The W3 Consortium oversees development of the
web technology standards.
Soon after he created the web, Tim
Berners-Lee realized that an independent standards making body was needed
to ensure universality of functionality across the industry. He tried to get
the IETF, a comparable Internet organization,
interested in taking on the role, but there wasn't yet enough consensus. He
up a body modeled on the successful X Consortium
which managed the popular Unix X-Windows
standard. One person he found particularly receptive to the idea was Michael
Dertouzos, the head of MIT's Laboratory
Computer Science, who helped him obtain seed funding and establish what would
1994, the W3 Consortium was formally established with support from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique
et en Automatique
(INRIA) in Europe, DARPA,
and the European Commission, with a mandate to oversee development of common
promote web interoperability.
The W3C established offices at the MIT Laboratory
for Computer Science in October, 1994, at INRIA in March, 1995, and then at the
Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan in August, 1996. One of the first
things that Berners-Lee did when he got to MIT was move the world's first web
server, info.cern.ch, to a new home
The W3C's first
and current Director is the developer of the web, Tim
Berners-Lee, its first and current Chairman is Jean-François Abramatic. Professors Nobuo Saito and Tatsuya Hagino are the associate chair and associate
director respectively from Japan.
The W3C publishes a sample code implementation
to promote each of their standards. All W3C products are available during development
to W3C members, and then are made available to the general public a month
Any industry or staff member can raise an issue for consideration.
The W3C staff will then put together a briefing package describing the issue,
its importance, the market relevance, technical issues, why the W3C should
involved, how it could help, next steps, and how much it would cost. Members
review and comment on the briefing package, and if there is sufficient
an activity is generated to address the issue.
the W3C was formed, the fee for full membership was set to US$50K annually. Associate
memberships were available at US$5K for non-profit organizations, governments,
or companies with less than US$50 million in revenues. Netscape joined
as a full member on principle, even though it qualified as an associate member
was a new company without any revenues.
is open to any organization, but not to individuals. However, individuals can
subscribe to the W3C's "World Wide Web Journal".