The UK & Ireland W3C Office joined twelve UK and Irish companies at the Technical Plenary Advisory Committee Meetings Week in Portugal between 19-23 September 2016, to come to agreement about the future of the World Wide Web for publishing, data exchange, financial information and many other areas of interest to our Digital Economy.
The purpose of the W3C office is to support its national members and to promote the areas of current development in the future of the Web. So we joined the more than 550 experts in Web technologies gathered to address challenges and new opportunities for the future of the Web’s technical roadmap and standardization work. Hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), whose mission is “to lead the Web to its full potential” by standardizing Web technologies, the annual W3C Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee (TPAC) Meeting included nearly 40 sessions of formally chartered groups engaged in standards-related work. Another 40 informal break-out sessions discussed emerging technologies that may benefit from standardization work at W3C.
At the conference, Web Inventor and W3C Director Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave a keynote address in which he thanked and encouraged his fellow Web technologists to sustain his original vision for an open, interoperable and decentralized Web for everyone in the world.
On 6 August, the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Web being offered as a publicly available service. Since its invention by Berners-Lee in 1989, the Web has evolved to have rich video and graphics capabilities, work on multiple devices, appear in many languages and be accessible for those with disabilities. These advancements rely significantly on open Web standards, the technical building blocks that make the Web open, interoperable and accessible, developed at the World Wide Web Consortium.
“Members of the W3C and the larger Web community carry a great responsibility to shape the future of Web technologies,” said Dr. Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “Most people take for granted that the Web just works for them, but the foundational technologies that make the Web work for everyone are developed by highly skilled and dedicated technology experts in the W3C community. This year’s TPAC meetings underscored the importance and impact of W3C’s work.”
Topping the technical discussions of the groups chartered by W3C were advancements to the Open Web Platform and specific industry requirements for the next generation Web:
WCAG 2.0 is the foundational standard for accessible Web sites and is widely adopted worldwide by governments and organizations. The community discussed next steps to expand features and charter new work for WCAG 2.1 by next year and to provide even more robust horizontal reviews of all W3C standards to ensure they are accessible. ARIA 1.1 is ready to advance to Candidate Recommendation and is evaluating implementations.
The Web and Automotive Working Group is enabling Web connectivity through in-vehicle infotainment systems and vehicle data access protocols. This means consumers will soon have access to more data and services from their vehicles such as road, weather and shopping information.
- Digital Publishing
The Publishing Community and Digital Publishing Interest Group are collaborating on the evolution of electronic books and how to bring the requirements of authors, publishers and readers to the Web for richer reading and learning experiences, both online and offline.
The Web and TV Interest Group discussed new features from the entertainment industry. The TV Control Working Group is bringing broadcast content to Web pages and the Second Screen Presentation Working Group is defining an API (Application Programming Interface) that enables Web pages to use secondary screens to display Web content.
The Web Real Time Communications Working Group is bringing audio and video communications anywhere, on any network.
- Open Web Platform
The CSS Working Group completed six new Recommendations in 2016 and has 22 more in Candidate Recommendation phase, including Flexible Box Layout level 1. The Web Platform Working Group has advanced HTML 5.1 to Candidate Recommendation status and expects it to become a standard in the Fall. At the same time, the group has already released a First Public Working Draft of HTML 5.2. Expanding media capabilities, Media Source Extensions (MSE) is on track to become a Recommendation in early November. The Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) has proposed a revised timeline to complete test suite work in response to new resource support from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
- Web of Data
The Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group has set out guidance to ensure that Data on the Web is shared, openly or not, with maximum interoperability. The group encourages the submission of implementations from users, having published a Candidate Recommendation of Data on the Web Best Practices. The work fits into a wider perspective covering geospatial data, licenses and more.
- Web Payments
The Web Payments Working Group is developing an API to streamline the online “check-out” process and make payments easier and more secure on the Web.
- Web Security
The Web Authentication Working Group advanced work on more secure and flexible alternatives to password-based log-ins on the Web. The Web Application Security Working Group will soon finalize Content Security Policy level 2.
- Web of Things
The Web of Things Interest Group seeks to counter the fragmentation of the Internet of Things (IoT) through standardized metadata that enables easy integration across IoT platforms and application domains. The Interest Group puts a strong emphasis on interoperability experiments through regular plugfests. They are reviewing a proposed charter for a Web of Things Working Group.
In addition to the meetings of the formally chartered Working and Interest Groups for W3C members, for the first time the W3C hosted more than 20 W3C Community Group that are incubating ideas for future Web technologies. Among the topics of high interest in the Community Groups and breakout sessions were blockchain, virtual reality (VR/AR), Web bluetooth and NFC, micro-payments, multi-device timing, and a Web of Things plugfest.