Packaged Web Publications

W3C Working Group Note

This version:
Latest published version:
Latest editor's draft:
Previous version:
David Wood (Invited Expert)
GitHub w3c/pwpub
File a bug
Commit history
Pull requests


This specification defines a packaging format for combining the resources of a Web Publication [wpub] into a single portable file.


At this point, this is just a skeleton for the specification-to-be. At the moment, the focus of the Working Group is on the Web Publications document.

Status of This Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

Due to the lack of practical business cases for Web Publications, and the consequent lack of commitment to implement the technology, the Publishing Working Group has chosen to discontinue the work on Web Publications, archive the work in the form of a Working Group Note, and focus on other areas of interest. As a consequence, the present document has also been discontinued and is being published as a Working Group Note. The public record of the group's discussions is available in group's archive of meeting minutes.

The separate Lightweight Packaging Format (LPF) Working Group Note fulfills a similar role, albeit with different requirements and goals.

This document was published by the Publishing Working Group as a Working Group Note.

GitHub Issues are preferred for discussion of this specification.

Publication as a Working Group Note does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership.

This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 1 August 2017 W3C Patent Policy. The group does not expect this document to become a W3C Recommendation.

This document is governed by the 15 September 2020 W3C Process Document.

1. Introduction

Editor's note

The editors request community comments on especially on Sections 2-4 via the group’s primary mailing list. The archives are publicly visible, and anyone can post a mail.

Editor's note

A key decision on this specification will be the choice of packaging mechanism (section 5). The working group has decided to evaluate Web Packaging (see the Web Packaging Format Explainer) and to wait for its maturation before proceeding. This has been a major cause of the publication of this specification as a First Public Working Draft in such skeletal form.

2. Conformance

As well as sections marked as non-normative, all authoring guidelines, diagrams, examples, and notes in this specification are non-normative. Everything else in this specification is normative.

The key word MAY in this document is to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

2.1 General Conformance

A document is a Packaged Web Publication if it:

Additionally, a document that is a Packaged Web Publication MAY contain:

2.2 Conformance Classes

This specification defines two conformance classes: one for Self-Packaged Web Publications and one for Standard-Packaged Web Publications.

A document is a Self-Packaged Web Publication if it meets the following criteria:

A document is a Standard-Packaged Web Publications if it meets the following criteria:

3. Terminology

Packaged Web Publication

A Web Publication [wpub] that has been packaged into a single information resource, enabling it to be transported and stored independent of any specific address or protocol. A Packaged Web Publication does not have to originate on the Web (i.e., have a specific URL that is accessible via HTTP); the only requirement is that it conform to Web Publications. Similarly, it is possible to unpack a Packaged Web Publication to create a Web Publication, but there are practical limitations to doing so (e.g., re-publishing cross-domain resources will require that a client be able to access all domains used).

Self-Packaged Web Publication

A Packaged Web Publication [PWPUB] that defines its own package format.

Standard-Packaged Web Publication

A Packaged Web Publication [PWPUB] that is packaged using the packaging format defined in § 5. Packaging.

4. Descriptive Properties

Issue 10: What Metadata are Specific to a PWP? propose closing

A Web Publication is anticipated to have some Descriptive Properties, or WP-specific metadata. What PWP-specific metadata should a PWP contain, if any?

5. Packaging

Editor's note

PWP will require the selection of some sort of packaging format in order to be a Packaged Web Publication.

Some options currently under consideration include, but are not limited to:

All of these have pros and cons. For example, Web Packaging is not finalized, the CBOR specification precludes inclusion of a general compression scheme (although one could add one on top of CBOR), and SQLite is not a standard of a recognized body.

Issue 11: What Packaging Format/Style Should a PWP Use? status:need group decision

What packaging format or style should a PWP use?

6. Profiles

Editor's note

The editors realize that the concept of profiles of implementation is probably contentious. Much discussion is anticipated before this section is likely to be brought to conclusion.

7. Security

Editor's note
Placeholder for security issues.

8. Privacy

Editor's note
Placeholder for privacy issues.

A. Acknowledgements

This section is non-normative.

The editors would like to thank the members of the Publishing Working Group for their contributions to this specification:

The Working Group would also like to thank the members of the Digital Publishing Interest Group for all the hard work they did paving the road for this specification.

B. References

B.1 Normative references

Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. S. Bradner. IETF. March 1997. Best Current Practice. URL:
Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words. B. Leiba. IETF. May 2017. Best Current Practice. URL:

B.2 Informative references

Web Publications. Matt Garrish; Ivan Herman. 2018-01-04. URL: