Facebook headlines new mobile working group

A new W3C community group focusing on mobile browsing has been formed, without any participation so far from Apple or Google.

Facebook is the driving force behind the formation of the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group, an effort to reduce the fragmentation in standards support across different mobile browsers. The group will produce prioritised lists of emerging and de facto standards that browsers will support to allow developers to rely upon those features when building web applications for mobile devices.

The social network says that it receives more traffic from users accessing Facebook via mobile browsers than traffic from its top native applications combined.

Facebook is far from alone in the community group, with 30 members including Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, Intel, Netflix, Adobe, Samsung, Nokia, Vodafone, EA and Zynga also on board. While a number of the companies behind WebKit are on board, the notable absentees in the process are Google and Apple.

The W3C Community Groups do not create formal standards, but can create suggested standards which carry weight within any W3C standarisation process.

Brendan Eich, Mozilla CTO and JavaScript doyen, wrote that the ultimate goal for web-based applications is to rival native applications stacks. To that end, Mozilla also demonstrated the Boot to Gecko project today, an initiative to create a complete, standalone operating system built with HTML5 that will compete with iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Mozilla says that it will work with standard bodies and other vendors to create open standards where none exist, for instance in the usage of telephony, SMS, Bluetooth, USB.

In tandem with the launching of the community group, a test suite aimed at targeting mobile browser capabilities, dubbed Ringmark, was launched by Facebook with the intention of contributing the suite to the community group.

(Credit: Chris Duckett/TechRepublic)