Two weeks before Black Friday 2017, the W3C Web Commerce Interest Group had its inaugural meeting. The meeting was part of the annual TPAC meetings, and was held in Burlingame, California. The agenda and minutes are available.
I know you’re thinking: “Isn’t the Web already the number-one commerce driver? Aren’t you a little late to the party?” The answers are “yes” and “no.” The Web continues to have ripe opportunities for standardizing a multitude of activities that can benefit commerce. While we do a lot of commerce on the Web today, much of the infrastructure is “invented as needed” and non-standard, and under those conditions implementations introduce complexity and barriers to entry.
Some Early History – Web Commerce and W3C
On August 22, 1994, I witnessed a demonstration of PizzaNet at the SCO Forum at UCSC. This demonstration featured a web page through which you could order pizza. The project was a collaboration between the Santa Cruz Operation and PizzaHut, Inc., and the original PizzaNet is still reachable on the Web. The demonstration took about an hour because the delivery driver didn’t have a GPS or any other way to find us. And payment was made with a ten-dollar bill.
A little over a month later, in October, 1994, the W3C was founded. So, why, at this late date, would the W3C form a Web Commerce Interest Group? Continue reading