Approval process of specifications by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

The process of approving Web Standards by W3C includes following 7 steps.

  1. Receive Submission
  2. Publish Note
  3. Working Group
  4. Working Draft
  5. Candidate Recommendation
  6. Proposed Recommendation
  7. Final Recommendation

Let us go through each step in detail –

Receive Submission:
First, W3C receives a submission of a proposed Web Standard. They will scrutinize the submission and decide whether to proceed with it or not. If they think it is valid one, then they will proceed to the next step.

Publish Note:
Once decided to work on a Submission, W3C will publish a public note about it. The Note will be in the form of a document prepared by the member that submitted it. The note can be modified or discarded at any time in this phase.

Working Group:
After publishing the Note, a working group is formed which consists of members and other interested parties. This phase indicates that the work is in progress. This group will work on the standard and report their observations along with modifications/enhancements to the submission, if any.

Working Draft:
Next, the Working drafts submitted by the Working Group are posted on W3C website. In this phase, the consortium will also consider the comments of public on the standard. A working draft indicates that the work is in progress and it should not be used as a reference material. The content can be changed, modified or removed at any time during this phase.

Candidate Recommendation:
For complex proposals, the W3C Advisory Committee releases the specification as Candidate Recommendation as these requires more inputs, more testing and takes more time. Then the specification is tested by members, vendors (implementers of specification) and feedback will be sent to W3C Committee.
Usually most of the browsers will implement the specification which is in Candidate Recommendation stage for allowing the public to test it.
If a specification passes Candidate Recommendation phase, we can assume it to be there in the Final Recommendation (might be with slight modifications, in some cases).

Proposed Recommendation:
In this phase, the Working Group’s consensus is reviewed by W3C Advisory Committee. Few changes will be made, if necessary.

Final Recommendation:
Once the specification passes the Proposed Recommendation stage, the W3C Advisory Committee’s consensus and stamped with W3C Director’s approval. After recommendation, the specification will be recognized as a feature and it will remain stable. The developers can build software using this feature.

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