Last modified: $Date: 1999/12/13 15:45:57 $ by $Author: ijacobs $.
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The Web Interoperability Pledge (WIP) is a promise to adhere to current HTML Recommendations as promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The WIP is not a W3C initiative: it was started by and is run by Ziff-Davis' ZDNet AnchorDesk quite independently. The World Wide Web Consortium provides pointers to the WIP for your convenience.
Although it seems deceptively simple, it is a powerful way to convince vendors to adhere to open standards. By pledging to support only official standards, users take away the incentive for vendors to "cheat" by introducing proprietary extensions.
There are two forms of the pledge.
One is for Webmasters:
"I pledge to use only recommended HTML tags as defined by W3C."
The other is for vendors:
"I pledge to support recommended HTML tags as defined by W3C, and submit all extensions to HTML to W3C before shipping them."
Pledge takers currently support HTML Version 3.2. The WIP will officially sanction HTML Version 4.0 as soon as final specifications are approved.
Users participate by placing the WIP logo on their Web sites as explained in the WIP Instructions for End Users.
Vendors participate by placing the WIP logo on their packaging, their product marketing materials, and their Web sites as explained in the WIP Instructions for Vendors.
WIP was created in 1997 in response to a threat to the Web's single global standard. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) had been rapidly advancing Web specifications such as HTML through an open process. In their eagerness to gain a competitive edge, Microsoft and Netscape began introducing separate, incompatible extensions without sufficient consultation. Webmasters would have been forced to choose between the Netscape "flavor" or the Microsoft "flavor" of HTML. Or forced to build two versions of their sites, one for each set of extensions. The issue was spotlighted in the ZDNet AnchorDesk article Microsoft, Netscape Feud Puts HTML's Future at Risk.
In response to this threat, ZDNet AnchorDesk posted a "Make-A-Difference" petition asking the two companies to cooperate. The response from users and customers was so overwhelming that both companies agreed to the idea of a pledge to end the "feud." Netscape and Microsoft Unite on Web Interoperability Following First Internet Rebellion
The W3C response to the AnchorDesk initiative resulted in "W3C, The Blue Helmets of Cyberspace".
WIP applies to all Web sites, large or small, commercial or private. If you believe in the idea of a single, global Internet based on a single standard, you should support that vision by supporting WIP. Through solidarity, show vendors that you are serious about wanting them to comply with the W3C's processes and procedures for HTML and other important standards.
The W3C maintains information relative to HTML and its process for approving new Recommendations. In addition, Internet publications and newsgroups monitor the standards process and and host ongoing discussions of Web issues. Some include: