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The Internet

W3C Launches Technical Architecture Group 55

jdaly writes " In an effort to build shared understanding of Web Architecture principles, W3C has chartered and assembled a Technical Architecture Group - the TAG for short. The TAG will document cross-technology Web architecture principles, and resolve architectural issues. The TAG will conduct its work on a public mailing list. Chair Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Cotton, Roy Fielding, David Orchard, Norman Walsh, and Stuart Williams join appointees Tim Bray, Dan Connolly, and Chris Lilley as the first TAG participants. Of note to Slashdot readers (perhaps): Neither Tim Bray nor Roy Fielding are connected with W3C Member organizations. Instead, they were chosen for their knowledge and achievements - as well as the importance they have in technical communities. Here is the general press release and the TAG homepage. "
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W3C Launches Technical Architecture Group

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  • by sparkyz ( 256676 ) on Friday December 14, 2001 @09:07AM (#2703857) Homepage
    I just don't know if another WG is going to change anything. The "business of the web" forges ahead (or sideways, or in reverse) pretty consistently in defiance of any standards or consensus. Sometimes they even try to present their own proprietary technologies as THE standard. Remember in the early days of the MS anti-trust case and Netscape and AOL whining that MS had used their versions of the technologies to assert a control over the net that they were not entitled to. But yours (and my) feelings about MS aside, it was really a joke because both NS and AOL had already spent years subverting the standards to their own purposes. It's going to take a lot more than a dozen, admittedly great, minds hammering out a philosophyover coffeee and cigars.
  • by InterruptDescriptorT ( 531083 ) on Friday December 14, 2001 @09:16AM (#2703900) Homepage
    It's good to see this simply because cross-Web architectures will no longer be left to companies like Microsoft, who will then try to push DCOM and other incompatible technologies on software companies and, ultimately, consumers. While you may like or dislike DCOM and similar technologies, these closed standards make interoperability difficult and the lack of an open steering group can only harm future developments in this area.

    Also, I'm heartened to see big names with good cred involved in the process. This is not a group of no-names we're talking about here; these are knowledgeable people with a solid background in the matter, and this can only be good for the future direction of these technologies.
    • Since when have Microsoft been alone in doing this? Let's face it, it was Netscape that started this trend of proprietory extensions with their additions to HTML, and companies like AOL and Freeserve that are happy to try and provide gated communities that leverage the strengths of the internet whilst keeping users locked into their domains.

      At least Microsoft is for once doing the right thing with SOAP [microsoft.com].

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Of course, in theory, DCOM was supposed to be an open standard based on dce-rpc. And, of course, given that MS controlled the only major implementation of that standard, it all went pear-shaped. I confidently predict the same will happen to the ECMA-standardised C# and .net bits + pieces.

      Which would you prefer? A de-facto standard with several independent proprietary and open source implementations (e.g. Java/J2EE), or an "official" standard with 1 (one) fully functional implementation? (e.g. C#/.net)
    • >Also, I'm heartened to see big names with good
      >cred involved in the process.
      True, but where is IBM? I miss them!
      You are a disease, and we are the cure....
  • If these guys do their jobs right, maybe we will see enough improvement that webpages won't have to be specially designed to work with all browsers any more. Think of all the extra time you'd have on your hands...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2001 @09:19AM (#2703920)
    I'm sure the Technical Architecture Group is pivotal to all life on earth but let's get one thing clear. The buzzword of 2002 is "architecture". In case you've been living in Layton UT for the last 3 months you've realized by now every commercial on TV and every website has finished or is about to finish changing its strategy to focus on "architecture". Just a nugget of career advancing vocabulary you should tack onto your "solution", "commerce", and "appliance" words of 1999, 2000, and 2001 respectively.
    • In case you've been living in Layton UT for the last 3 months you've realized by now every commercial on TV and every website has finished or is about to finish changing its strategy to focus on "architecture". Just a nugget of career advancing vocabulary you should tack onto your "solution", "commerce", and "appliance" words of 1999, 2000, and 2001 respectively.

      Whew. Thank gods. For the last 4 years, I've been working on a commerce appliance solution architecture.

      (hey, it's Friday, give me a bre -- *thwack* )

      -Lunatic
      • For the last 4 years, I've been working on a commerce appliance solution architecture.
        We should talk! We're a top-rated provider of enterprise-wide turnkey deployable multitier client-server solutions. I smell co-branding money...
    • Don't you love these... I remember when it was "software" then it became "solutions". Sites like IBM's didn't offer products anymore, they offered solutions or better yet "e-solutions". Its all the same thing people, for instance we provide web hosting, you can call it what you like... e-commerce, virtual server, e-business, it doesn't change a thing. Now everyone is talking about architecture and throwing around cool words like "IP" and "Pipeline", don't you just love those Qwest and Sprint commercials... Come on "VPN" most average TV viewers have no clue what that is, but it sounds cool to them, I guess. Its these big companies that are trying to re-market the same old thing with a new fancy label, some of the marketing execs need serious help.
  • In creating systems, normally you have an architecture in which you design and code to. Having a architecture, after the fact, can help, but is not nearly as useful as having it to start.
  • No independents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheNut ( 203385 ) <matthew.king@tesco.net> on Friday December 14, 2001 @09:35AM (#2703993) Homepage

    Apart from perhaps the w3c members themselves, there are no 'independent' members of any kind. No-one, for example, from the EFF or Commercial Linux/BSD vendors (are there commercial BSD vendors?)

    • Apart from perhaps the w3c members themselves, there are no 'independent' members of any kind. No-one, for example, from the EFF or Commercial Linux/BSD vendors (are there commercial BSD vendors?)

      That is a somewhat bizare idea, it is a technical group, not a policy group. Danny Weitzner is the policy wonk at W3C, having come from CDT.

      I am not aware of a significant degree of participation in W3C from the Linux vendor community so it is not surprising they are not represented. There is a big difference between writing code and architecture.

      What is somewhat disappointing is the lack of any security architect and the preponderance of XML designers. This is not surprising since Roy was practically the only HTTP person nominated.

  • The creation of this group will likely improve the W3Cs ability to manage the growth of XML-based technologies that are being submitted. This should be a good thing for developers who use XML, as the really cool stuff should be available sooner now.
  • FONT and CSS junk [google.com]

    and

    Web page development tools that don't work - from the W3C [google.com]

    Maybe someone will read thru these and make some recomendations to the W3C!!!!
  • They need to train special armed forces to make sure every one stay on W3C recomends...
  • W3C has chartered and assembled a Technical Architecture Group - the TAG for short

    Let's hope they never have to conform to the standards - by having an end-TAG.

  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn.earthlink@net> on Friday December 14, 2001 @10:50AM (#2704386)
    I'm not sure I approve of any more "innovations" by the W3C. Their last one is still sticking in my throat.

    Standards must be freely useable. If they aren't, then they aren't standards. If some body which calls itself a standards organization creates a "standard" that is not freely useable then they have simultaneously:
    a) degraded the language
    b) dishonored themselves
    c) thrown into doubt all of their previous an future actions.

    Has the W3C rescinded the RAND proposal? If so, then I haven't heard about it. If not, then they aren't a standards group, and if they claim to be one they lie. They were a standards group.
    .
    • In response to public comments and the reaction of various member organizations, the W3C invited Bruce Perens and Eben Moglen to join the Patent Policy Working Group. They also plan a new draft of the Patent Policy document. This was widely reported, so I'm surprised you haven't heard about it. See this announcement [w3.org].

      The W3C does not call itself a standards body. It issues "recommendations".

    • Has the W3C rescinded the RAND proposal?

      Well first off it was never a W3C policy, it was a proposal from a working group. Under W3C rules a group of members can make any assinine proposal they care to.

      The issue was rather more complex than presented on slashdot. In particular as Microsoft pointed out the Royalty Free policy was broken as it was written. The usual scheme in the IETF is that you grant an RF license to any user, provided that they don't exercise a patent against the spec themselves. So that bit needs to be re-written.

      It may well be the case that the W3C cannot do any work on Voice-XML under an RF policy. This is the same dilema that faced the IETF with the RSA encryption patent. But it turns out that the patent holders are probably not going to offer even RAND terms so the point is likely moot.

      So the likely outcome is going to be that the W3C patent policy will end up looking like the IETF one - which is hardly a great suprise. The W3C is the group that wrote PNG to circumvent the UNISYS GIF patent after all.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    But they don't know anything about technical architecture! Look at the crap they've come up with: DOM, HTTP 1.0, HTML standards that aren't backward compatible, XML for everything. Ugh. These guys have set network computing back 30 years by being the first ones out the gate with inferior solutions.
    • Ugh. These guys have set network computing back 30 years by being the first ones out the gate with inferior solutions.

      Bzzzt...

      Ted Nelson came up with hypertext in the 70s. So much for being 'first out of the gate'.

      Until Tim came along the field had got precisely nowhere with fifty plans for broken hypertext schemes backed by database systems that didn't scale.

      The hypertext community deserved what they got, they failed to deliver, Tim did.

      There are plenty of failed hypertext wonks who will explain why their system was better than the Web, just as there are network architects that will tell you how great OSI networking is, and folk who will explain how they would have caught the 40 yard pass if they were playing in the superbowl.

      If you think Xanadu is better than the Web then maybe you should wait a couple of centuries while Ted finishes it. The rest of us realise that having an 80% solution today is better than waiting forever for a 100% solution.

  • Too Late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Friday December 14, 2001 @11:37AM (#2704682)
    Maybe, if during the HTTP NG proposals, the W3 was a bit more...motivated then this might be relevant...but at this point I don't think anyone really cares what the W3 thinks about "web architecture"....which I'm not even quite sure what they mean. Are they talking about XML? Plenty of W3 groups already address that. Privacy? Ditto. Markup? Ditto again.

    This sounds like another circle jerk with the same professional committee-sitters as you'll find on half of the other W3 boards.

    • Re:Too Late (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Right on! There are more working groups and recommendations, candidate recomendations, working drafts than anyone can possibly deal with. Talk about stifling innovation. If every one followed these "Standatds" written by committees of self interested beaurocrats we'd have a web that would be so full of errors it would be impossible to do anything. These guys should go home and let people just get to work!
  • by mir ( 106753 )

    I for one am really happy to see Tim Bray back in the W3C process. It's good to see someone as efficient, experimented and no-nonsense as him involved.


    Plus of course as a Perl hacker, it's good to see the guy who coined the phrase "desperate Perl Hacker" (a target of the XML specification, the DPH can supposedly write an XML parser in a week) in a position to remind other W3C Working Groups that there exists indeed other languages than Java.

    • It's a grad student who's supposed to be able to write an XML parser in a week. The DPH extracts data from an XML document *without* an XML parser, probably by using Perl regular expressions.
  • Regardless of whether or not this is a good idea (I have my doubts about most things the W3C does these days, but still), their decision to go mailing list is IMO crappy. ML's are nice for people who don't have much to say, but for real, down-to-earth continuous and semi-real time discussion and feedback nothing beats newsgroups. I'm not suggesting they set up a new Usenet hierarchy (or even use an existing one), but I'd think that if they can host a ML they can sure as heck put up an NNTP server and do their thing there. They have to moderate anyway, so there's no difference.

    Not to go OT here, but who really thinks the different OSS mailing lists are a better medium than a good ol' newsgroup?

    This morning's $0.02
  • TAG charter (Score:4, Informative)

    by dorchard ( 543914 ) on Friday December 14, 2001 @01:51PM (#2705389)
    Seems to be a fair bit of misunderstanding about the TAG and it's charter. It's not going to make browsers implement the same version of xhtml, it's not going to stop innovation or solve world hunger. At least what it can do is actually document what the current web architecture is, maybe prevent messes like absolute/relative URI xml namespace names, arbitrate on overlaps between W3C working groups, and liase better with non-W3C working groups. Cheers, Dave Orchard
    • This is from one of the newly elected TAG members

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