100 Specifications for the Open Web Platform and Counting

W3C’s release of the HTML5 logo has prompted a lot of discussion about the state of standardization of the open web platform. Among the specifications that comprise the platform are HTML5, Geolocation API, Navigation Timing, CSS Transitions, Messaging API, an WOFF. In fact, my rough estimate is that W3C is standardizing more than 100 specifications in at least 13 W3C Working Groups that one could consider part of the platform. The CSS Working Group alone is working on around 50 specifications. The number 100 does not include specifications being developed in other standards bodies, such as Unicode, HTTP, TLS, or ECMAScript. And the number of specifications will continue to grow. For instance, we are looking at setting up new groups in the near future on audio and real-time communications.

There’s a lot of interest in these technologies, a lot of ongoing implementation, and a lot of collaboration to ensure that the parts fit together. Each specification has its own timeline for completion, which includes review by experts and the community at large, before being published as a stable specification. Some are ready to be used today, some are changing on a weekly basis. And even after one version of a specification is stable and complete, that doesn’t mean the work is over; we continually enhance popular specifications to meet the growing needs of the community… after HTML5, there will be an HTML6, and so on.

I am looking forward to two notable standardization milestones over the next few months. The first is the release of the CSS related specifications in Q2 2011, and we are still on track. This will provide a set of stable CSS specifications to the community and will make Woolly happy. The second is the publication of HTML5 as a Last Call draft in May. The group is working hard to resolve their 47 issues, which I am sure will get a lot of attention. HTML5 is making real progress towards becoming a standard, which is very exciting. Our testing effort continues to progress, with around 700 tests added since my last post.

While many people think of these standards as being closely tied to browsers, the reality is that these technologies are expanding beyond the browsers, into new devices and industries. For instance, on 8-9 February, W3C is holding a Workshop on TV and the Web. Convergence of these platforms is very exciting, and we are working with the TV industry on the Open Web Platform as the key to that convergence. Having a robust test suite will be even more important to that industry with high expectations about stability in consumer electronics. This is just one example of how W3C brings together diverse stakeholders who are interested in the broad applicability of the Web as a platform for innovation, available to all.