Anne van Kesteren

Something went wrong at the W3C?

Something went wrong at the W3C? Lets see:

  1. To Hell with WCAG 2
  2. Leaving W3C QA Dev.
  3. An angry fix
  4. SVG12: brief clarification on formal objections
  5. SVG Tiny 1.2 in Candidate Wreckommendation stage
  6. What's Wrong With The SVG Working Group
  7. Angry Indeed

Sure, replies have been made, as always. So on the other hand I actually like some of the things being done at the W3C now and some of the things that will be done soonish. For example: XMLHttpRequest, Window and XBL. Or how about Web Forms 2.0 as a W3C draft? Nice, not?


  1. Come on Anne, that’s lame. All the good things you mention were first prompted by WHATWG initiatives. I’m glad that the W3C is still active enough to get on board with these proposals but it’s disingenuous to suggest that they were any where near starting the discussion.

    Posted by Dean Edwards at

  2. Does it look like I’m defending them or something? Not my intention (I used “on the other hand” for a reason). I just like it that those things get adopted. And I wanted to point out some of the bad things happening there, like the SVG screwup.

    Posted by Anne van Kesteren at

  3. Well, intelligent people may disagree about whether WCAG 2 is thoroughly fucked or only partially fucked. But SVG? Come on! How can you not love and admire a "vector graphics" format that supports raw TCP sockets?!?

    Posted by Mark at

  4. How can you not love and admire a "vector graphics" format that supports raw TCP sockets?!?

    connect, send and close methods, but no listen method? Disappointing! So much for the dream of writing a webserver in SVG.

    Posted by Jacques Distler at

  5. There is nothing wrong with The W3C as a whole, but a lot of its working groups are screwing up big-time. One might argue that if enough of W3C's working groups screws up, then W3C is a big screw-up as well, but I think there are processes and people in W3C that still "works as intended" and that the organization itself is a very important unit in the mess that is the web today.

    There wouldn't be much valid nor semantic HTML on the web if it hadn't been for the W3C and the position they are in because of a few relatively important specifications like HTML 4.01, CSS 1, CSS 2.1, DOM 1, DOM 2, DOM 3, XML, XSLT, XPath, PNG and WCAG 1.0. Without these, we would stil lbe wrangling and wrestling with browser-specific code (in more than one browser at least), visual markup and whatnot. So we should give them some credit and hope that the working groups that have screwed up either have learned from their mistakes or never produces another specification again.

    Having the W3C as a standards organization to ratify and publish ideas and specifications like you have listed, Anne, is still very important.

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  6. Improving the web is an iterative process, in every iteration mistakes are made, but every iteration also solves lots of mistakes. I have good faith in the W3C. For the moment they are ahead of mainstream implementations (XHTML 2/CSS3), and as long as this is the case, they can still change the specs rather extremely!

    They do have to keep up though, it feels like lately they are slowing down that process...

    Posted by me at

  7. I'm with Jacques on this.

    My personal feelings are that the W3C can't control the quality of its Working Groups. Also, (a lot of) Working Groups' goals seem either academic or company-driven (for strategic reasons), not practical.

    It should be noted that HTML, CSS & DOM (as JavaScript) were browser innovations first, W3C standards later. Clearly it is (or used to be) easier for UA's to come up with succesful standards rather than leaving it up to the W3C think up standards. Which is wierd of course, as the UA's are supposed to be the main members of the W3C.

    What concerns me most at this point is that replies tend to be political and "but it works for me" or "I have great hope" permeates them. I am more interested in practical solutions to bring the WG themselves and their output up to scratch.

    P.S. Anne - love your text-decoration ;)

    Posted by James John Malcolm (AkaXakA) at

  8. I don't care if that post is meant to be serious or ironic or whatever, nobody wishes a Web without the W3C. Nobody. While (constructive) criticism is always a good thing, last weeks' stuff is just plain silly, since absolutely one-way. It's like the 16 years old brat whining about her bad, bad parents. (At least sometimes, since I don't want to play down serious issues.)

    Posted by Jens Meiert at

  9. nobody wishes a Web without the W3C.

    Correction: nobody wishes a Web where the W3C had never existed. Past tense. Is it so difficult to imagine that the W3C once served a necessary purpose but has since outlived its usefulness?

    Posted by Mark at

  10. HTML was invented when the Web was invented. So, before the W3C existed, but still because of Tim Berners-Lee. CSS was developed by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos, both of whom worked for the W3C at the time. It started as a W3C standard, which was then implemented in browsers; not the other way around.

    Posted by fantasai at