W3C

W3C Strategic Highlights
October 2021

This public report, dated 19 October 2021, was prepared for the October 2021 Virtual W3C Advisory Committee Meeting (member-only link), part of TPAC. For the previous edition, see the April 2021 W3C Strategic Highlights. For future editions of this report, please bookmark the latest version.

This document has been translated into Chinese.

Introduction

Vitality of the work of W3C

Usage of the Web and W3C standards intensifies as the global pandemic continues to weigh on society. The Web has become a key technical infrastructure in a world where travel and physical contacts need to be limited. People use it for e-commerce, home learning, telehealth, conducting business in new ways, entertainment or staying in touch with family and friends.

Many organizations joined the World Wide Web Consortium with greater need for web technologies. This includes both technologies that directly support the move to virtual, as well as technologies that address the needs of a changing society, such as issues in privacy and greater decentralization of the web.

Focus of this report

We are proud that W3C's work continues to be essential to the ways in which our world is meeting the challenge of the health crisis while working on the solutions for the web of the future.

This report highlights recent work done to enhance the Web platform, and innovate for its growth and strength so that the web remains a tool that has and will continue to accelerate scientific cooperation and discoveries, a social means to bridge families and friends, a way to learn online and grow skills, an instrument to conduct successful business, and much more.

42 working groups and 10 interest groups enable W3C to pursue its mission through the creation of Web standards, guidelines, and supporting materials.

We track the tremendous work done across the Consortium –299 specifications– through homogeneous work-spaces in Github which enables better monitoring and management. W3C Recommendations as well as all other types of documents published at W3C are available from all Standards and Drafts.

Future Web Standards

Identifying promising standardization areas

W3C uses a variety of mechanisms to engage community discussion on future Web standards: conversations with the Membership, liaising with other standards bodies, tracking the activity of thousands of participants in 360 W3C community groups, and hosting W3C Workshops. There are lots of good ideas. The W3C strategy team works to identifying promising topics for standardization and invites public participation.

W3C Workshops

W3C Workshops bring communities together around presentations, panels, breakouts, and virtual "hallway" sessions to spur collaboration on new work areas. While switching to virtual entailed a change in mode and some re-setting of schedules, we committed to making distributed meetings even more accessible and globally participatory. We announced last July that all W3C Workshops are to include standard accessibility accommodations such as English captions on pre-recorded presentations, real-time captioning during live sessions, and ASL or other sign language where possible upon request.

Upcoming W3C Workshop:

W3C Workshops recently completed:

W3C Strategy funnel

The Strategy incubation pipeline documents the exploration of potential new work in phases of Incubation and Evaluation, and eventually in the chartering stages of new standards groups. The W3C Strategy Team's incubation pipeline is a GitHub Project where new area are issues represented by “cards” which move through the columns, usually from left to right. Most cards start in Exploration and move towards Chartering, or move out of the pipeline.

Public input is welcome at any stage but particularly once Incubation has begun. This helps W3C identify work that is sufficiently incubated to warrant standardization, to review the ecosystem around the work and indicate interest in participating in its standardization, and then to draft a charter that reflects an appropriate scope. Ongoing feedback can speed up the overall standardization process.

🎥 Watch Open UI - A year in review (October 2021, 4 minutes), where Daniel Clark, Mason Freed, and Dave Rupert report on current work from the Open UI Community Group to improve the developer and user experience of creating web UI. The video gives a glimpse into this future going over <select> dropdowns, a new <popup> element and research into potentially a standardized tab UI solution.

Business ecosystems: Meeting Industry Needs

Web Payments & Web Commerce

W3C's payments standards enable a streamlined checkout process, giving a consistent user experience across the Web with lower front-end development costs for merchants. Users can store and reuse information and more quickly and accurately complete online transactions.

Secure Payment Confirmation (SPC)

Secure Payment Confirmation remains the focus of the Web Payments Working Group and Web Payment Security Interest Group. Spurred by the encouraging results of the Stripe experiment in March which showed that users completed 8% more purchases, that authentication was three times faster than one time passwords, and with negligible fraud:

W3C Members Airbnb and Adyen decided to experiment with SPC too, and Stripe will conduct a second experiment.

In October, EMVCo announced support for SPC in version 2.3 of the EMV® 3-D Secure protocol, which will help improve end-to-end interoperability and security of card payments on the Web.

Payment Request API

Payment Request API 1.0 was published as a Proposed Recommendation further to the removal of several features following privacy and Internationalization reviews. This specification and Payment Method Identifiers are still expected to reach Recommendation status in 2021.

Merchant Community Group

The W3C Merchant Community Group –formerly a Business Group- is a non-technical forum where participants discuss on a quarterly basis merchant challenges, how emerging Web technologies could help address them, and what additional Web capabilities may be necessary.

Digital Publishing

The Web is the universal publishing platform. Publishing is increasingly impacted by the Web, and the Web increasingly impacts Publishing. Topic of particular focus of Publishing@W3C (publication milestones) include typography and layout, accessibility, usability, portability, distribution, archiving, offline access, print on demand, and reliable cross referencing. And the diverse publishing community represented in the groups consist of the traditional "trade" publishers, ebook reading system manufacturers, but also publishers of audiobooks, scholarly journals or educational materials, library scientists or browser developers.

EPUB 3 Working Group

The EPUB 3 Working Group aims to maintain, develop and clarify the EPUB 3 family of specifications, to represent the EPUB community in W3C, and to support EPUB 3 content creators and consumers. An important outcome of the group is to significantly increase the interoperability of EPUB publications and reading systems.

Without changing the technical requirements, the group is actively improving the work to streamline and make the specifications more readeable: EPUB 3.3 (the authoring requirements for EPUB Publications), EPUB 3.3 Reading Systems and EPUB Accessibility 1.1 (both defining conformance requirements).

Among the several working group notes, EPUB Accessibility EU Accessibility Act Mapping is particularly important for Digital Book Publishers: per European Union directive European Accessibility Act (EAA), binding accessibility targets must be met. Member states have until the end of June 2022 to implement the EAA which will become applicable by the end of June 2025.

Audiobooks Working Group

The Audiobooks Working Group (formerly Publishing Working Group) has successfully completed its work and rechartered to maintain the audiobook specification (Publications Manifest, Audiobook profile for a Web Publication, and Lightweight Packaging Format.)

Publishing Business Group

The Publishing Business Group explores new areas of work and business needs generic to publishing on the web, by observing the community, reaching out and communicating as a forum.

The group is instrumental in the development of EPUBCheck.

Media and Entertainment

The Media and Entertainment activity (Roadmap: Overview of Media Technologies for the Web) tracks and standardizes media-related capabilities and features needed to create immersive experiences. HTML5, TTML and TTML profiles, WebVTT, brought standard audio, video and captions to the Web and have revolutionized the media pipeline and media consumption worldwide, turning the Web into a professional platform fully suitable for the delivery of media content.

Reinforce core media support

Reduce fragmentation

Create the future

  • Joint W3C/SMPTE Workshop on Professional Media Production planned in November 2021, to evaluate how the Web platform may be used to manipulate professional media assets stored in the cloud to run media production steps.
  • The Media Working Group makes fast progress on the WebCodecs specification, which gives applications more control over media encoding/decoding and enables efficient media processing scenarios (in realtime and non-realtime scenarios).
  • The GPU for the Web Working Group actively develops the WebGPU and WebGPU Shading Language specifications to harness GPUs for graphics and computing purpose.
  • The Web Transport Working Group actively develops the WebTransport API that could become a useful technology for low-latency media streaming scenarios (live streaming, cloud gaming).
  • The Games Community Group organizes monthly calls to explore game technologies and needs, alternating calls with speakers and workshop-like calls for discussion. For example, the August 2021 workshop was on game virality on the Web.
  • The Immersive Web Working Group is stabilizing the WebXR Device API and companion specs to enable VR/AR experiences.
    🎥 Watch a short demo of WebXR (October 2021, 2 minutes), where Ada Rose Cannon introduces new features of WebXR: hit-testing, lighting estimation, depth sensing API, XR anchors and WebXR Navigation.

Network & Communications

The Web is the Open Platform for Mobile. Telecommunication service providers and network equipment providers have long been critical actors in the deployment of Web technologies. As the Web platform matures, it brings richer and richer capabilities to extend existing services to new users and devices, and propose new and innovative services.

Real-Time Communications (WebRTC)

WebRTC logo

WebRTC became a standard in January 2021, recognizing the wide availability of interoperable primitives in Web browsers to enable real-time audio/video communications, of particular impact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WebRTC Working Group has shifted its efforts towards bringing its companion specifications Media Capture and Streams and Screen Capture to Recommendation, and in parallel, the group is reviewing technical proposals that enable the new use cases for WebRTC: WebRTC Encoded Transform, which among other things will open the way for fully end-to-end encrypted teleconferences in Web browsers.

WebTransport

Chartered in September 2020 and operating in collaboration with the IETF's WEBTRANS Working Group, the WebTransport Working Group exposes low-level network primitives inspired by those from the WebRTC API, enabling them in more contexts, in particular, to make it easier to deploy in pure client/server situations. The group released a First Public Working Draft of its API.

🎥 Watch the WebTransport Working Group update video presentation (October 2021, 12 minutes) by Will Law.

Web & Networks

The Web & Networks Interest Group rechartered in April 2021 to continue work on the impact of Edge Computing on the Web platform and explore how to incorporate network quality monitoring and prediction in Web browsers. The latter topic has seen the emergence of a possible opportunity to standardize network trace formats to facilitate the capture and emulation of specific network conditions.

Recent launch, together with the Media and Entertainment Interest Group, of the Multicast Community Group, aimed to explore whether and how to make use of multicast network distribution via Web browsers, in a manner similar to what WebRTC did with real-time networking.

🎥 Watch Multicast for the Web (October 2021, 3 minutes), where Jake Holland introduces the newly formed multicast community group and gives a brief overview of why multicast is important and the work that is done to make it viable on the Web.

Automotive and Transportation

Shared data associated with transportation has great potential for improving the user experience, with opportunities to offer enhanced information, entertainment, efficiency, maintenance, safety, and convenience. Parallel advances in sensors, communications, cloud and data analytics infrastructure, geophysical mapping, machine learning, mobile devices, user interfaces and related areas have created a rich foundation that can offer tremendous opportunity for creating value. The work in automotive and transporation addresses the need for standards in a connected vehicle ecosystem, modes of transportation and related services.

W3C Automotive Working Group

The W3C Automotive Working Group still learns from real world experiences from the first Vehicle Information Service Specification (VISS), which is in production vehicles, and whose version 2 was recently published as First Public Working Draft.

The standard, which aims to create a rich ecosystem for vehicles by running on the "head unit", provides an access method to a common data model for all the signals information available on vehicles, such as engine temperature, fuel/charge level, range, tire pressure etc. It currently knows about a thousand and will be growing to accommodate advances such as electrification, autonomous and driver assist technologies.

VISS version 2 includes HTTP REST in addition to WebSocket, addresses access control authorization, and a robust authentication model. This version also improves data feed subscriptions. A reference implementation is currently exploring supporting MQTT protocol which is used in the automotive industry.

W3C Automotive and Transportation Business Group

The Automotive and Transportation Business Group fosters and advances the adoption and continued development of W3C Automotive Working Group's standards including coordinating with the broader transportation information space, and acting as an incubator for future standards work. The group also works with the data architects from ISO JTC1 WG11 SmartCities. Recent work includes:

  • Coordination with GENIVI on on Common Vehicle Interface Initiative, and advancing the second release of Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS) which refactored the underlying data model
  • Development of VSS ontology (VSSo)
  • Initial specification development of Remote Procedure Call proposal from Jaguar Land Rover and accompanying service catalog for vehicle interactions
  • Development of In-Vehicle application Best Practices to address privacy, business, safety and security concerns
  • Development of Policy Guidelines surrounding data usage, in coordination with other groups
  • Promotion of VSS, VSSo and W3C Automotive service standards
  • Formation of the Transportation Ontology Coordination Committee with W3C, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), ISO Intelligent Transportation Systems, and ISO SmartCities
  • Continued incubation for W3C Automotive Working Group

Web of Things

WoT logo

W3C's Web of Things work is designed to bridge disparate technology stacks to allow devices to work together and achieve scale, thus enabling the potential of the Internet of Things by eliminating fragmentation and fostering interoperability. The Web of Things complements existing IoT ecosystems to reduce the cost and risk for suppliers and consumers of applications that create value by combining multiple devices and information services. There are many sectors that will benefit, e.g. smart homes, smart cities, smart industry, smart agriculture, smart healthcare and many more. A suite of videos introduce the Web of Things (WoT) standardization activities.

Web of Things Working Group

The Web of Things Working Group finished the initial Web of Things standards in 2020 and rechartered to work on interoperability profiles, discovery, lifecycle/onboarding, and ID management.

Web of Things Interest Group

The companion Web of Things Interest Group brings together stakeholders to explore ideas prior to standardization by liaising with external standards development organizations and industry alliances. The group seeks to build a shared understanding of the Web of Things and to identify opportunities for initiating W3C standards-track work.

Web advertising

The Improving Web Advertising Business Group formed as a cross-industry forum for business representatives to discuss how online advertising could be made more effective and privacy-preserving.

The group seeks to identify areas where standards and changes in the Web itself can improve the ecosystem and experience for users, advertisers, publishers, distributors, ad networks, agencies, and others. The group also oversees liaisons with existing Working Groups and intends to create new Working Groups as needed.

The group aims to refine and incubate ideas and proposals, match how they fit with important use-cases for privacy-protective advertising on the Web.

The group's dashboard tracks issues across various discussion and incubation repositories.

W3C Project Management: Strengthening the Core of the Web

Audio

The Web Audio Working Group adds advanced sound and music synthesis capabilities to the Open Web Platform.

Web Audio 1.0, which is implemented in all browsers, enables synthesizing audio in the browser. Audio operations are performed with audio nodes, which are linked together to form a modular audio routing graph. Multiple sources — with different types of channel layout — are supported. This modular design provides the flexibility to create complex audio functions with dynamic effects.

The group published the Web Audio API 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation in June, adding to the Web platform the standard means to manipulate music and create audio directly from the Web browser, including in a collaborative and interactive fashion.

Web Audio is used in many applications including: SoundCloud, Mozilla Hubs, Firefox Mixed Reality, Ableton, Google Meet and Stadia, SoundTrap, Amped Studio, BandLab, BeatPort, Soundation, Leimma & Apotome, and Spotify.

Work has started on an 2nd version, in conjunction with the Web Audio Community Group. This version will build on and enrich the first version of the API, adding more complex and much-requested features.

Browser Testing and Tools

The Browser Testing and Tools Working Group aims to create technologies for automating web browsers, with a focus to enabling automated testing of web applications running inside those browsers while accounting for differences between browser engines.

WebDriver became a W3C recommendation in 2018, providing an HTTP-based protocol for simulating user interaction with a website, executing a script, in order to provide end-to-end testing and to make writing tests very easy in a wide variety of programming languages.

But when automation tools are tied to specific browsers, developers have to decide whether to opt for advanced features or cross-browser support and that's a problem for the open web. The group is developing a 2nd version of WebDriver, because it is important for the health of the Web to give the browser automation ecosystem a basis in standards. This version aims to be able to observe internal state changes happening in the browser, much as developer tools do, and to address the non-determinism that can be introduced by modern web applications that use scripts which might invoke network requests.

The group also develops WebDriver BiDi, a slightly lower-level protocol, to send events directly to the automation tool, rather than only respond to commands.

🎥 Watch the browser testing and tools Working Group update video presentation (October 2021, 11 minutes) by James Graham.

CSS

CSS is a critical part of the Open Web Platform. The CSS Working Group gathers requirements for better pagination support and advanced font handling, as well as intelligent (and fast!) scrolling and animations. CSS is a collection of over a hundred specifications, referred to as ‘modules’. The current state of CSS is defined by a snapshot, updated once a year. The group also publishes an index defining every term defined by CSS specifications.

Since our last report, the group published 1 W3C Recommendation and 5 Candidate Recommendations. With 100 or more Editors drafts, the CSS working group is a regular publisher.

🎥 Watch short recent videos (October 2021) to understand how Cascade Layers, Container Queries and Scope improve the architecture of CSS in a short overview and demo by Miriam Suzanne (6 minutes), and learn about Nesting CSS with Adam Argyle live coding (3 minutes).

Dataset Exchange

The Dataset Exchange Working Group is chartered to maintain and develop the Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) which is an interoperable and reusable data assets catalogue, and Content Negotiation by Profile, a specification which is useful when requesting and serving data on the Web.

The group is currently developing the third version of DCAT and adding features to it. The specification is intended as an evergreen standard regularly updated to address users' requirements.

🎥 Watch the Dataset Exchange Working Group update video presentation (October 2021, 6 minutes) by Peter Winstanley.

Decentralized Identifier

The Decentralized Identifier Working Group specifies digital identifiers that are easy to create, decentralized, persistent, resolvable, and cryptographically verifiable. Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) are defined as specific URI schemes that have an associated DID Document which contains primarily cryptographic information that allows any agent to check the integrity of the defined subject; allows to exchange private information with the subject and to get information on the services (e.g., Web sites) related to it. The DID documents are specified via an abstract data model that can be serialized in various formats and can be stored on various types of distributed ledgers, on Web storage systems.

The group has published DID Identifiers v1.0 as a Proposed Recommendation which is when W3C Members give their final review, and is the last step before publication as a Web standard. The group will recharter, probably as a maintenance group.

Devices and Sensors

The Devices and Sensors Working Group aims to create secure and privacy-preserving client-side APIs that enable the development of web applications that interact with device capabilities.

Since the group rechartered at the end of 2020 it published a First Public Working Draft of the Screen Fold API (since then renamed Device Posture API), and plans to update its charter to add the Contact Picker API to the list of specifications it works on.

Web Editing

The Web Editing Working Group aims to explore limitations in existing browser primitives, provide use cases for new APIs and suggest solutions either by standardizing existing behaviors or introducing new APIs relevant for text editing. The goal is to facilitate the creation of fully-featured editing systems as well as small editors using JavaScript.

W3C launched earlier this year a working group that standardizes features relevant for text editing –a work that has been ongoing for more than seven years.

The group published last August a First Public Working Draft of VirtualKeyboard API, which provides authors with greater control over the visibility of the virtual keyboard (VK), and greater ability to adapt the layout of web pages when VK visibility changes.

There is also work on EditContext – a new API which decouples texting input from the DOM and enables web-based editors to have full control of DOM while handling the user text input.

🎥 Watch the Web Editing Working Group update video presentation which includes a demo of virtual keyboard APIs (October 2021, 6 minutes), by Johannes Wilm, Alex Keng and Anupam Snigdha.

Fonts

Web Fonts are used for languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, where downloading entire fonts is too costly; and Arabic and Indic languages, where subsetted Web Fonts often do not work correctly. The Web Fonts Working Group develops specifications that allow the interoperable deployment of downloadable fonts on the Web, with a focus on Progressive Font Enrichment (PFE) as well as maintenance of WOFF Recommendations.

The Web Fonts Working Group published a First Public Working Draft of Incremental Font Transfer, which allows to load only the portions of a font that is actually need, which greatly speeds up loading and reduces data transfer. A font can be loaded over multiple requests, each incrementally adding additional data.

This work builds on the evaluation report for progressive font enrichment which looked at group of languages currently unable to use Webfonts (e.g., Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK)) due to the very large file sizes, and evaluated solutions that would allow WebFonts to be used where slow networks, very large fonts, or complex subsetting requirements currently preclude their use.

HTML

HTML is the core markup language of the World Wide Web, a foundational technology upon which websites are built. Originally, HTML was primarily designed as a language for semantically describing scientific documents. Its general design, however, has enabled it to be adapted, over the subsequent years, to describe a number of other types of documents and even applications.

Taking into account reviews from the W3C community, tracked by the HTML Working Group, W3C Members endorsed in January the first snapshot of HTML, and expects to endorse a snapshot of DOM, which defines a platform-neutral model for events, aborting activities, and node trees.

The group is working on a renewing its charter for 2021-2023. It will maintain the expectations to publish a snapshot of HTML and DOM every year, and to take into account the needs of the global community, and continues to improve in areas such as accessibility, internationalization and privacy while providing greater interoperability, performance and security.

Web Machine Learning

Enabling efficient machine learning inference in the browser, as opposed to in the cloud, enhances privacy and allows local processing requiring low latency, such as object detection in immersive web experiences, as well as access to platform capabilities and dedicated hardware.

The Web Machine Learning Working Group launched in April 2021 to develop APIs following a two-year incubation period in the companion Web Machine Learning Community Group which is anticipated to continue to gather requirements and initiate specification development.

The group published last June a First Public Working Draft of Web Neural Network API as well as subsequent working drafts. It also published a Web Neural Network API Explainer.

🎥 Watch a short video where Wanming Lin compares Web Neural Network API Performance (October 2021, 2 minutes).

Math

MathML is a low-level specification for the Web and beyond, which makes mathematics first-class on the Web so that mathematical and scientific content is well displayed, accessible to people with disabilities, and searchable.

The Math Working Group was chartered in April 2021 to revise MathML so that features of the modern Web platform are compatible.

MathML 4 will build upon previous versions of the language (MathML 1, a 1999 web standard; MathML 2 published as a Recommendation in 2001 and revised as a second edition in 2003; and MathML 3, published as a Recommendation in 2010 and revised as a second edition in 2014), as well as the experience with needs for accessibility, and many years of practical experience and use.

The group published a First Public Working Draft of MathML Core last August, and subsequent working draft. The specification defines the core subset of Mathematical Markup Language that is suitable for browser implementation.

MiniApps

MiniApps are hybrid mobile apps that are small, install-free, fast-loading, that use web technologies (especially CSS and JavaScript) and integrate with capabilities of Native Apps.

The MiniApps Working Group published as First Public Working Draft MiniApp Lifecycle and MiniApp Manifest, and is soon going to publish as such MiniApp Packaging.

An important change is that the group is rewriting the MiniApp URI Scheme to use http/https.

The companion MiniApps Ecosystem Community Group is incubating new proposals, among which are Miniapp for IoT and Miniapp Common UI Components.

Web Applications

The Web Applications Working Group produces specifications that facilitate the development of client-side web applications.

The group recently published a Candidate Recommendation Draft of ARIA in HTML in August, and a First Public Working Draft of Indexed Database API 3.0 last March.

🎥 Watch the Web Applications Working Group update video presentation and demos (October 2021, 2 minutes) in which Marcos Caceres shows how the specifications developed by the group allow to build Web applications that integrate better with their computing environment. In a second recent video, Diego González gives tips for integrating your PWA into your desktop environment (October 2021, 13 minutes).

WebAssembly

The WebAssembly 1.0 Recommendation is a virtual machine and execution environment widely deployed in browsers and stand-alone environments, that enables near-native performance, optimized load time, and perhaps most importantly, a compilation target for existing code bases.

The WebAssembly Working Group, working with companion WebAssembly Community Group where proposals are incubated before graduating to the former for final specification, has been specifying many features to add to the standard which improve performance, enable use of hardware capabilities, handle more efficient support for language features, or improve integration between compile language and JS/Web.

🎥 Watch the Web Assembly Community and Working Groups updates video presentation (October 2021, 12 minutes) by co-chairs Derek Schuff and Luke Wagner.

Web for All

Technical Architecture Group (TAG)

TAG logo

The W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG), created in 2001, is a special working group chartered with stewardship of the Web architecture. The mission of the group is:

  • to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary;
  • to resolve issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG;
  • to help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.

The elected Members of the TAG participate as individual contributors, not as representatives of their organizations. TAG participants use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user.

Reviews, Findings, Guidance

The group operates according to the following 3 axes: review of documents from other work groups that have a bearing on Web architecture to support other W3C work groups along with other horizontal review groups, publication of findings (such as the Ethical Web Principles document or Unsanctioned Web Tracking), and creation of guidance (including the foundational Self-Review Questionnaire: Security and Privacy which is a pre-requisite for documents reviews, but also the Web Platform Design Principles).

Ethical Web Principles

The group recently updated the Ethical Web Principles with some additional text in the intro around harmful patterns, and adjustments to the text on sustainability.

Web Platform Design Principles

New principles were added to the Web Platform Design Principles: use of DOMHighResTimeStamp, factory methods vs. constructors, and designing APIs on top of a hardware or device capability.

🎥 Watch a still current video from last year W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG) update: Principles for the Web (October 2020, 13 minutes), and read the October 2021 TAG update.

Security & Privacy Questionnaire

The TAG added text to both the Security & Privacy Questionnaire and the Web Platform Design Principles covering the topic of "non-'fully active' documents".

Security, Privacy

Privacy and security – integral to human rights and civil liberties – have long been important in the Web Consortium's agenda. For example, our work has been instrumental in improving Web security through the development of authentication technologies that can replace weak passwords and reduce the threats of phishing and other attacks.

However, users rightly fear the misuse of their personal data and being tracked online, including browser fingerprinting, the spread of disinformation, and other online harms. These are difficult and urgent challenges. We have begun discussions about how to help users find trustworthy content on the Web without increasing censorship.

Privacy incubation

The Privacy Community Group hosts incubation of new privacy-focused specification and APIs, as well as monthly calls which regularly attract vibrant participation. Recent work items include:

Unlinkable and unphishable authentication

The Web Authentication Working Group published WebAuthn Level 2 as a W3C Recommendation and a First Public Working Draft of Web Authentication Level 3 in April. The group is re-chartering to work on new features including device-loss recovery and other API enhancements.

The companion WebAuthn Adoption Community Group aims to lift obstacles that might prevent developers from adopting WebAuthn, and help developers and users of the specification to improve adoption of its interoperable security.

🎥 Watch a short Web Authentication Adoption Community Group video update (October 2021, 5 minutes) by Nick Steele.

W3C Member Yubico and W3C collaborated to design for W3Cx (W3C's MOOC platform) the first online Web Authentication course for developers. Titled “Introduction to Web Authentication”, the course equips learners with the knowledge to replace aging password-based credentials with a secure model that incorporates strong authentication.

Web Application Security

The Web Application Security Working Group published a new Note on Post-Spectre Web Development, which outlines a threat model we can share, and a set of mitigation recommendations. The group is in the process of re-chartering.

Privacy and Security reviews

The Privacy Interest Group (PING) does privacy reviews of other groups' specifications. It has been using new tooling to track issues and has had renewed success making groups aware of privacy and fingerprinting issues in their specifications. The group is also writing a Target Privacy Threat Model document.

Security reviews are done by a pool of volunteer reviewers coordinated by the W3C team. We welcome more people in that pool. Issues raised are tracked using the same tooling used by PING.

Internationalization (i18n)

Educational articles related to Internationalizationspec developers checklistoverview of language enablement work in progressInternationalization Initiative

Only a quarter of the world's population of almost 8 billion speaks English, and yet over 50% of online content is written in that one language. Those whose voice and language are not included on the Web are marginalized and excluded. They do not receive the economic, educational or democratic benefits of the Web and by not having their presence and participation, we lose the potential of the Web to reflect the full richness of the world.

The Web Consortium launched the Internationalization Activity (i18n) in 1998 to make the Web truly 'world wide'. For the Web to truly work for stakeholders all around the world engaging with content in various languages, there must be a collaboration of language experts, Web site designers, developers, and vendors who are active in moving the Web forward. We will only be able to connect all communities that share a language when the Web supports all the world's languages and international typography.

For an overview of current projects see the i18n radar.

Can you fund Web Internationalization?

The Internationalization initiative allows sponsors to fund extra resources in i18n beyond what the core membership funding covers. Additional funding increases resources allocated to this crucial empowering work.

If you can donate time and expertise, please join to contribute in the key areas of Language enablement, Developer support, and Author support (education & outreach).

Language enablement

Documentation of requirements for specific scripts and languages, and of barriers to their use in technologies that exist or are currently in development.

  • [New] Gap-Analysis Pipeline: A dashboard to identify critical missing pieces of the internationalized Web and track support for filling those gaps.
    The tool shows distinct issues, pointers to underlying issues and needed next steps.
  • [New] feature support: WebKit support for isolation of bidirectional text closed a key gap in supporting scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Adlam, and pages with both left-to-right and right-to-left text. Chrome implementation of CSS Counter Styles improves local customization of numbered lists and headings.
  • Japanese and Chinese layout task forces continue to meet regularly and are actively working on their documents. We need additional participants to drive the work, notably on Arabic, Southeast Asian, Indic, European, African and Americas languages.

For a summary of current status, see the language matrix and the gap-analysis pipeline. Read more on language enablement.

Developer support

Reviews, discussion and advice for W3C work groups (and sometimes for external initiatives at the Unicode Consortium or the IETF, etc.) and preparation of guidelines and checklists that groups can use to do self-review or self-education, as well as focus on specific technological problems.

The Internationalization Working Group has been active reviewing specifications and providing advice to other work groups. Completed and in-progress reviews are listed in the Review Radar and issues we are tracking or discussing are listed in the Review Tracker.

Author support (education & outreach)

Articles to help content authors, spec developers, and implementers understand and use i18n features. I18N advice for courses, maintenance of an i18n checker for authors of web pages.

See HTML & CSS Authoring Techniques, and other educational Internationalization techniques.

Web Accessibility

logo of the Web Accessibility Initiative

WAI newsAccessibility fundamentalsBusiness case for digital accessibilityWAI translationsparticipating in WAI

The Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), launched in 1997, develops technical specifications and outreach and training materials that promote awareness and implementation of web accessibility. WAI’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is regarded as the authoritative international standard for Web accessibility, and has been adopted or referenced by many governments around the world.

As the complexity of the Web increases, as technologies as diverse as digital publishing and virtual reality converge onto the Web, the need for up-to-date accessibility support in advanced technologies is increasing. WAI supports W3C's Web for All mission, and helps ensure a cohesive program of coordinated accessibility activities, distributed across all areas of W3C.

WAI guidelines

How important is Web Accsssibility in times where Covid is impacting people with disabilities?

Other progress on the technical side of Web accessibility

Learning more about accessibility

Outreach to the world

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W3C Developer Relations

For a tight and effective feedback loop between Web Standards development and Web developers, and growing participation from that diverse community.

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W3C Training

W3Cx is W3C's partnership with edX since 2015 where we develop MOOCs on core Web technologies.

Translations

Many Web users rely on translations of documents developed at W3C whose official language is English.

W3C is extremely grateful to the continuous efforts of its community in ensuring our various deliverables in general, and in our specifications in particular, are made available in other languages, for free, ensuring their exposure to a much more diverse set of readers.

Please, refer to the instructions in order to contribute translations.

W3C Liaisons

W3C engages in liaisons and coordination with numerous organizations and Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) who develope internet or web standards, to coordinate the development of the Web.

The goals of liaisons and coordination are:

  • make sure standards are interoperable
  • ensure the global set of Web and Internet standards form a compatible stack of technologies, at the technical and policy level (patent regime, fragmentation, use in policy making)
  • promote Standards adoption equally by the industry, the public sector, and the public at large
  • coordinate our respective agenda in Internet governance (W3C participates in ICANN, IETF, ISOC, IAB, GIPO, IGF)
  • ensure at the government liaison level that our standards work is officially recognized so that products based on them are part of procurement orders (W3C has ARO/PAS status with ISO. W3C participates in the EU MSP and Rolling Plan on Standardization.)