Seminal W3C requirements group faces new net challenges 25 years on

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee

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World Wide Web inventor and W3C founder Tim Berners-Lee speaks on the Oktane 2019 convention.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

The World Wide Web Consortium has been round for 1 / 4 century. Just a few years after Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he additionally established the W3C to standardize the way it works — a vital basis to the know-how. Open requirements imply anybody can construct net know-how, whether or not it is a browser or an internet site.

That openness is in robust distinction to, say, writing apps for iPhone or Android apps or Windows, the place an organization units the principles. No single entity holds management over the net.

The W3C celebrated its 25th anniversary Tuesday with somewhat little bit of self-description and self-promotion but additionally with a reiteration of Berners-Lee’s warning concerning the work wanted to maintain the net from turning right into a cesspool. 

Berners-Lee is making an attempt to ascertain a “contract for the web” to counteract hate speech and censorship whereas making certain everybody will get entry. Berners-Lee is stepping past the confines of the W3C to attempt to additional a few of this imaginative and prescient, serving to to discovered a startup known as Inrupt designed to let folks reclaim management over their very own information from large companies like Facebook and Google.


The W3C neighborhood extends past its membership.


The net and the W3C faces different challenges, too. For one factor, Google’s Chrome browser dominates net utilization, and few have the price range or capability to maintain up. Combined with Google’s energy in designing very fashionable on-line providers, that provides the corporate a whole lot of management and signifies that, to a point, the net is what Google says it’s.

The W3C additionally has had missteps. It deserted the core customary used to construct a website online — HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language — and solely belatedly tried to reassert management after browser makers banded collectively to proceed its lineage by a separate group, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG).

That tussle over management was solely resolved in May because the W3C agreed to comply with the WHATWG’s lead by a proper collaboration.

But the W3C, a nonprofit with 50 workers and 450 members, has loads of work nonetheless beneath its purview. It’s tackling topics like on-line adverts, net recreation know-how, privateness, automobile know-how. The net will not be excellent, but it surely’s transferring forward.

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