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World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.

Founded and headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Consortium is made up of member organizations which maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the World Wide Web. As of 8 September 2009, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has 356 members.W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.

History of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded by Tim Berners-Lee after he left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in October, 1994. It was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the European Commission and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which had pioneered the Internet.

W3C was created to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards. Prior to its creation, incompatible versions of HTML were offered by different vendors, increasing the potential for inconsistency between web pages. The consortium was created to get all those vendors to agree on a set of core principles and components which would be supported by everyone.

It was originally intended that CERN host the European branch of W3C; however, CERN wished to focus on particle physics, not information technology. In April 1995 the Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA) became the European host of W3C, with Keio University becoming the Japanese branch in September 1996. Starting in 1997, W3C created regional offices around the world; as of September 2009, it has eighteen World Offices covering Australia, the Benelux countries (the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium), Brazil, China, Finland, Germany and Austria, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In January 2003, the European host was transferred from INRIA to the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), an organization that represents European national computer science laboratories.

W3C Recommendations and certifications
In accord with the W3C Process Document, a Recommendation progresses through five maturity levels:
  1. Working Draft (WD)
  2. Last Call Working Draft
  3. Candidate Recommendation (CR)
  4. Proposed Recommendation (PR)
  5. W3C Recommendation (REC)
A Recommendation may be updated by separately published Errata until enough substantial edits accumulate, at which time a new edition of the Recommendation may be produced (e.g., XML is now in its fifth edition). W3C also publishes various kinds of informative Notes which are not intended to be treated as standards.

W3C leaves it up to manufacturers to follow the Recommendations. Many of its standards define levels of conformance, which the developers must follow if they wish to label their product W3C-compliant. Like any standards of other organizations, W3C recommendations are sometimes implemented partially. The Recommendations are under a royalty-free patent license, allowing anyone to implement them.

Unlike the ISOC and other international standards bodies, the W3C does not have a certification program. A certification program is a process which has benefits and drawbacks; the W3C has decided, for now, that it is not suitable to start such a program owing to the risk of creating more drawbacks for the community than benefits.

W3C Standards
W3C/IETF Standards (over Internet protocol suite):
  1. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  2. CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
  3. DOM (Document Object Model)
  4. GRDDL (Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages)
  5. HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
  6. OWL (Web Ontology Language)
  7. P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences Project)
  8. RDF (Resource Description Framework)
  9. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
  10. SISR (Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition)
  11. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
  12. SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language)
  13. SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language)
  14. SRGS (Speech Recognition Grammar Specification)
  15. SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language)
  16. VoiceXML
  17. WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)
  18. WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
  19. XACML (eXtensible Access Control Markup Language)
  20. XForms
  21. XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language)
  22. XHTML+Voice
  23. XML (Extensible Markup Language)
  24. XML Events
  25. XML Infoset (XML Information Set)
  26. XML Schema
  27. XPath
  28. XQuery
  29. XSLT (XSL Transformations)