ERCIM News No.24 - January 1996 - INRIA

Launching the European Branch of the World Wide Web Consortium

by Jean-François Abramatic

A high-level briefing from leading World-Wide Web players took place in Paris on 2 November 1995. Aimed at European suppliers and users of Web-related services, the programme covered the activities of the newly-formed European branch of the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as presentations of Web strategy from the European Commission and the French government.

Since the invention of the W3 (World Wide Web) servers, the Internet has known an even greater explosion. Well over six million machines are now inter-connected around the world. And the number of these famous servers is growing exponentially. Thus the establishment of a global and interactive W3 standard is a high stakes endeavor, which is why an international industrial consortium has been set up, under the guidance of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on the one hand, and INRIA (for Europe), on the other.

Tim-Berners Lee, President of the Word Wide Web Consortium and inventor of the World Wide Web

The conference explained the benefits of joining W3C to members of industry, commercial and user communities. On this occasion, over 1000 delegates were able to contribute to the definition of the objectives and to check up the different activities of the Web. MIT and INRIA will play an active and impartial role in the conception of the Web's architecture, its engineering and management. Objectives: develop an ensemble of W3 protocols, promote them throughout the world, encourage the industrial sector to create products which conform to these protocols, and finally develop a publically available code of reference.

Two panel sessions gave current W3C members an opportunity to air their points of view. These seessions covered technology issues, including standards and security, and also explained the advantages of joining W3C for European industry. Numerous entreprises and organizations have already joined the consortium, such as AGF in France, STET in Italy and Nokia in Finland. Why did they became members ? Firstly, in order to actively participate in setting its directions and to have permanent and privileged access to the work of the consortium. Each member will also be able to incorporate the software and documentation developed by the W3 consortium into the products they create.

According to its President, Alain Bensoussan, "INRIA's role will be to work with MIT and support European efforts to ensure that the particular requirements of European users and suppliers are fully met.". More information on the World Wide Web consortium at:

Please contact:
Jean-François Abramatic - INRIA
Tel.: +33 1 39 63 54 63

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