W3C Launches Community Groups to Help Create Web Standards

The World Wide Web Consortium is trying to make it easier for developers and Internet stakeholders to create and define Web standards. Right now, the ability to define and create a Web standard is to create the standard and present it through a W3C working group. Yet, when it comes to incubating new standards, the W3C has not had a mechanism to foster developers coming up with new Internet standards.

W3C is working to fix that. In late June or early July, the consortium will launch developer community groups. The community groups, headed by Harry Halpin, will give developers coaching and W3C infrastructure to create standards that will eventually prevail across the entire Web.

“We think of our stakeholders as everybody who uses the Web, which is a pretty big set,” W3C Jeff Jaffe said at the ReadWriteWeb 2Way Summit in New York City. “What it means to get started is that they get a little bit of infrastructure, some connectivity and so forth. We also give a little bit of coaching which leads them to the path of creating a standard.”

The consortium wants to eliminate groups creating their own individual standards that are incompatible with each other. The idea of community groups is to bring all stakeholders under one umbrella during the process of creating a standards.

So, one of the things that is important to us to creating a standard is that we want standards to be royalty free,” Jaffe said. “So, we want companies that participate in standards to make royalty-free commitments. So, with a community group, we don’t have a full heavyweight process for getting commitments but individuals are starting to make commitments as they go along.”

Standards that the W3C are working on include HTML5, device APIs, privacy and security standards, the cross between the Web and television and Web ID and authentication.

“Let’s take for example if some guy had some really cool idea to protect privacy on the Web,” Jaffe said. “In the past they didn’t know where to get that done. They come to talk to us and the idea is half-baked. So, we are not ready yet. So now, he can declare himself, find colleagues and develop ideas in a more loose fashion then a typical W3C standard but also have some infrastructure to help him out.”

Business Groups For Anybody That Uses The Web

W3C is also creating what they call “business groups.” The business groups will be a way for Internet stakeholders, which could be just about any industry vertical, such as automakers or financial services, to create standards that will function within their niche.

“They want the Web standards done in a certain way. For financial services, maybe they are worried about protection against phishing attacks and what not. Maybe they don’t feel like they have enough voice within W3C.”

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