[PROPOSED] 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.

This proposed charter is available on GitHub. Feel free to raise issues.

Charter Status See the group status page and detailed change history.
Start date [dd monthname yyyy] (date of the "Call for Participation", when the charter is approved)
End date [dd monthname yyyy] (Start date + 2 years)
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: The group may meet during the W3C’s annual W3C Technical Plenary / Advisory Committee Meetings Week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled, usually no more than 3 per year, per Process. Teleconference access to face-to-face meetings will be made available.


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.

Adopted Draft: WebDriver, https://www.w3.org/TR/2019/WD-webdriver2-20190912/, 12 September 2019.

Exclusion Draft: WebDriver, https://www.w3.org/TR/2019/WD-webdriver2-20190912/, 12 September 2019.
Exclusion Draft began on 12 September 2019, and ended on 11 February 2020.

Exclusion Draft Charter: https://www.w3.org/2018/12/browser-testing-tools.html

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

AT Driver

AT Driver defines a protocol for introspection and remote control of assistive technology (AT) such as screen readers, using a bidirectional communication channel.

Draft state: Editor's Draft

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

To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications in Candidate Recommendation or to features that have deployed implementations will have tests. Testing efforts will be conducted via the Web Platform Tests project.

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

Each specification will contain a section on accessibility that describes the benefits and impacts, including ways specification features can be used to address them, and recommendations for maximising accessibility in implementations.

This Working Group expects to follow the TAG Web Platform Design Principles.


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, 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.

Per the W3C Process Document, additional technical coordination will be conducted with the following groups:

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.

External Organizations

Web Platform Tests project
Coordination on mechanisms for automating tests that cannot be written purely using web-platform APIs.
Coordination on the Test Utils specification, which defines a set of APIs for use in tests but not suitable to enable for end users — and the primary client for which is the Web Platform Tests project’s web-platform-tests testsuite.


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 in its GitHub 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 group’s home page.

Most of the group’s teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work in its GitHub repos:

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 5.2.1, Consensus). 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 and/or web-based survey), with a response period from one week to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised on the mailing list 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 will be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 5.2.3, Deciding by Vote) 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 licensing information.


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 4.3 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 2011‑10‑13 2013‑12‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 2013‑01‑01 2015‑12‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 2016‑01‑01 2016‑03‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 2016‑05‑19 2017‑03‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 2017‑04‑01 2017‑09‑30 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 2017‑12‑01 2018‑06‑30 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 2018‑12‑01 2020‑12‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Charter Extension 2021‑01‑01 2021‑03‑31 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Rechartered 2021‑08‑10 2023‑08‑10 WebDriver BiDi deliverable added.
New Patent Policy 2020.
Charter Extension 2023‑08‑11 2024‑02-29 No changes in scope or deliverables.
Draft charter 2024‑nn‑nn 2026-nn-nn AT Driver deliverable added.