Interoperable

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The goal of this page is to collect, curate, and distill information about what does interoperable and interoperability mean in a W3C context in general, and as it applies to the W3C Process, and the Success Criteria of (most) Working Group Charters.

This is part of the 2024 AB Priority Project: Interoperability and the Role of Independent Implementations ("3Is project").

Why

For concrete user benefits

Interoperability must provide "concrete utility to the majority of their users":

From: https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc9518.html:

Therefore, standards efforts should focus on providing concrete utility to the majority of their users as published, rather than being a "framework" where interoperability is not immediately available.

Emphasis added.

For better behavior and solving larger problems

Interoperability encourages better behavior, and is essential to solving larger problems:

From: https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swicg/2023Dec/0108.html

"WE BELIEVE THAT STANDARDS AND INTEROP ARE VALUABLE", in and of themselves. Yes, of course intentions matter, business models

matter, strategy matters, etc etc. But without interop and standards, none of those are useful in the least. And conversely, interop and portability,

just by itself, _forces_ certain ethical invariants, that are strictly better than the alternative.

For the key reason to participate at W3C

The benefits of interoperability are a top level reason to participate at W3C:

From: https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swicg/2023Dec/0108.html

"We believe in standards and interop" around here. Yes, even when it comes to giant powerful entities and companies.
If you don't believe in the benefit of standards, what are you doing here [...]? Honest question, not rhetorical.

Articles

Articles, blog posts, presentations on the topic of interoperable or interoperability in standards:

See Also