[whatwg] WHAT open mailing list announcement

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Fri Jun 4 17:28:29 PDT 2004

The Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group is a loose,
unofficial, and open collaboration of Web browser manufacturers and
interested parties. The group aims to develop specifications based on
HTML and related technologies to ease the deployment of interoperable
Web Applications, with the intention of submitting the results to a
standards organisation. This submission would then form the basis of
work on formally extending HTML in the standards track.

The creation of this forum follows from several months of work by
private e-mail on specifications for such technologies. The main focus
up to this point has been extending HTML4 Forms to support features
requested by authors, without breaking backwards compatibility with
existing content. This group was created to ensure that future
development of these specifications will be completely open, through a
publicly-archived, open mailing list. Working drafts of the
specifications will be continuously available on the WHATWG Web site.
As the drafts reach stable milestones, the group will publish
snapshots for extensive review by the community.


Software developers are increasingly using the Internet as a software
platform, with Web browsers serving as front ends for server-based
services. Existing W3C technologies -- including HTML, CSS and the DOM
-- are used, together with other technologies such as JavaScript, to
build user interfaces for these Web-based applications.

However, the aforementioned technologies were not developed with Web
Applications in mind, and these systems often have to rely on poorly
documented behaviors. Furthermore, the next generation of Web
Applications will add new requirements to the development environment
-- requirements these technologies are not prepared to fulfill alone.
The new technologies being developed by the W3C and IETF can
contribute to Web Applications, but these are often designed to
address other needs and only consider Web Applications in a peripheral

The Web Hypertext Applications Technology working group therefore
intends to address the need for one coherent development environment
for Web Applications. To this end, the working group will create
technical specifications that are intended for implementation in
mass-market Web browsers, in particular Safari, Mozilla, and Opera.

Initially, the following documents will be written:
  * Web Forms 2.0: An incremental improvement of HTML4.01's forms.
  * Web Apps 1.0: Features for Application Development in HTML.
  * Web Controls 1.0: A specification describing mechanisms for
    creating new interactive widgets.

More specifications may be added to cover other Web Application
requirements. For example, the working group may work on
specifications for new semantic elements needed in common Web contexts
such as e-commerce, forums, Web logs, and games.

The working group intends to ensure that all its specifications
address backwards compatibility concerns, clearly provide reasonable
transition strategies for authors, and specify error handling behavior
to ensure interoperability even in the face of documents that do not
comply to the letter of the specifications.

For more information, visit the Web Hypertext Applications Technology
working group Web site at http://whatwg.org/.

                                 Permalink: http://whatwg.org/news/start

Ian Hickson, on behalf of the WHATWG members.

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