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W3C group gets back to basics

A 9-month-old group in the Web's leading standards body publishes a first draft outlining the Web's core principles.

After nine months of public analysis and debate, the Web's leading standards organization has outlined the core principles and practices behind the Web's technologies.

The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Technical Architecture Group (TAG) on Friday published its first working draft, a back-to-basics document titled "Architectural Principles of the World Wide Web."

The document is the first official result of the TAG's labors since it was established late last year in response to concerns that power over the consortium's technical direction was concentrated in the hands of its founder, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

Four of the nine TAG members are appointed by Berners-Lee, while another four are elected by the membership. Berners-Lee himself is the ninth member, with W3C staff member Ian Jacobs joining the group as document editor.

"There was a lot of demand among the membership for this," Jacobs said of the new draft. "Over the years the membership has asked for both a road map to the future and a map of where we've already been."

That road map is meant for both veteran designers of Web specifications and anyone just starting out with an idea. Aiming for simplicity, TAG members are trying to write the shortest document they practically can.

As the TAG is conducting much of its business via the W3C's public mailing lists, it has spent the past nine months fielding feedback. In addition to preparing the architecture draft and spurring it on to recommendation status, the group has been attempting to resolve questions posed by W3C members.