Webizen is no more. Yay! We released W3C Developers Avenue instead, and it’s a good thing! It’s much simpler, streamlined and more scalable.
Webizen kept a public task force busy for a year and went through two major iterations between W3C TPAC 2013 in Shenzhen and TPAC 2014 in Santa Clara, where the W3C Advisory Committee approved the proposal.
In the year leading to last week’s TPAC 2015 in Sapporo, we redid all again! An implementation of Webizen representation groups was going to be a forum. Meanwhile, the Team had been experimenting with a new forum, Discourse, to which anyone can bring ideas; and the Web Platform Working Group charter was being developed, a component of which was for the community to incubate new web platform features via Github and Discourse. So, we slowed down rolling out Webizen as we realised some Webizen participation benefits were going to be made available for free under the Discourse banner, and to rethink what would make sense to put together.
While Webizen was a modestly fee-based participation program, we abandoned the idea of benefits for a fee, and introducing instead a gratitude program, Friends. We focused on how W3C gives developers a greater voice, and which services the Web developers value in particular: our free validators and tools, to build Web content that works now and will work in the future; W3C Community Groups that more than six thousand people have embraced since 2011, to propose and incubate new work; our free and premium Training program, to learn from the creators of the Web technologies; and Discourse, to share ideas and feedback with the community on Web Standards.
It was important for us to release during TPAC 2015, and it was high time we did, really. After all, it was an anniversary date of the question from which it all stemmed. The first anniversary was the approval of a version, the second had to be the launch. And we did it, in the nick of time, but it was challenging.
I tested my abilities to manage a project and I learned a lot for the future, to say the least. Meanwhile, to make up for this, I worked over weekends, in the plane, and every night in Japan leading to the launch. Karen gave good feedback on content and Guillaume, as designer and integrator, scrumed with coding. The foundations of the work had been laid out months ago, but many of the building blocks still needed attention and polish, that we applied right up to the release on the W3C Technical Plenary Day, literally two minutes before the H hour.
I had aimed for much earlier in the day and for a fuller version, but a piece of code in the Friends component stopped working and when it was obvious it was not going to be fixed in time, we had to back-track a little. Donations to support the W3C mission and free developer tools are thus possible via Paypal only at this point, but soon we will accept contributions via credit card through MIT, a 501(c)(3) organization, which are tax-deductible for United States citizens.
Next steps for W3C Developers Avenue are more Developer meetups and outreach, and general (r)evolutions to further developer engagement at W3C and the value of W3C to the Web community. You have thoughts on those? I welcome your input!
I wrote on the topic before: Individuals influencer of the Web at W3C –utopia? (February 2014), Introducing #Webizen electoral college (April 2014).