This report, released to the public early May, and dated 22 April 2022 was prepared for the April 2022 Virtual W3C Advisory Committee Meeting (member-only link).
We are proud to put the web standards into the web, and that our work is benefitting billions. The web, which just turned 33 this year, has been the ultimate tool of resilience for the world as the impact of the global pandemic continues to be a weighty blow to society. Perhaps the most crucial role the web played during the pandemic was allowing families and friends to remain connected. It has also been essential in enabling remote learning, making vaccine appointments, but also online shopping, and entertainment. It has helped countless businesses stay afloat. All of industry has been substantially aided by the web during the age of Covid. By the same token, it has made it possible for workers across all industries to interact if not perfectly, at least in a manner that allowed most to remain productive. Web access kept millions employed, no doubt preventing a full-on economic depression.
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 to enhance the web and innovate for its growth and strength.
That work is conducted by 42 working groups and 9 interest groups which enable W3C to pursue its mission through the creation of web standards, guidelines, and other specifications and supporting documents.
The work of the Consortium has increased significantly since our last report: 347 specifications are in active development, 168 of which aim to reach the status of W3C Recommendation (web standard). W3C Recommendations and other types of specifications and guidelines are published daily on all Standards and Drafts.
As the usage of the web intensifies, the needs for web technologies and web standards become greater. More organizations become W3C members with requests to help with their business and societal needs and we want to shepherd the future of the web. We must not take the web for granted. It can do more. It can be more. And it will take a collaborative effort to ensure the web becomes more accessible to people around the world, more secure, and can function as the engine to fuel growth in key parts of economy and society.
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 377 W3C community groups, and hosting W3C Workshops. There are lots of good ideas. The W3C strategy team works to identify promising topics for standardization and invites public participation.
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.
W3C Workshops recently completed:
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.
W3C may begin work on a Working Group or Interest Group charter at any time. When it does, the team informs the W3C Members and the public, aiming to raise awareness, even if no formal proposal is yet available, and welcome feedback.
There is work in progress on charters for the following groups:
This section focuses on the work of many W3C working groups that map to specific business ecosystems.
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.
A 2021 pilot of Secure Payment Confirmation (SPC) from Stripe showed that users completed 8% more purchases, that authentication was three times faster than one time passwords, and with negligible fraud.
This remains the focus of both the Web Payments Working Group and Web Payment Security Interest Group, and it was encouraging that in February 2022 the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG) offered a positive review.
Signaling strong industry interest, EMVCo announced support for SPC in version 2.3 of the EMV® 3-D Secure specification. W3C Members Airbnb and Adyen began their SPC pilot in January 2022 and Stripe has indicated plans to conduct a second experiment.
Related work taking place in parallel:
The web is the universal publishing platform and both impact each other. Publishing@W3C focuses on typography and layout, accessibility, usability, portability, distribution, archiving, offline access, print on demand, and reliable cross-referencing. The work done in this space benefits at the same time the traditional "trade" publishers, ebook reading system manufacturers, but also publishers of audiobooks, scholarly journals or educational materials, library scientists or browser developers.
The EPUB 3 Working Group maintains and clarifies the EPUB 3 family of specifications, represents the EPUB community in W3C, and supports 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. This note demonstrates that EPUB meets the EAA technical requirements. EPUB 3 publications that follow the recommendations and techniques described in EPUB Accessibility 1.1 and EPUB Accessibility Techniques 1.1 would also abide by the EU regulations.
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, and 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.
Beyond media streaming, work on WebGPU and WebTransport improves the experience of media on the web, by focusing on rendering, computing and transport technologies.
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.
With WebRTC a complete standard recognizing the interoperability of web browsers to enable real-time audio/video communications, the WebRTC Working Group has shifted effort towards bringing companion specifications Media Capture and Streams, and Screen Capture, to Recommendation.
In parallel, the group is reviewing technical proposals that enable the new use cases for WebRTC:
To ensure the resulting processing pipeline is provided as the smoothest performance, the latter work is coordinated and shared with the Media Working Group, the Web Machine Learning Working Group and the GPU on the Web Working Group.
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 in pure client/server situations. The group iterates regularly on its specification, WebTransport API.
🎥 Watch the WebTransport Working Group update video presentation (October 2021, 12 minutes) by Will Law.
The Web & Networks Interest Group explores the evolution in the networking layer and the web. Current focus is on:
The group also tracks the work of the Multicast Community Group which explores 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.
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.
With a goal to create a rich ecosystem for vehicles by running on the "head unit", the standard 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 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 the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol used in the automotive industry.
After incubation in the companion Automotive and Transportation Business Group, the Working Group published first public working drafts of Vehicle Signal Specification Ontology (VSSo) and Vehicle Signal Specification Core Ontology (VSSo Core).
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:
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.
🎥 Watch Web of Things videos (introduction, updates, tutorials, interviews)
The 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.
In February, the group rechartered for two years, adding marketing and outreach to its scope which the group aims to fulfill via the development of supporting materials such as implementation guidelines and tutorials, and the organization of PlugFest and Testing events.
With Web of Things a complete standard since 2020, the Web of Things Working Group will re-charter with the same scope, to continue work on operability profiles, discovery, lifecycle/onboarding, and ID management.
Web advertising is about making online advertising more effective and privacy-preserving, by identifying 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.
Launched in February 2022, the Private Advertising Technology Community Group is open to all and free to join. The group's mission is to incubate web features and APIs that support advertising while acting in the interests of users, in particular providing strong privacy assurances. Read the January 2022 article on adexchanger.
The Improving Web Advertising Business Group formed as a cross-industry forum for business representatives to discuss aspects of online advertising. It is addressing the joint goals of improving the web's support for advertising and meeting users' demands for privacy from cross-site tracking. The group also oversees liaisons with existing Working Groups and intends to create new Working Groups as needed.
The group's dashboard tracks issues across various discussion and incubation repositories.
Find in this section recent highlights from some of the W3C work groups that directly strengthen the Web.
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.
Having published the Web Audio API 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation in June 2021, the group is discussing various new features as updates for the specification.
A new charter for the group is being reviewed by the W3C Members. The scope remains unchanged but instead of starting a new specification (version 2) of the Web Audio API, the group plans to incrementally update the existing Web Audio API Recommendation.
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 the CSS Snapshot 2021, which collects into one definition all the specs that together form the current state of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as of 2021.
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. Some Formal Objections have been raised against the document by W3C Members, and the decision on those is still pending at the time of publication of this report.
The group plans to recharter after expiration of the current charter in June 2022. The details of the upcoming charter will be informed by the resolution of the Formal Objections.
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 is one of the recipients of the 3rd Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards. The award, jointly won with MPEG, is for the "Standardization of Font Technology for Custom Downloadable Fonts and Typography for Web and TV Devices".
The group continues work on Incremental Font Transfer which will merge with Incremental Font Transfer via Range Request. This collection of technologies allows to load only the portions of a font that is actually needed, which greatly speeds up rendering and reduces data transfer. A font can be loaded over multiple requests, each incrementally adding additional data.
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.
The HTML Working Group has been conducting the wide review to update the snapshots of HTML and DOM, in collaboration with the WHATWG
The group is in the process of drafting a new charter and was extended until 30 April 2022 to allow additional time for the group to resolve the issues raised during the horizontal review of the new charter.
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 for enabling efficient machine learning inference in the browser.
The group published a First Public Working Draft of the Web Neural Network API as well as an Web Neural Network API Explainer. The group is now charting its path toward a first Candidate Recommendation, with a focus on integration with other technologies (WebGPU, media processing) and integrating input from privacy, security and ethical reviews.
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 just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text.
The Math Working Group, chartered in April 2021, is continuing its work to revise Mathematical Markup Language, or MathML, so that features of the modern Web platform are compatible. MathML is a low-level specification for the Web and beyond, whose markup language makes mathematics first-class on the Web by describing mathematical notation and capturing both its structure and content, so that mathematical and scientific content is well displayed, accessible to people with disabilities, and searchable on the World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text.
The group is iterating on MathML Core, which defines a core subset of MathML that is suitable for browser implementation.
The MiniApps Working Group launched in January 2021 to produce specifications that facilitate the development of interoperable and robust MiniApps.
The working group published MiniApp Packaging as a First Public Working Draft; rewrote MiniApp Addressing (previously called MiniApp URI Scheme) to use http/https as the URI scheme and has resolved to publish the MiniApp Widget Requirements document as a Note. They are updating the MiniApp Standardization White Paper, including the main text and the comparison of APIs and discussing new features like Streaming.
The Timed Text Working Group is chartered to develop W3C Recommendations for media online captioning by developing and maintaining new versions of the Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) and WebVTT (Web Video Text Tracks) based on implementation experience and interoperability feedback, and the creation of semantic mappings between those languages.
The mission of the Verifiable Credentials Working Group (VCWG) is to make expressing and exchanging credentials that have been verified by a third party easier and more secure on the Web. The group was formerly known as Verifiable Claims Working Group.
The group, which is chartered until the end of April, is working on a new Working Group charter with the goal of publishing a version 2.0 of the Verifiable Credentials Data Model specification, as well as specifications to express proofs of integrity of verifiable credentials in an interoperable manner. The charter is expected to be sent for AC Review in April 2022.
The Web Applications Working Group produces specifications that facilitate the development of client-side web applications.
The Web Performance Working Group provides methods to measure aspects of application performance of user agent features and APIs.
This section focuses on the work of W3C work groups that underpins other technical work or directly impacts the entire set of stakeholders of the web community, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.
Data and digital transformation are increasingly important to society, especially with the rise of IoT, Big Data, and the opportunities around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning on one hand, and on the other, the need for greater flexibility and agility for adapting to change. Linked Data uses URIs as names for things that can be dereferenced to get further information, and included as links to other data. There are ever-increasing sources of open Linked Data on the web, as well as data services that are restricted to the suppliers and consumers of those services.
W3C has a mature and extensive suite of web standards relating to data. We are currently seeking Member input on priorities for future work on data-related standards and emerging opportunities for AI and machine learning. One topic of interest is simplifying semantic interoperability across different kinds of information systems, e.g. RDBMS, CSV files, Spreadsheets, Linked Data and Property Graphs. Another topic is the role of Linked Data in relation to trust and privacy for digital dataspaces and associated marketplaces. We are also examining ideas for supporting vocabulary development across a spectrum of maturity, and use cases, requirements and techniques for operating on imperfect knowledge (i.e., subject to uncertainties), incompleteness and inconsistencies, along with many kinds of automated reasoning.
W3C work groups in this space:
W3C groups which work is directly underpinned by data and knowledge:
Many data-related W3C Community Groups are preparing the ground for future standards with incubation work on RDF-star, the N3 rule language, Human-like AI, Linked Building Data, and more. A Working Group charter is in preparation for moving RDF-star to the W3C Recommendation track.
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.
The Privacy Community Group, formed in 2020, hosts incubation of new specifications. The group is seeing vibrant participation; its calls routinely draw 60 participants. Work items include:
The group is re-chartering to add new features including device-loss recovery and other API enhancements to the group's scope. The group is among those extended while Formal Objections raised against the proposed charter are resolved.
The group focuses on related work in adoption with the WebAuthn Adoption Community Group.
🎥 Watch a short Web Authentication Adoption Community Group video update (October 2021, 5 minutes) by Nick Steele.
The Web Application Security Working Group is working on cross-site leak mitigation and on documenting how to deploy the security tools it has developed. The group is among those extended while Formal Objections raised against the proposed charter are resolved.
The Privacy Interest Group (PING) does privacy reviews of other groups' specifications. It has been using new tooling to track issues, and it has had renewed success making WGs aware of privacy and fingerprinting issues in their specifications. PING is also writing a Target Privacy Threat Modeldocument.
Security reviews are done by a pool of volunteer reviewers coordinated by the team. We welcome more people in that pool; direct those interested to email@example.com. Issues raised are tracked using the same tooling used by PING.
Internationalization home page • Internationalization Initiative,• Educational materials related to Internationalization • Checklist for spec developers • Overview of language enablement work in progress
If the web is to live up to the "World Wide" portion of its name, and we are to create a web for all, it must support the needs of worldwide users as they engage with content in various languages. The growth of e-publishing also brings requirements for new features and improved typography on the web, and it is important to ensure that those changes capture the needs of local communities.
The W3C Internationalization activities pursue this goal by language enablement, developer support, and education & outreach. See below for recent work. For an overview of current projects see the i18n project radar
Documenting requirements for specific scripts and languages, and barriers to their use in technologies that exist or are currently in development. We welcome participation in this work
Reviews, discussion and advice for work groups (and sometimes for external initiatives at the Unicode Consortium or the IETF, etc.), and preparation of guidelines and checklists that work groups can use to do self-review or self-education, as well as projects that focus on a specific technological problem, as the need arises.
The Internationalization Working Group has been actively reviewing specifications and providing advice to other working 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.
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. Talks at conferences, etc.
The Internationalization Working Group is looking for additional participants. We particularly need people who can help with reviewing W3C and Unicode specifications. Please check whether YOUR organization can supply new participants in the Internationalization WG, and if so, please nominate them.
Please also consider whether your organization can provide sponsorship to help us increase resources at the W3C dedicated to internationalization (see the Internationalization Initiative overview), and contact Jeff Jaffe <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The various language enablement groups are also looking for additional participation from experts and practitioners for many languages, to contribute information to our gap analysis documents about the state of language support on the web around the world.
Don't forget to use the self-review checklist at FPWD and before requesting internationalization review, in order to spot internationalization concerns early enough to fix without pain. For assistance, see Request a review.
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.
For a tight and effective feedback loop between Web Standards development and Web developers, and growing participation from that diverse community.
W3Cx is W3C's partnership with edX since 2015 where we develop MOOCs on core Web technologies.
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 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: