AB/2014-2015 Priorities/w3c most important

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Raison d'être

The Web continues to change and expand which is putting strain on W3C resources. The team, AB, and AC care a great deal about how W3M prioritizes resources. At a macro level, it would be extremely useful to have some agreed view about the future directions for the Web and W3C. That then becomes a strong basis for resource allocation. This project tries to attract a wide cross-section of stakeholders to develop this future view of priorities.

Basic project data

This project will work in the public. Request a W3C Account to contribute. Note that you must log in with your account in order to edit the wiki.

It will have several sub-task forces looking at different aspects of the problem. Common project data will be stored on the Public AB wiki.

All task-forces will share a single mailing list: public-most-important-priorities@w3.org (archive) and will use a filter to indicate which task force.

It is intended that the final work product be presented to the AC 2015 in Paris. Updates will be provided to the AB F2F meetings in Santa Clara and Tokyo.

Starting Methodology

The Web and W3C have many different stakeholders - well beyond Members of W3C. These include: companies that offer products and services on the Web, vertical industries that leverage the web or web technologies, developers, end-users, governments, universities, researchers; and the needs of all of the above in different geographies. We should be thoughtful in gathering all of the needs of these stakeholders together so we can take a critical look of which needs are most critical for W3C to address.

The data gathering step will be through a series of task forces. Depending on how many volunteers we have, we may have more or fewer task forces. The maximum set of task forces will be the following five:

  • Core
    • This will ask questions such as: what technologies should comprise the next generation web?
  • Vertical
    • What technologies are needed for which industries?
  • Developers
    • How can we make the Web more friendly for developers?
  • End-users
    • How can we improve the Web experience for end-users (include accessibility, privacy)
  • Geographic
    • How do we ensure that W3C is addressing the needs and interests of emerging areas?

Once these task forces have some recommendations, the total set will be sent to the W3C Advisory Committee to get input on priorities.

Actual Methodology

We needed to prioritize since the starting methodology was too broad. We chose to have two task forces. The Core task force as mentioned above to get a "horizontal" view of platform needs. And we chose one "vertical" - Education - to help us assess the broad platform against an in-depth analysis of an important industrial area.

Core task force

Task force leaders

Marcos Caceres and Jeff Jaffe


The task force meets every other Thursday at 10AM EST. The first meeting is 18 December. After a holiday break, the next meeting is 15 January. Then, bi-weekly.

Agenda for the first meeting is at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-most-important-priorities/2014Dec/0004.html

Phone number: 1-617-761-6200, code 2673 (Core)


We are starting with an analysis of Application Foundations (public wiki). Here are some ideas that we can pursue to take Application Foundations to the next level of detail. Below, we refer to the taxonomy of future work into Application Foundations as our "framework" for discussion.

1. A more complete inventory of each Foundation

Today, there is a several paragraph definition of each Foundation. That is not complete.

There are several ways to make this more complete.

  • We can have a more complete itemization of a functional description of the Foundation.
    • This could be a textual description of what is in the Foundation
    • Or, it could be a listing of all specifications that are covered by the Foundation
    • Or, it could be a more granular description to the level of key features that are covered by this Foundations
  • We can describe why the Foundation is important to developers. We can describe developer use cases. We can describe typical utilizations of the framework.
  • For all of the above, there is also the time element:
    • What elements of this Foundation are complete
    • What elements are being addressed by current WGs
    • What does the game plan look for in the future. What are requirements not yet being addresses? Why will these new requirements emerge? Are any covered by existing CGs?
2. Prioritization

Often-times, prioritization in W3C appears to be determined by which Members put sufficient resource into a WG to bring it along. That is not all bad - it is important to be grounded in what is being implemented! But it would also be useful to be able to have an independent perspective about prioritization.

This is especially true to the extent that we find a way to reach out to developers. If developers overall are prioritizing some feature - this gives us a good clue that we need to assure that the feature is being addressed.

Prioritization provides an independent, community-wide means to ensure the consortium is addressing Web developers' key problems. It would provide a platform from which the Web community can strongly argue that we must make some function successful, even if vendors temporarily lose interest. It gives us guidance where we should be applying out effort. It gives a method to assign priorities for existing work.

Prioritization could come at several levels. It could be across Foundations. For example, if we hear consistently from developers that they need greater ability to optimize for performance and we have inadequate work at W3C, it would give us impetus to increase our work in performance. Or, within a Foundation - e.g. within core web design - it would give us an opportunity to prioritize across different features.

Prioritization also helps us be crisp on what is a "requirement" and what is a "solution". For example, there are several requirements (including offline support) which should be addressed by service workers. As long as service workers is on track to address several requirements, then offline support is on-track. But if service workers ever got derailed, we would need to independently assess whether the underlying requirements (such as offline) are so critical that they must be addressed very quickly - independent of the broader service workers approach.

3. Mapping to native platforms

We can learn a great deal by mapping our Application Foundations to native platforms, since native platforms are often popular for today's developers.

At the overall framework level, we can compare how native platforms are structured and compare that to our selected eight Application Foundations. Perhaps we learn to make modifications.

At the detailed level we can observe how native platforms implement each Foundation. What is the totality of function they provide developers? How much of it is provided based on standards; how much is proprietary. What are the priority elements that we are missing?

4. Evangelizing

The Application Foundations framework will get stale if we don't use it.

Each of us can evangelize with our own colleagues. Use it as a means to share ideas. Create collaboration. Brainstorm with each other. Make the framework better by involving many people in the discussion of the framework.

As it matures, we will also evangelize externally. Get others interested in it. Present it at conferences.

5. Broader view of the Application Foundations framework and dependency mapping

Stovepiping all of these individual foundations as eight parallel items, on an equal level does not reflect real implementations. In fact, when one implements a browser, some of these foundations might be layered on top of other function. Understanding such dependencies is essential for good software design. There might be underlying primitives - so it would be good to identify them so they do not need to be replicated.

Some of those primitives are functional (e.g. building services on top of a secure platform) and some are structural. A structural example is the WebIDL language. We could see whether multiple Foundations use WebIDL in the same way, and we can use these mapping to help determine the priority of WebIDL.

6. Outreach to developers

W3C does not have a great track record in discussing our technology with end developers. Across all Foundations, it would be useful to imagine a way to put our viewpoints in front of developers in a coherent and consistent fashion - and then get their reactions and input.

7. Coherence

As the Web platform has incrementally evolved, it might be that certain Foundations are not neatly collected in the same place or developed in a consistent fashion. A question that arose at a recent TAG meetup was "why are media APIs all over the place". So we can try to analyze Foundation areas not only for completeness, but also for consistency of style, and coherence within the overall Web architecture.

The Foundations

  1. Security and Privacy
  2. Core Web Design and Development
  3. Device Interaction
  4. Application Lifecycle
  5. Media and Real-Time Communications
  6. Performance and Tuning
  7. Usability and Accessibility
  8. Services

Team Page

Mapping of Mobile Roadmap to Foundations

Related work

This task force is complementary to <https://www.w3.org/wiki/AB/2014-2015_Priorities/w3c_work_success>. That task force focuses principally on prioritizing existing work, whereas this one includes work that we might not be working on today.

Education task force

Task force leaders

Pierre Danet and Jeff Jaffe


The task force meets every other Friday at 10AM EST. The first meeting is 9 January, then, bi-weekly.

Phone number: 1-617-761-6200, code 3382 (Educ)


Agenda for first meeting.

0. Overall logistics

Introductions. Restatement of purpose. Questions from participants. Rough discussion of schedule. Discussion of using wiki for contributions.

1. Reminder on existing initiatives

Update on EDUPUB initiative which is currently in progress. This would be helpful to avoid to reinvent the wheel. Ivan Herman can cover this during 15 minutes / 20 minutes.

2. Online Learning Experiences

This subjects would include questions like : What is a learning object ? How to propose an active reading great experience vs passive reading (Digipub) ? Can we import pedagogical nature of learning in openweb platform ? How to manage links between teacher and pupils ? Links in the Education Community ? We should also cover the difficult subject of cognitive mapping.

3. MOOCs

As one of the current possible online learning experience, this is a subject to cover.

4. Collection of Data and Privacy

Web Technologies will be used for Education purpose. We must be more than serious on that or our Kids data could be "stolen". This subject is linked to MOOCs and adaptative learning matters. There is a serious need for standardization here. May be we could need a "data handling description language" allowing the codification of consensual agreements, in short enabling students to agree to reasonable data sharing procedures.

5. Assessment and adaptative learning

Need from OWP here ?

QTI 1 and QTI 2 (IMS standard)

6. Courses choice


Specific need here ?

8. Other needs ?

  • Opportunities Brainstorm — sharing ideas for opportunities both to expand the current platform and to address the education vertical specifically.


  • In September we will announce all of the AB priorities and request participation to these task forces
  • Create task forces. Each task force will have weekly brainstorming calls
    • Task forces start in mid-October
  • Most of the work done in November-February time-frame
  • Preliminary report to AB Winter F2F (February 2015)
  • Task force recommendations sent to an AC Survey
  • Task force recommendations reflected in a Public survey (f.ex. to get input from non-Members, especially Web developers)
  • Final report at AC 2015 [Is this the AC meeting in May 2015 or October 2015?]

Task-force members

See also the public list of participants in the Most Important Priorities Task Force

  • Jeff
  • Pierre Danet
  • Daniel Glazman
  • Mike Champion
  • Soohong Daniel Park
  • Josh Soref
  • Wendy Seltzer
  • Bruce Lawson
  • Marcos Caceres
  • Ben Francis
  • Virginie Galindo
  • Crispin Weston
  • François-Xavier Hussherr