My Experience at TPAC 2014

December 22, 2014 written by Nishanth Babu


The TPAC (Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee) is an annual summit held by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) , where all the Working Groups meet and hash out the various issues and problems in their respective domains. I had the opportunity to observe multiple Groups, and I learnt a lot about the current issues and the new features being proposed. This year’s TPAC also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the W3C.

First, let me explain how the discussions took place. There were two main types of discussions: Working Groups and Break-Out Sessions. In the Working Group discussions involved the members concerned with the various and issues and projects being undertaken by that Group. In the Break-Out Sessions, anyone was allowed to come forth and voice their opinions on the topic.

One of the Groups I observed was the Web Apps Working Group. The members included all the major browser companies like Google, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, Microsoft – along with members from Toshiba, Yandex, NHK and many more. The discussion was about standardizing screen orientations and the manifests for Web Apps.

The way the discussions were conducted was very interesting; they took into account all the user feedback they had received, and huddled over how best to approach the issues and they always placed a huge amount of importance on the User Experience. I found similar forms of approach in the other Groups, as well. I participated in discussions with the Education and Outreach Group, who were discussing how to help users understand the concept of Web Accessibility. They were talking about implementing a tool that would allow users with no experience in Web Development to understand the importance of Web Accessibility. The tool would aim to match the user’s current situation with case studies. This would allow them to understand the importance of Web Accessibility, and foster ideas about how to go about implementing it in their websites.

Being at the W3C made me realize the vast number of industries that are invested in the Web. Companies like Google, Mozilla and Apple are obvious, because they make web browsers – but I found various automobile companies, TV broadcasters, phone companies and even appliance manufacturers – all of them coming together to discuss and improve the Web so that it will make our lives easier.

One of the more interesting conversations I was a part of was the discussion involving CSS for round devices. Round devices? Think Smart Watches. Smart Watches are set to be the next big foray into the Smart Devices market, and discussions are already underway about how to optimize the HTML and CSS for these devices.

With the Internet being declared as a basic necessity in some countries, almost all industries are adopting Web Connectivity into their business – either voluntarily or to gain a competitive edge. The Web is being integrated into everything – from fridges to entire buildings. This is an exciting time for all of us!

In closing, the experience I’ve had at TPAC has been incredible. I look forward to the future of the Web and the future of HTML with eagerness as HTML5 is just getting started.