World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Definition of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in Network Encyclopedia.

What is W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)?

World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, is a vendor-neutral organization created in 1994 that develops common, interoperable protocols for the World Wide Web (WWW).

W3C Consortium
W3C Consortium

Represented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and a number of international research centers, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides a variety of services to its member organizations, including the following:

  • Discussion groups and meetings on issues relating to the evolution of the WWW
  • Repositories of information, reference documents, and code relating to WWW protocols, services, and applications
  • The creation and testing of applications that demonstrate new types of WWW technologies

The director of the W3C is Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the WWW. Membership in the W3C is tailored to organizations, but individuals can become affiliate members for an annual fee. For additional information about the WWW, you can subscribe to the World Wide Web Journal, produced by O’Reilly & Associates.

Principles of W3C Consortium

  • Web for All: The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge. One of W3C’s primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.
  • Web on Everything: The number of different kinds of devices that can access the Web has grown immensely. Mobile phones, smartphones, personal digital assistants, interactive television systems, voice response systems, kiosks, and even certain domestic appliances can all access the Web.

History of W3C Consortium

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (see the original proposal). He coined the term “World Wide Web,” wrote the first World Wide Web server, “httpd,” and the first client program (a browser and editor), “WorldWideWeb,” in October 1990. He wrote the first version of the “HyperText Markup Language” (HTML), the document formatting language with the capability for hypertext links that became the primary publishing format for the Web. His initial specifications for URIs, HTTP, and HTML were refined and discussed in larger circles as Web technology spread.

In October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in collaboration with CERN, where the Web originated (see information on the original CERN Server), with support from DARPA and the European Commission. In April 1995, INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) became the first European W3C host, followed by Keio University of Japan (Shonan Fujisawa Campus) in Asia in 1996. In 2003, ERCIM (European Research Consortium in Informatics and Mathematics) took over the role of European W3C Host from INRIA. In 2013, W3C announced Beihang University as the fourth Host.

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What is the World Wide Web Consortium?

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