Introduction to W3C

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is a worldwide industry consortium dedicated to “leading the Web to its full strength“.  Led by Tim Berners Lee  and founded in 1994, the W3C has more than 450 member organizations – that include Microsoft, Apple Inc., America Online, Adobe, Sun Microsystems, and a huge type of other hardware and software manufacturers, academic institutions, content providers, and telecommunications companies. W3 Consortium is hosted by three research institutions – MIT in the US, Keio University in Japan and INRIA in Europe.

The W3C develops open specifications to improve the interoperability of web-related products. W3C Recommendations are produced by working groups consisting of Consortium members and invited experts. The Working groups obtain general consensus from companies and other organizations, which are involved in developing applications for the Web, and create Working Drafts and Proposed Recommendations, Which are then submitted to the W3C membership and director, for approval as W3C Recommendations.

Goals of W3C

  • Web for Everyone: W3C enables human communication, commerce and knowledge sharing to all people independently of infrastructure, physical or mental abilities 
  • Web on Everything: Facilitate Web access from any type of device 
  • Knowledge Base: Help distinct user communities in the resolution of hard problems
  • Trust and Confidence:  Enhance technologies that support collective developments in secure transactions with trusted agents

Web standard

W3C standards represent an Open Web Platform for application development that has the unusual potential to enable developers to build rich interactive experiences, powered by vast data stores that are present on any device.  And the boundaries of the platform go on to evolve; industry leaders speak nearly in unison about how HTML5 will be the cornerstone for this platform. But the full potential of the platform relies on many more technologies that W3C and its partners are developing, including CSS, SVG, the Semantic Web stack, WOFF, XML, and a variety of APIs.

W3C creates these technical specifications and guidelines through a process designed to maximize consensus about the content of a technical report, to ensure high technical and editorial quality, and to earn endorsement by W3C and the broader community.

1. HTML 4.0 – HyperText Markup Language

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is extensively used on the Web for adding structure to text documents. Browsers convert these documents, defining the structure in media-specific ways to the user. For example, visual browsers generally display the strong element (<strong> … </strong>) as bold text, while text-to-speech readers might point out that text when pronouncing it.

Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) the author may define how structural elements are to be represented, overriding the browser defaults.

2. XML 1.0 – Extensible Markup Language

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language like HTML, but despite of having a single, fixed set of tags or elements, this allows you to define your own set of tags – or use a set made by someone else. It also allows using multiple sets within a single document – by using XML namespaces.

Some applications of XML, such as XHTML and MathML, already have become W3C Recommendations. Style sheet standards, such as CSS and XSL, offer a number of options for specifying how XML elements are to be concluded. Standards-compliant support for direct rendering of XML is spotty in browsers, so for defining information to humans, HTML (or XHTML) with CSS-driven styling is the way to improve. XML is mostly used for machine-to-machine communication today.

XML is more flexible than HTML, primarily because of the ability to add your own elements and make your own structural systems. This enables it as an ideal format for the organization of large quantities of data – it is already in use in many databases and search engines.

3. XHTML 1.0, 1.1, and Modularization

XHTML 1.0 is a reformulation of HTML as an XML application. XHTML 1.0 can be seen as ideologically created from HTML 4.01, and being technically stricter because of XML’s influence.

XHTML will display in your browser identically as HTML. You might also want to use XHTML if there is any chance you’re going to need to reprocess your document, for example to send it to a PDA; XML’s stricter syntax rules make automatic processing of XHTML much easier and cheaper than ordinary HTML.

Ideologically, XHTML 1.0 inherits the following general concepts from HTML 4.01:

  • That presentation and content formatting should be separated via style sheets.
  • That content should be made accessible
  • That content should be internationalized
  • XHTML 1.0 also utilizes the model of three DTDs: Strict, Frameset, and Transitional. This model originates in HTML 4.0 and followed through to HTML 4.01.

Some essential technical practices from XML onto XHTML include:

  • All document types are stated via the correct DOCTYPE declaration
  • The structure of a standard document contain the declaration for DOCTYPE, an html element with the declaration of XHTML namespace, a head element including the title tag, and a body element
  • All elements and attribute names are written in lower case, and all attribute values are quoted
  • All non-empty elements (e.g. p, li) are properly terminated with a closing tag
  • That all empty elements (e.g. br, hr, img) are properly terminated with a trailing slash (<br />)

XHTML 1.1 is made up of three primary parts:

  1. The XHTML 1.0 Strict DTD (with minor modifications)
  2. XHTML Modularization
  3. The Ruby Annotation

If you want to author documents in XHTML 1.1, you can do this using some ways. The first is by using the public XHTML 1.1 DTD. By using this, your work will be extremely structured because there are virtually no presentational attributes in XHTML 1.1. The departure of structure and presentation ends here, and all of your presentation work will go in a style sheet.

Another way of authoring documents in XHTML 1.1 is to enter into XHTML Modularization. This one is the breakdown of familiar components of HTML and XHTML (such as tables, text, frames, and forms) into distinct chunks. You can then write your own DTD and use only those elements you require. This is extensibility in action, essentially giving you, the web author, and the opportunity to customize your markup.

The Ruby Annotation is a unique means of dealing with certain Asian character annotations. Ruby comes under the work being done with Internationalization.

4. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a method for changing the appearance of HTML or XML elements, by giving styles to element types, self-defined classes of elements or individual instances.

Stylesheets can be used to consistently define the structure of an entire site. Following the introduction of CSS, the W3C recommended that layout-specific features in HTML be changed and replaced by stylesheets, creating a easy and more structural World Wide Web.

5. DOM 1 – Document Object Model Level 1

The DOM enables the full power and interactivity of a scripting language (such as ECMAScript, the standardized version of JavaScript) to be used on a web page. It gives the scripting language simple access to the structure, content, and presentation of a document which is written in such languages as HTML and CSS.

The DOM is compatible with future enhancements in technology; it will enable any scripting language to communicate with whatever languages are being used in the content. This standard will not only make it simple to program dynamic HTML, but will also make adapting to future Internet technology much less painful.