Industry Bodies Establish Formal Liaison Relationship

The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum (www.wapforum.org) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (www.w3.org) today announced a formal liaison relationship to define next-generation Web specifications that support the full participation of wireless devices on the World Wide Web. The WAP Forum and W3C are working together to develop a common process of producing next-generation, XML-based Web specifications, define testing and implementation processes, and promote these specifications to the industry at large.

WAP is the de-facto global standard for providing Internet communications and advanced telephony services on digital mobile phones, pagers, personal digital assistants and other wireless terminals. W3C develops open, interoperable specifications that reinforce and extend the scalability, robustness and capability of the Web as a universal communications medium. By working together, the WAP Forum and the W3C will enable wireless devices to participate as full peers in the universal information space of the Web, largely through the incorporation of WAP's Wireless Markup Language (WML) features into the W3C's XHTML, the next-generation markup language for the Web.

Coordination between the two bodies began this week in Sydney, Australia, in conjunction with the WAP Forum's members meeting. The WAP/W3C coordination committee will meet on a regular basis to maintain consistency between the specifications of the WAP Forum and the W3C, promote common specifications wherever possible, and enable cooperation between the working groups in the WAP Forum and the W3C. Work items include the joint work on XHTML; compatibility with SMIL, the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language; ensuring user control over privacy information; and CC/PP, a universal device profiling system based on W3C's RDF Metadata technology. The two organizations are also producing a joint workshop in position-dependent information services, to be held in Sophia-Antipolis, France, in February 2000.

The WAP Forum is dedicated to enabling advanced services and applications on wireless devices. The W3C is dedicated to leading and advancing the development of the World Wide Web. Together, the two organizations will face the technical challenge of mobile access to information on the Web. WAP Forum and W3C will coordinate on the future development of XML applications and in content adaptation through the use of vector graphics and style sheets. Instead of developing diverging sets of solutions, it is the intent of both groups to find common solutions that will address mobile requirements.

"Our liaison relationship with the W3C represents the key to WAP's convergence with the Internet of the future," said Greg Williams, board chairman of the WAP Forum. "While the WAP Forum and the W3C have different organizational goals, we share goals for the future of the global information space, and we want to avoid unnecessary divergence between the standards of the two organizations."

"The W3C regards the Web as a universal space, and device-independence is a critical piece. Recognizing the needs of digital cellular phones and other portable devices, and incorporating those considerations into the development of Web specifications is critical for the Web's success," said Tim Berners-Lee, director of W3C. "Our liaison relationship with the WAP Forum will work towards the seamless integration of mobile devices and the Web."

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