W3C Lisbon Technical Plenary Meeting shows roadmap ahead for web

More than 550 experts in Web technologies gathered in Lisbon, Portugal this week to address challenges and opportunities for the future of the Web’s technical roadmap and standardization work. Hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the annual W3C Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee (TPAC) meeting included sessions of formally chartered groups engaged in standards-related work, as well as informal break-out sessions.

At the conference, Tim Berners-Lee gave a keynote address in which he thanked and encouraged his fellow Web technologists to sustain his original vision for an open, interoperable and decentralized Web for everyone in the world.

Topping the technical discussions of the groups chartered by W3C were advancements to the Open Web Platform and specific industry requirements for the next generation Web:

Accessibility – WCAG 2.0 is a standard for accessible Web sites and is adopted worldwide by governments and organizations. The community discussed next steps to expand features and charter new work for WCAG 2.1 by next year.

Automotive – The Web and Automotive Working Group is enabling Web connectivity through in-vehicle infotainment systems and vehicle data access protocols. Consumers are soon expected to have access to more data and services from their vehicles such as road, weather and shopping information, according to W3C.

Digital Publishing – The Publishing Community and Digital Publishing Interest Group are collaborating on the evolution of electronic books, both online and offline.

Entertainment – The Web and TV Interest Group discussed new features from the entertainment industry. The TV Control Working Group is bringing broadcast content to Web pages, and the Second Screen Presentation Working Group is defining an API (Application Programming Interface) that enables Web pages to use secondary screens to display Web content.

Telecommunications – The Web Real Time Communications (RTC) Working Group is bringing audio and video communications to the web.

Open Web Platform – The CSS Working Group completed six new Recommendations in 2016 and has 22 more in Proposed Recommendation phase, including Flexible Box Layout level 1. The Web Platform Working Group has advanced HTML 5.1 to Candidate Recommendation status and expects it to become a standard in the Fall. The group has also released a First Public Working Draft of HTML 5.2.

Media Source Extensions (MSE) is on track to become a recommendation in early November. The Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) has proposed a revised timeline to complete test suite work in response to new resource support from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Web of Data – The Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group has set out guidance to ensure that Data on the Web is shared, openly or not, with maximum interoperability. The group encourages the submission of implementations from users. The work fits into a wider perspective covering geospatial data, licenses and more.

Web Payments – The Web Payments Working Group is developing an API to streamline the online “check-out” process and make payments easier and more secure on the Web.

Web Security – The Web Authentication Working Group advanced work on more secure and flexible alternatives to password-based log-ins on the Web. The Web Application Security Working Group is expected to finalize Content Security Policy level 2 soon.

Web of Things – The Web of Things Interest Group seeks to counter the fragmentation of the Internet of Things (IoT) through standardized metadata that enables integration across IoT platforms and application domains. The Interest Group is reviewing a proposed charter for a Web of Things Working Group.

In addition to the meetings of the formally chartered Working and Interest Groups for W3C members, for the first time the W3C hosted more than 20 W3C community roups that are incubating ideas for future Web technologies. Among the topics of interest in the community groups and breakout sessions were blockchain, virtual reality (VR/AR), Web bluetooth and NFC, micro-payments, multi-device timing, and a Web of Things plugfest.

On 6 August, the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Web being offered as a publicly available service.

[Image courtesy: W3C]

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