W3C The W3C is hosted by three educational and nonprofit research groups: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass.; the INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Imformatique et en Automatique), a network of nonprofit and governmental groups throughout Europe; and Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus, in Japan.Despite the W3Cs inability to put an end to the browser wars, the consortiums work on XML and Web accessibility projectsalong with its success at combining people from the areas of IT, development and academiahas kept it at the center of standards development. One example of the W3Cs work illustrates many of its best characteristics: The XML protocol SOAP 1.1 originated in the IETF. SOAP 1.1 was presented as a submission request to the W3C in early 2000, after the group performed a number of outreach activities. W3C paid staff then evaluated SOAP and developed a draft charter that was submitted to the entire W3C membership. The charter defined the scope of the project, along with key requirementsfor example, that the envelope had to be in XML, the protocol had to be in XML and the end result needed to use schemas. The charter also supplied the rationale as to why this work should be done at the W3C. The membership feedback indicated overwhelming acceptance of the charter but with significant additions. Members wanted the work to be closely coordinated with other standards groups, including the IETF and the electronic business XML work that was jointly sponsored by OASIS and the United Nations. The XML work generated the largest working group in the W3C, with comments from W3C members and nonmembers and with more than 400 issues raised and resolved in public discussions. IT managers can monitor the work of the W3C to get a glimpse of cutting-edge efforts to increase the usefulness of the Web. However, the $57,500 membership dues for organizations with moderate revenues will likely keep most IT groups out.
During the browser wars of the early 1990s, the W3C attempted to be the neutral group that tried to maintain peace and make progress. To that end, the W3C developed a browser/authoring tool called Amaya that was promptly ignored as a compliance testing resource. If the W3C had had a certification program at the time, the browser wars might have been averted.