Fronteers — vakvereniging voor front-end developers

A write up of the W3C TPAC 2019

  • Rachel Andrew
  • 28 oktober 2019

This year the W3C Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee Meeting (TPAC) was held in Fukuoka, Japan. As part of my work representing Fronteers in the W3C I attended the two Advisory Committee (AC) meetings held at TPAC, along with the CSS Working Group meeting days. In this post I will highlight some of the things that might be of interest to Fronteers members. I hope this gives a good overview of the breadth of things discussed.

This year TPAC was held in Fukuoka, Japan. As part of my work representing Fronteers in the W3C I attended the two Advisory Committee (AC) meetings held at TPAC, along with the CSS Working Group meeting days. In this post I will highlight some of the things that might be of interest to Fronteers members. I hope this goves a good overview of the breadth of things discussed.

Two public documents that give an great overview of the recent work of the W3C are the W3C Factsheet, and the W3C Strategic Highlights document. These documents give a good picture of what is happening at the W3C in a straightforward manner.

In addition to these documents a financial report was shared which is member-only. If any Fronteers member wishes to view any member-only document, or have further details of anything discussed here, please let me know, I'll be happy to share those with you.

The Tuesday meeting began with an update from the CEO Jeff Jaffe. This introduced some of the topics that would be discussed later in the meeting and reminded us of the fact that in May this year the W3C and the WHATWG succesfully completed the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding rooted in the mutual belief that that having two distinct specifications claiming to be normative is generally harmful for the Web community.

We then moved onto discussion of the W3C becoming a legal entity, and the various legal and administrative matters that this would entail.

The second half of the meeting moved into shorter updates about various areas of the W3C and lightning talks.

Update on Web of Things

There are two groups dealing with WoT in the W3C, an Interest Group which is open to anyone, and a Working Group open only to W3C Members and Invited Experts, in common with all Working Groups.

In June this year a WoT workshop was held in Munich, and the Architecture and Thing Description were published as Candidate Recommendations on 16 May 2019.

Globalization and Inclusion

In this session we heard about the work to make the W3C more inclusive and global. This work falls into categories of Diversity and Inclusion, Facilitation and Culture, and Tools. There are efforts in place across these areas which are owned by members of the Advisory Board (AB).

The area of Diversity and Inclusion achieved the sponsorship of seven people from diverse backgrounds to come to TPAC this year. Funds for this were raised from 10 W3C members and one individual sponsor.

As a CSS Working Group member I experience one change made in the area of Facilitation and Culture in that one CSS Working Group meeting per month has moved to a timezone more friendly to people in the Asia and Pacific region. This aims to include more people in the meetings than would otherwise be able to participate.

In the area of Tools, one area under development is the facilitation of translation for meetings to enable people to participate in their own language, rather than needing to be an English speaker. Other subjects in this area are the use of online tools such as Google Docs which are not accessible in all areas of the world, this is a good reminder to those of us in countries where we can easily access these things that not everyone can.

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

As a follow-on from the discussion on globalization and inclusion was a session on the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (CEPC) being discussed by the Positive Work Environment Community Group.

The group are working to update the CEPC following feedback and referencing other best practices for Codes of Conduct. In addition to producing a document, the group is helping to train people as ombuds who will help in situations where the code has been broken, or when someone has a concern.

The group are keen to receive feedback on the draft, which you can find here.


Fronteers members might be familiar with the Web Incubation Community Group (WICG), which is a place where new web platform ideas can be proposed and discussed outside of a Working Group. In general new platform features should start life here, so this is likely to be the initial place to post if you have an idea which isn't an edit to an existing spec for example.

Chris Wilson gave a presentation about the WICG and other places for incubation, and explained the incubation process for new web platform ideas.

  1. here’s a problem space to solve” → (public!)
  2. WICG post →
  3. Work with community, prototype solutions →
  4. "Minimum Viable Design" - get web developers to try it out
  5. Community-building, iteration, graduation, →
  6. WG (horizontal review, iterate, lock down, implementations) →
  7. W3C Recommendation

As anyone who has seen one of my talks knows, I am very keen to encourage web designers and developers to get involved with web platform features. So do take a look at the threads in the WICG discussions, and see if there are features you have use cases for.

Lightning talks

The session finished with the following lightning talks, designed to highlight different areas of work across the W3C:

  • SVG - Amelia Bellamy-Rhoyds, Invited Expert
  • VR and AR on the Web - Ada Rose Cannon, Samsung
  • Web beyond the browser - Hyojin Song, LG
  • Second Screen on the Web - Mark Foltz, Google

Continuous Standards Development

THe first session of the Thursday meeting was on proposed updates to the process by which specifications on the Recommendation track are worked on, in particular what happens when specifcations in Candidate Recommendation (CR) status need an edit. The current workflow is cumbersome and often means that the spec in CR is quite outdated when compared to the latest Editor's Draft.

There are a range of proposals to help improve this process, which should ultimately help in making the published documents more useful to refer to.

Mini App standardization and next steps

While we in the West tend to hear a lot about PWAs, in China hybrid web and mobile apps are popular, these use web technologies within a native wrapper. The Chinese Web Interest Group are working to standarize this technology. This is a fairly new group, and this session was an update on their activities.

PWAs and Project Fugu

The aim of Project Fugu is:

> "Enable web apps to do anything native apps can, by exposing the capabilities of native platforms to the web platform, while maintaining user security, privacy, trust, and other core tenets of the web."

There are various APIs being developed to meet this aim, their progress can be tracked on the Capabilities Landing Page or the Fugu API Tracker.

How the world pays online - an update on the Web Payments Community Group

The Web Payments Community Group work on a family of specifications. You might be familiar with the Payment Request API, which is the most mature of these specifications and is an API to allow a payment request to be invoked in the browser.

The Group are working on moving Payment Request to Proposed Recommendation, and trying to encourage wider use of these specifications.

CSS Working Group Meetings

We also had two days of CSS Working Group meetings at TPAC, although I had to miss some of the Tuesday afternoon to attend the AC meeting.

A highlight for me was to get a resolution on an outstanding issue meaning that I could publish a new Working Draft of the Multiple-column Layout specification. This WD includes the edits I made after the specification reading workshop that Fronteers members took part in earlier this year.

In addition it was resolved that the CSS Writing Modes specification could go to Proposed Recommendation (PR) Status. This is the last step before it becomes a W3C Recommendation. It was especially nice that it went to PR while we were in Japan, given that Writing Modes is key to being able to set vertical modes such as Japanese.

If any Fronteers member wants to know more about any of the above, please get in touch with me, It's part of my role to pass on any relevant information, or put you in touch with the right people to help.

Members of Fronteers are encouraged to seek access to a members-only channel on our Slack space. If you haven't joined it yet, you can sign up for our Slack automatically. To join the members-only channel, send a private message to Anneke Sinnema (@anneke).

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