World Wide Web Consortium Forms Technical Architecture Group

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W3C TAG to document principles of Web architecture, help resolve technical issues

Testimonials -- 11 December 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the creation of the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG), whose mission is to build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary.

The composition of the TAG is balanced between elected and appointed participants, from W3C Members, the W3C Team, and from the larger Web community. They have all been selected for the strength of their technical backgrounds, their experience with Web technologies, and their ability to put the common good above proprietary considerations.

W3C Commits to Building Shared Understanding of Web Architecture

As W3C has grown, there have been more frequent requests (from W3C Members and other parties) for documentation of architectural principles that influence a range of technologies. People ask, "How do W3C technologies fit together? What basics must people know before they start developing a new technology?" Some discussions and debates within W3C have highlighted the need for documented architectural principles, as well as a process for resolving disagreements about architecture.

"The Web is a minimalist design: there are as few arbitrary constraints as possible. However, as Web technologies must be interoperable and consistent, it is very important to stick to those constraints," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "The TAG's role is to articulate these constraints, and to apply them to conflicts that may arise."

The stated mission of the TAG is stewardship of Web Architecture. To accomplish this mission, the TAG will:

  1. Document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary;
  2. Resolve issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG;
  3. Help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.

The TAG does not replace the Director in the W3C Process. However, it is likely that the Director will consult the TAG when issues of Web architecture arise.

W3C Attracts Technical Leaders to Document Web Architecture

As described in the TAG charter, five TAG participants are elected by the W3C Membership and three are appointed by the Director. The Director is the Chair of the TAG.

Those TAG participants nominated and elected by the W3C Membership (in alphabetical order by last name), are:

  • Paul Cotton, Chair of W3C XML Query Working Group and Member of the XML Protocol Working Group (Microsoft Corporation)
  • Roy Fielding, Co-author of HTTP/1.1 (eBuilt, Inc. and Chairman of the Apache Software Foundation)
  • David Orchard, Member of the W3C XML Core and XML Protocol Working Groups (BEA Systems)
  • Norman Walsh, Member of the W3C XSL and XML Core Working Groups, and the URI Interest Group (Sun Microsystems)
  • Stuart Williams, Member of the W3C XML Protocol Working Group (Hewlett-Packard Company)

Those TAG participants appointed by the W3C Director (in alphabetical order by last name) are:

  • Tim Bray, Co-editor of W3C XML 1.0 (
  • Dan Connolly, Semantic Web developer, former W3C HTML Working Group Chair and XML Activity Lead (W3C)
  • Chris Lilley, Chair, W3C SVG Working Group, and W3C Graphics Activity Lead (W3C)

In general, TAG participants other than the Director serve two-year terms. In order to stagger terms, some participants of the initial TAG will serve a one-year term.

Public Work Mode Supports Accountability

As the issues that the TAG will address are important to the Web community at large, the discussion list for the TAG, as well as the list of deliverables, the charter, and status reports, will be public documents. Please refer to the public TAG home page for more information.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 510 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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Testimonials for the W3C Technical Architecture Group

BEA Systems | Tim Bray | Hewlett-Packard Co. | Microsoft Corporation

BEA Systems

BEA welcomes this recognition by the W3C membership of our leadership role in the development of web services standards and products. Being elected to the Technical Architecture Group of the W3C will enable us to play an even greater role in building consensus around web standardization. We view the W3C as the primary organization for the development of these standards and the TAG as the vehicle to provide the leadership necessary to be successful.

-- Edward Cobb, Vice President, Architecture & Standards for BEA Systems

Tim Bray

The Web is a wonderful thing: Programmers can easily create software that works just fine with the servers at, and, which obviously are very different kinds of systems. The set of rules that make this possible isn't big, but it is very important. Someone has to take responsibility for making sure the rules keep working, and that as we ask those servers to do more and more, we keep those rules firmly in mind and don't break anything. I'm delighted to have been asked to help out with this on the W3C TAG.

-- Tim Bray, CEO and Co-editor of XML 1.0

Hewlett-Packard Co.

We're delighted that HP is playing a critical role in the W3C's newly formed TAG. We support open standards and market-unifying architectures because they help our customers by levelling the playing field for developers and pave the way for widespread innovation.

-- Rich DeMillo, VP and CTO, Hewlett-Packard Co.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft is very pleased that Paul has been elected to sit on the Technical Architecture Group of the W3C. The W3C is an important part of the standards process. This is a critical time for the evolution of XML standards. The Technical Architecture Group is responsible to supply the expertise necessary to ensure that W3C recommendations are technically sound and relevant. Microsoft looks forward to working with the W3C and its member companies to help shape the future of XML and the Web.

-- Andrew Layman, XML Web Services architect, Microsoft Corporation

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