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World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Definition - What does World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) mean?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization committed to improving the web. It is made up of several hundred member organizations from a variety of related IT industries. W3C sets standards for the World Wide Web (WWW) to facilitate interoperability and cooperation among all web stakeholders. It was established in 1994 by the creator of the WWW, Tim Berners-Lee.

Techopedia explains World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The primary international standards organization for the web, the World Wide Web Consortium is dedicated to bringing together interested parties from different IT sectors to work on web issues. “The objective of the W3C is to bring the web to its full potential,” says CEO Jeffrey Jaffe. Its members are key participants in web development, including commercial, educational and governmental entities, according to the W3C website. Its mission includes “developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the web.”

In a September 2011 interview, CEO Jaffe offers the basis for W3C’s credibility as a driver of technical standards for the web. The W3C:

  • Was founded by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee
  • Has a membership that includes key participants in the IT industry
  • Has a track record of success

The organization is guided by its open standards principles. It calls them OpenStand, which it refers to as “The Modern Paradigm for Standards.” The five fundamental principles of standards development, per the W3C website, are:

  • Due process
  • Broad consensus
  • Transparency
  • Balance
  • Openness

Standards developed by the Consortium include:

  • CGI
  • CSS
  • DOM
  • HTML
  • HTTP
  • XHTML
  • XML

The W3C has broad support. “All stakeholders can have a voice in the development of W3C standards,” per the website, “including Members large and small, as well as the public.” The World Wide Web Consortium was created in cooperation with CERN in Switzerland. It has enjoyed support from government organizations DARPA and the European Commission. It is currently hosted by MIT Laboratory for Computer Science in the U.S. and INRIA in Europe.

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