Thursday, November 17th, 2005

W3C Creates Web APIs Working Group

Category: Editorial

The W3C is kicking into gear and trying to create standards around the de-facto standards of items such as XMLHttpRequest.

They have created a new Web APIs Working Group, that mirrors a lot of the WhatWG, with the mission of:

The mission of the W3C Web API Working Group is to develop specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web. This includes the development of programming interfaces to be made available in a Web client.

The target platforms for this Working Group includes desktop and mobile browsers as well as many specialty, browser-like environments that use Web client technologies. The goal is to promote universal access both for devices and users, including those with special needs.

Additionally, the Working Group has the goal to improve client-side application development through education, outreach and interoperability testing.


The new working group is young, and you should speak up now if there is something you wish to see from them.

Do your wishes mesh with their current deliverables?

  • An API specification for HTTP functionality.

    This deliverable should begin by documenting the existing XMLHttpRequest interface. This interface is a core component
    of what is commonly called
    A following deliverable may produce a more powerful HTTP library, with
    the goal that it is able to be used as a basis for implementing the
    first deliverable (ie. any new library should be able to be used to
    implement XMLHttpRequest).

  • An API specification for a client interface.

    This deliverable is commonly implemented as
    the “Window” object in modern browsers. It allows applications to
    communicate with the browser and is used when initiating timed events and
    navigating to new pages.
    This deliverable should begin by documenting the existing
    Window interface. However, as this Working Group is considering a range
    of Web clients that is not limited to existing desktop browsers, future
    revisions of the API may define behavior beyond current implementations
    in a compatible manner.

  • The DOM Level 3 Events specification (in coordination with a future DOM IG/WG).

    Currently a W3C Note, the DOM Level 3 Events specification is
    an essential piece of the W3C’s Web application framework.
    This specification will be returned to the active Recommendation
    track, with required enhancements for modern web clients (such
    as mobile devices).

  • An API specification for timed events.

    Timed events schedule and/or repeat behavior. For
    example, an application might want to update its state every
    minute by downloading data and modifying the display.
    This is commonly implemented using setTimeout
    and related methods in modern browsers. This deliverable
    should begin by documenting existing behavior. Future
    revisions may define more advanced features in
    a compatible manner.

  • API specifications for other network communication methods.

    Network communication methods covered by this deliverable are network
    sockets and possibly protocols other than HTTP. This allows a Web
    application to perform more networking operations (eg. IRC, other
    instant messaging protocols, Java Message Service and Session
    Initiation Protocol). Also, it may be necessary to produce
    documentation for, or a specification of, connection policy and

  • An API specification for persistent storage on the client.

    This deliverable allows the Web application
    to store information such as user preferences in a protected
    area on the client machine.
    The storage system should have limited
    capacity and must have a clear security model.
    This facilitates more advanced Web applications, enabling them to store
    user preferences and possibly work in an offline environment, such
    as a laptop or mobile phone with intermittent connectivity.

  • The DOM Level 3 XPath specification (in coordination with the DOM IG/WG).

    Currently a W3C Note, the DOM Level 3 XPath specification is
    a useful component in the W3C’s Web application framework.
    This specification will be returned to the active Recommendation
    track with any required modifications.

  • An API specification for drag and drop.

    Drag and drop functionality is a well-understood and
    often used feature in rich applications, but is difficult to implement
    in Web Applications.

  • An API specification for monitoring the progress of resources as they are downloaded.

    Many interactive applications require access to the
    state of resource downloads (such as embedded media). This information
    is used to guarantee consistent state (an application might not
    be able to progress until the image element’s data is displayed) or
    to enhance the user experience (eg. by displaying a progress bar).
    Due to the difficulties of providing a platform independent specification
    of this technology, this deliverable may require further investigation
    and discussion.

  • An API specification for file upload.

    This is a programmatic interface to the functionality provided by
    the HTML file form element. A Web
    application may wish to submit data to a Web service, and
    requires the user to attach a file. This deliverable will
    provide an interface for programmatically attaching a
    file in a secure manner (ie. the user must initiate
    and control the action, the application does not have
    access to the file system or the contents of the file).

Other, non-prioritized, deliverables include:

  • Guidelines for Web applications

    This may include a list of technologies
    to support in order to provide a standard interoperable
    Web application development platform.

  • Interoperability test suites for relevant deliverables.

    Following the W3C process for

  • Education and outreach material for Web developers.

    This may take the form of a weblog
    or W3C Notes with suggestions and guidelines for
    developing accessible Web applications.

  • Other items as required.

    Given that the rich Web client area is
    in a phase of rapid development, the Working Group may
    become aware of the urgent need for standardization of
    a technology not explicitly listed in this charter, but
    still in the scope of the Working Group.

( via Dojo: Finally: the W3 is Participating )

Posted by Dion Almaer at 4:18 pm
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