This blog post is about a number of hard lessons learned at the World Wide Web Consortium W3C while building new features for the Web with browser vendors and how political and frustrating the process can be.
The W3C Web Payments Community Group a person pre-standardization effort around payments on the Web has been in operation now for a bit more than
Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc years. This effort was instrumental in starting conversations around the payments initiative at W3C and has, over the years, incubated many ideas and pre-standards specifications around Web Payments.
The first community group was composed of roughly people from the general public the Web Payments Community Group.
The second community group was composed of a handful of employees from browser vendor companies fewer than 7 active. I do believe that there is still room for the Web Payments Community Group to influence the work, but we face a grueling uphill slog. The rest of this post analyzes a particular W3C standards development anti-pattern that we discovered over the last few years and attempts to advise future groups at W3C so that they may avoid the trap in "Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc" we became ensnared.
I am biased, so take this post with a grain of salt. That said, my bias is a well-informed one. For a while now, the W3C Community Group process seemed to be working as designed.
So far, so good. While it took twice as long to start Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc Working Group as we had hoped, we had far greater support going in than we imagined when we embarked on our journey in When W3C Working Groups are created, they are expected to produce technical specifications that expand the capabilities of the Web.
Often input is taken from Community Group documents, existing specifications and technology created by corporate organizations, research organizations, and workshops. This input is then merged into one or more Working Group specifications under the control of the Working Group. That is how it is supposed to work, anyway. In reality, there are many shenanigans that are employed by some of the largest organizations at W3C that get in the way of how things are supposed to work.
As a result, they put something together in a couple of weeks and incubated it at the Web Incubator Community Group. The explanation that the Microsoft and Google representatives used was that they were just figuring this stuff out and wanted a bit of time to incubate their ideas before merging them into the Web Payments Working Group. I think everyone truly believed that would happen at the time.
The thing the Web Payments Working Group did not want to happen, the selection of one specification with absolutely zero content being merged in from the other specification, ended up happening. At the start of the "Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc" Group, two sets of specification editors agreed to put together proposals for the Web Payments Working Group.
The first set of specification editors consisted of members of the Web Payments Community Group. The second set of specification editors consisted of employees from Microsoft and Google. This took an enormous amount of effort and the work continued for weeks.
This inevitably led to closed discussion, misunderstanding motives, backchannel discussions, and a variety of other things that are harmful to the standardization process. In hindsight, this was trouble waiting to happen. This sort of system pits the editors and the group against itself and the most likely outcome is a Web Payments Community Group vs. Systems often force a particular outcome and this system forces harmful competition and a winner take all outcome.
This desire to not use JSON-LD by the browser vendors was never communicated through any public channel nor was it directly communicated by the browser vendors privately. This is particularly bad form in an open standardization initiative as it leaves the editors to guess at what sort of proposal would be attractive to the browser vendors.
Once again, the Web Payments Community Group editors in an attempt to propose a workable specification to the browser vendors reworked the Web Payments Community Group specifications to compromise and remove JSON-LD as the message extensibility mechanism, ensuring it was purely optional and that no browser would have to implement any part of it. We did this not because we thought it was the best solution for the Web, but in an effort to gain some traction with the browser vendors.
This modification was met with no substantive response from the browser vendors. It became clear that they too could be Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc for time and did not have the bandwidth to review or participate in the counter-proposal discussions.
The proposal received no substantive response or questions from the browser vendors. Google put forward a registration proposal 12 hours before the Web Payments face-to-face meeting and announced it as a proposal during the face-to-face.
Instead of adding an issue marker to the specification to add features, like was being done for other pull requests, the editors unilaterally decided to merge one particular pull request that took the specification from three paragraphs to many pages overnight.
This happened the day before a discussion about taking that specification to First Public Working Draft. The Web Payments Community Group specification editors went into the meeting believing that there "Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc" be a number of hard compromises made during the meeting, but a single merged specification would come out as a result of the process.
For most of the afternoon, discussion went back and forth with the browser vendors vaguely pushing back on suggestions made by the Web Payments Community Group specifications. Most of the arguments were kept high-level instead of engaging directly with specification text. Many of newer Web Payments Working Group participants were either unprepared for the discussion or did not know how to engage in the discussion.
Further, solid research data seemed to have no effect on the position of the browser vendors. After several hours of frustrating discussion, one of the Chairs posed an interesting thought experiment. He asked that if the group flipped a coin and picked a specification, if there were any Web Payments Working Group members that could not live with the outcome. At that point, it became clear to me that all of our attempts to engage the browser vendors had been entirely unsuccessful. Even if it was purely
Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc issue of time, they made no effort to indicate they saw value in reviewing our specifications.
In the end, there were only two outcomes that I could see. The first was a weeks-to-months-long protracted fight which had a very high chance of dividing the group further and greatly reducing the momentum we had built. After having some time to reflect on what happened during the meeting, here are the most prominent things that went wrong along the way:. Giving browser vendors significant control over a browser API specification and providing feedback via pull requests is what currently works best at W3C.
The downside here, of course, is that no one but the browser vendors can expect to have a significant voice in the creation of new browser APIs. There are a few exceptions to the patterns listed above as some specification editors are more benevolent than others. Some put in more due diligence than others. Some standardization initiatives are less politically charged than others. Overall, there has to be a better way at doing specifications for browser APIs than what we have at W3C now.
As a best practice, a Working Group should never have multiple specifications that are still being incubated when it starts. The Working Group should pick either one specification before it starts or start with a blank specification and build from there. Barring what is said above, if the group decides to incubate multiple specifications which is a terrible ideahere is a simple three-step proposal that could have been used to avoid the horror show that was the first couple of months of the Web Payments Working Group:.
This approach does inject some level of fairness to those participants that are not browser vendors and forces due diligence into the process from all sides. If the Web is supposed to be for everyone, our specification creation process for browser APIs needs to be available to more than just the largest browser vendors.
The event was being held in Dubai this year. It is a city of extremes. It contains the highest density of stunningly award-winning sky scrapers while the largest expanses of desert loom just outside of the city. Man-made islands dot the coastline, willed into shapes like that of a multi-mile wide palm tree or massive lumps of stone, sand, steel and glass resembling all of the countries of the "Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc."
I saw the largest in-mall aquarium in the world and ice skated in degree weather. Poverty lines the outskirts of Dubai while ATMs that vend gold can be found throughout the city. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maybachs, and Porsches roared down the densely packed highways while plants struggled to survive in the oppressive heat and humidity. The extravagances nestle closely to other extremes of Dubai: In a way, it was the perfect location for the worlds premier banking conference.
The capital it took to achieve everything that Dubai had to offer flowed through the banks represented at the conference at some point in time.
The conference was broken into two distinct areas. It was large, roughly the size of four football fields. Innotribe, the less-traditional and much hipper innovation track, was outside of the conference hall and focused on cutting edge thinking, design, new technologies.
Innotribe is trying to fix the problem of innovation in banking. One of the most surprising things that I learned during the conference was the different classes of customers a bank has and which class of customers are most profitable to the banks. Many people are under the false impression that the most valuable customer a bank can have is the one that walks into one of their branches and opens an account.
In general, the technology industry tends to value the individual customer as the primary motivator for everything that it does. This impression, with respect to the banking industry, was shattered when I Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc the head of an international bank utter the following with respect to banking branches: The implication is that most customers are not very profitable to banks and are thus not a top priority.
This summarizes the general tone of the conference with respect to customers when it came to Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc managers of these financial institutions. For example, it has been possible to do realtime payments over the current banking network for a while now. The standards and technology exists to do so within the vast majority of the bank systems in use today. In fact, enabling this has been put to a vote for the last five years in a row.
Every time it has been up for a vote, the banks have voted against it. The banks make money on the day-to-day float against the transfers, so the longer it takes to complete a transfer, the more money the banks make. I did hear a number of bankers state publicly that they cared about the customer experience and wanted to improve upon it.
However, those statements rang pretty hollow when it came to the product focus on the show floor, which revolved around B2B software, high-frequency trading protocols, high net-value transactions, etc. There were a few customer-focused companies, but they were dwarfed by the size of the major banks and financial institutions in attendance at the conference. Their standards team is very big, many times larger than the W3C, and extremely well funded.
The primary job of the standards team at SWIFT is to create standards that help their member companies exchange financial information with the minimum amount of friction. Their flagship product is a standard called ISOwhich is a 3, page document that outlines every sort of financial message that the SWIFT network supports today.
The SWIFT standards team are a very helpful group of people that are trying their hardest to pull their membership into the future. They know that technology is going to eventually disrupt their membership and they want to make sure that there is a transition path for their membership, even if their membership would like to view these new technologies, like Bitcoin, PaySwarm, and Ripple as interesting corner cases.
Most view personal relationships as the fundamental Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc that keeps their industry ticking. This means that standards and new technologies almost always take a back seat to other more profitable endeavors such as implementing proprietary high frequency trading and derivatives trading platforms as opposed to customer-facing systems like PaySwarm. Compare this with the primary customer of most Web-based organizations and the W3C, which is the individual.
Since SWIFT is primarily designed to serve the banks, and banks make most of their money doing things like derivatives and high-frequency trading, there really Uber twitter error validating twitter credentials ctc no champion for the customer in the banking organizations.
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I was catching up on news this morning when the following floated past on Twitter: . Instead of creating a single uber-specification, we should instead split the document In a CTC process, as used at the W3C, consensus should reached.
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