] Smith (0.05 FTE)
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: On an as-needed basis, up to once a week
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, usually no more than 3 per year.


The scope of the Browser Testing and Tools Working Group includes protocols and APIs for the purpose of automating testing of Web applications running in browsers—for example, to simulate user actions such as clicking links, entering text, and submitting forms.


Draft state indicates the state of the deliverable at the time of the charter approval. The Working Group intends to publish the latest state of their work as Candidate Recommendation and does not intend to advance their documents to Recommendation (no explicit milestones). The Group expects to continuously update the Candidate Recommendation once it reaches that stage.

Normative Specifications

The Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications:


WebDriver is a remote control interface that enables introspection and control of user agents. It provides a platform- and language-neutral wire protocol as a way for out-of-process programs to remotely instruct the behavior of web browsers.

Draft state: Working Draft

Expected completion: Candidate Recommendation Snapshots

Adopted Draft: WebDriver, W3C Working Draft 24 August 2020

Exclusion Draft: W3C, First Public Working Draft 12 September 2019. Exclusion period 12-Sep-2019; Exclusion period 09-Feb-2020.

Other Charter:

WebDriver Bidirectional Protocol

The WebDriver Bidirectional Protocol extends WebDriver by introducing a bidirectional communication mechanism; in place of the strict command/response format of WebDriver, that bidirectional communication mechanism permits events to stream from the user agent to the controlling software, better matching the evented nature of the browser DOM.

Draft state: Editor's Draft

Expected completion: Candidate Recommendation Snapshots

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.

Success Criteria

Each specification should contain separate sections detailing all known security and privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

There should be testing plans for each specification, starting from the earliest drafts.

To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications should have tests.

All new features should be supported by at least two implementers stating their support for said feature before being incorporated in the specification.


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD. The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before first entering CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

Web Applications Working Group
This group facilitates the development of client-side web applications.
CSS Working Group
This group develops and maintains CSS.
Media and Entertainment Interest Group
This group provides a forum for media-related technical discussions to track progress of media features on the Web
Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group
This group ensures W3C specifications provide support for accessibility to people with disabilities, and there is a possibility of relevant accessibility considerations in APIs for browser testing.


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

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed in public repositories and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Browser Testing and Tools Working Group home page.

Most Browser Testing and Tools Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work on the public mailing list (archive) and on GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group may 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.

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 3.3). 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 and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email, GitHub issue or web-based survey), with a response period of 10 calendar days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs or the Director.

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

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Web specifications 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.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 5.2 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.

Charter History

The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (section 5.2.3):

Charter Period Start Date End Date Changes
Initial Charter 13 October 2011 31 December 2013 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 1 January 2016 31 March 2016 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 19 May 2016 31 March 2017 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 1 April 2017 30 September 2017 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 1 October 2017 30 June 2018 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 1 December 2018 31 December 2020 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 1 January 2021 31 March 2021 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 10 August 2021 10 August 2023 WebDriver Bidirectional Protocol deliverable added. New Patent Policy 2020.
Charter Extension 13 November 2023 29 February 2024 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 16 May 2024 29 June 2024 No changes in scope or deliverables. An updated charter is under review (see proposed chart).