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World Wide Web Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is a consortium that produces standards—"recommendations", as they call them—for the World Wide Web. The Consortium is headed by W3C founder Al Vezza and Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the principal technologies that form the basis of the Web.

A W3C standard goes through the stages Working Draft, Last Call, Proposed Recommendation and Candidate Recommendation. It ends as a Recommendation. A Recommendation may be updated by separately-published Errata until enough substantial edits accumulate, at which time a new edition of the Recommendation may be produced (e.g., XML is now in its Third Edition). Sometimes, a Recommendation is withdrawn and sent through the process again, as RDF was. The W3C also publishes informative Notes which are not intended to be treated as standards.

The Consortium leaves it up to manufacturers to follow the Recommendations. Unlike the ISO and other international standards bodies, the W3C does not have a certification program, and many of its standards do not formally define levels of conformance. Consequently, Recommendations are often implemented only partially.

The Consortium's headquarters is at present on the fifth floor of the Gates Tower in the Stata Center at MIT. The other partners managing W3C are ERCIM and Keio University in Japan.

See also: Cascading Style Sheets, DOM, SVG, XML, WAI

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45