Web @ 25, W3C @ 20 – The role of the W3C in standardizing the Open Web Platform

This post appears in full on webat25.org.

Last week I reflected on the impact of the Web, starting with the original 1989 vision of Tim Berners-Lee. In this second of four posts I describe why the World Wide Web Consortium came into being and how it serves the Web community.

The creation and ethos of W3C

It didn’t take long for the Web to catch on, first within university environments, and then ultimately to the general public. Individuals and companies alike created websites. So there was an imperative to enhance the technology of the World Wide Web. Adapt new capabilities. What’s the best way to create the content? To browse the Web? To ensure that the Web could be viewed on different devices?

One approach to enhance Web technologies could have been to allow “a thousand flowers to bloom” and leave it at that. There is tremendous value in market-driven innovation, and the Web makes it possible for many stakeholders to innovate. But without the extra step of bringing people together to achieve global interoperability, the vision of One Web might never have taken off, or success might have come much more slowly.

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