The new Publishing@W3C activity was formed in February 2017 when W3C finalized our combination with IDPF (the International Digital Publishing Forum). Over the last four months there’s been a ton of progress. The new Publishing Business Group, the focal point for discussing overall requirements and issues, is up and running, with a kick-off meeting in March in London and bi-weekly calls. The new EPUB 3 Community Group is also up and running, with a full plate of work items to extend the success of the EPUB standard under the auspices of W3C. Over 50 former IDPF member organizations are now participating in Publishing@W3C activities which makes this the fastest and largest expansion of W3C ever in an industry area.
The mission of the new Publishing Working Group is to “enable all publications — with all their specificities and traditions — to become first-class entities on the Web. The WG will provide the necessary technologies on the Open Web Platform to make the combination of traditional publishing and the Web complete in terms of accessibility, usability, portability, distribution, archiving, offline access, and reliable cross referencing”. That’s an exciting and ambitious goal, and overwhelming support across the W3C membership for the creation of this Working Group is a key proof point for the convergence vision that was the key strategic motivator for the combination of IDPF with W3C.
And in some ways the Publishing Summit is an even more welcome development. As a standards development organization (SDO), W3C’s work product is Web Standards, which are a means to an end: interoperability. These days, the ecosystem around any enabling technology, including especially the Open Web Platform, isn’t just specifications. It’s also open source, testbeds, education and training, and much more; i.e., the holistic ecosystem and the community around it. IDPF was a trade organization for the digital publishing community as well as an SDO, and IDPF’s events including its annual conference were a key part of building the community around the EPUB standard and broader issues in the digital transformation of publishing. I joined W3C as the Publishing Champion not only to help develop standards but also to foster a broader community that will successfully lead the Web to its full potential for the particular needs of publishing and documents. The Publishing Summit will help us build that community, so I hope you’ll join the conversation on November 9-10 in San Francisco.
Overall I’m excited by the progress to date on Publishing@W3C. The opportunities to help enable the future of publishing and the Web are tremendous. And there’s just one thing that we need to make it happen: participation. Thanks are due the many folks who have already pitched in to get the ball rolling, and I hope you’ll join in supporting the Publishing@W3C initiative.