The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released an updated version of its “Standards for Web Applications on Mobile.” The document summarizes the many technologies developed by the W3C that developers can use to add mobile capabilities to a website.

Standardizing the Mobile Web

The number of users accessing the web via a mobile device continues to grow. In fact, in some countries, more users access the Internet with phones and tablets than traditional computers. The trend is showing no signs of slowing. The expanding number of mobile visitors means website owners can no longer assume their audience has a nice, big monitor, a super-fast connection and the luxury of installing a long list of plugins. If a website is going to be successful long-term it must provide a mobile optimized experience.

Unfortunately, that is not always easy. Web and mobile technology both change rapidly. Mobile devices have wildly different capabilities. However, standards exist that can help, and the W3C developed many of them.

The organization has released the seventh version of its handy “Standards for Web Applications on Mobile,” which summarizes the W3C standards applicable to the mobile web organized in eleven categories: graphics, multimedia, device adaptation, forms, user interactions, data storage, personal information management, sensors and hardware integration, network, communication and discovery, packaging and performance/ optimization. Each category includes an overview and a list of features with the following details:

  • the W3C specification that supports the feature
  • the W3C group responsible for the specification
  • the state of the specification in the W3C process
  • the stability of specification
  • availability of implementations on mobile devices
  • a link to the specification
  • a link to the test suite for the feature/specification


A Standard Future

The Internet and W3C used to be synonymous with web browsers and PCs. Those days are over. The sheer length of standards in this list is evidence of that fact. Although the W3C has summarized standards for mobile, a quick look at the eighth category in the document, “Sensors and hardware integration” hints that mobile won’t be the last new frontier for the W3C or the Internet.