Today I must blog about the W3C, which is the consortium that sets standards for the World Wide Web. In a packet (hah), the purpose of this organization is to make sure that programmers, developers and other geek-gods of the Web speak the same language, so that we can all enjoy the gloriousness of being able to go anywhere and get anything that’s out there on a server in the great blue yonder.

packet: A unit into which information is divided for transmission across the Internet. (from the WC3 glossary page)

Apologies for waxing philosophical.

The WC3 was founded by a chap by the handle of Tim Berners-Lee (That’s “Sir” to you, by the way) who is often mistakenly credited as the Father of the Internet. On his FAQ for kids, Berners-Lee clarifies that he is not in fact the inventor of the Internet, but of the World Wide Web. On the regular FAQ page, he talks in greater, nerdier detail about the difference between “inventing” the Internet and inventing the Web. But the main difference is that the Internet refers to computers being linked together by a network, and the World Wide Web is “an abstract (imaginary) space of information.”

Going back to W3 Consortium itself, it’s a bit difficult for a non-nerd like me to get a handle on what they do. The site is not especially to navigate, and includes lots and lots of technical reports on various web standards they are in the process of studying, all of them named by the acronym and number combos that geeks are so enchanted with. But if you’re interested in finding out about web technologies, the W3C seems like your go-to place.

Unlike that Jakob Nielsen, the W3 gang seem content to stay on the nerd side of the fence, and wag no fingers about what should be said and how to say it on the Internet. It’s kind of like a theatre – you know the stage manager and director and crew are behind the scenes at the show, but you don’t want them to come out and tell the actors what to do. I have that same feeling towards the W3 – they make the geek magic happen so the designers and writers can do their thing on the WWW.

This entry WAS fuelled by cupcakes and wine.