"The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding." - The W3C's home page.
The W3C or World Wide Web Consortium
was founded by Tim Berners-Lee
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
, Laboratory for Computer Science with support from CERN
, and the European Commission
. Their mission is to lead the technical evolution of the Web
and since their founding they have developed over forty technical specifications
for the Web. The consortium has three goals
: promoting and developing its vision for the future
of the World Wide Web
, designing technologies
to help this vision become reality, and standardizing Web technologies.
Their vision for the future is a web built on top of XML with standards like XHTML, SMIL, P3P, and CCPP on top. The W3C wants to ensure that a wide range of devices can access the Web, such as cell phones, key pads, and digital cameras and the Web will be able to support all of these devices without anyone using certain devices being limited to certain activities. Also, they want to establish and promote standard practices for developers to follow when designing for the Web.
The W3C provides a number of useful tools to the public, such as HTML and CSS validators to encourage use of valid HTML and CSS. They claim the following seven points fully summarize the W3C's goals and operating principles:
1. Universal Access - "W3C defines the Web as the universe of network-accessible information ". The benefits of the Web should be available to everyone, regardless of physical location, hardware, software, language, etc.
2. Semantic Web - On a semantic web, everyone would be able to express themselves in terms that computers can interpret and exchange and by communicating like this we will enable computers to solve problems we find tedious or find useful information for us faster.
3. Trust - The Web needs more confidentiality and needs to make it possible to hold people accountable for what they publish online.
4. Interoperability - The computer industry needs to create a consensus on standards so everything can work together and encourage an open forum for discussion.
5. Evolvability - "W3C aims for technical excellence but is well aware that what we know and need today may be insufficient to solve tomorrow's problems." The Web of today needs to be easy to change for the needs of tomorrow without disrupting what still works.
6. Decentralization - The number of central Web facilities needs to be limited so there is less chance of traffic jams and so the Web can be more flexible.
7. Cooler Multimedia - "Who wouldn't like more interactivity and richer media on the Web, including resizable images, quality sound, video, 3D effects, and animation?" Through providing better languages such as SVD and SMIL, the W3C is working towards making more complicated Web media possible.