Week in Standards 3

Hello all

Apologies for last week, I had to teach my course at Oxford University and so it was difficult to do the week in standards last week. But we are back this week covering both weeks, and a lot has happened in the world of standards in the last two weeks as we see below.

Lets start with Web Standards:

Web standards

HTML5
HTML5 is the future of web standards but last week, W3C, the governing body for Web standards sounded a note of caution for HTML5 on grounds of (a lack of) privacy and interoperability. Philippe Le Hegaret of the W3C said “we should hold off on deploying HTML5 for now“. Actually, in a stricter sense, HTML5 won’t be ready till 2022 as a W3C recommendation (yes 2022 – the end of the world may come sooner!).  But developers and web sites are not waiting, last week Facebook rebuffs W3C’s HTML5 caution and David Recordon, Facebook’s senior open programs manager, published a description of how Facebook is using HTML5 right now and added that “Our engineering teams started shipping HTML5 functionality over the past few months and we’re quite excited by what’s already possible.”

So, when it comes to HTML5, it seems that developers are not going to wait for W3C standards! Meanwhile, Adobe, which stands to be potentially affected most by HTML5, will support both Web and Mobile apps and is also increasingly supporting HTML5. However, the overall vision of Web standards and open standards for the web is re-emphasised with the belief that the Web will last for 500 years.

Web Appstores
In another important evolution of Web standards, Mozilla has released technical documentation of a proposed open ecosystem for web apps that’s built on standards such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The storefront and apps offered through it will be usable across both desktop and mobile devices that use modern browsers. Mozilla itself will not build an appstore but will instead provide the technologies for others to build their own appstores. This approach contrasts to the forthcoming Google Chrome appstore which will be a commercial ecosystem managed by Google. The Chrome appstore will need users and developers to be using the Chrome browser. Thus, we are seeing some interesting commercial developments on the browser front.

Open v.s. more Open
Another interesting debate is brewing in the world of standards with questions about what is ‘open’ – raised by Steve Jobs in relation to Apple v.s. Android. Android (Google) responded to the criticism by saying that Android was more successful because it was more open. But this article – “How to stop Apple and Google’s great web lockdown” – provides a more balanced perspective:

“Open…and Shut Both Google and Apple are vying to win the “Most Open Platform” prize in the mobile computing beauty pageant, but neither deserves the blue ribbon. Both companies make serious compromises in order to retain control of their platforms. But the emerging HTML5 standard, with a heavy dose of JavaScript, may up-end both companies’ attempts to lock down apps to their respective platforms.”

And facebook developer Joe Hewitt points out:

“Hewitt argues that Android is only open after the fact. That is, the company only releases code after it is complete:Until Android is read/write open, it’s no different than iOS to me. Open source means sharing control with the community, not show and tell.”

Now, over to privacy standards.

Privacy standards

Not for the first time, facebook has been accused of privacy breach and has now promised to encrypt user IDs to block inadvertent sharing. Meanwhile Esther Dyson sees privacy as a marketing problem.

The UK government has revived it’s plan of storing details of every email, web page visit  and phone conversation made from the UK and new domains for privacy continue to be explored – like Digital signage – and Web TV continues to be blocked by some cable networks on the grounds of privacy.

Privacy is increasingly becoming a key battleground but, on the other hand, we see considerable ambiguity on the actual mechanisms and concerns especially from the Government.

Cloud standards

For cloud standards, there are variations at a regional level.  Microsoft calls for APEC cloud harmony and at a national level (for the USA), NIST continues to take a deep interest in cloud standards. Meanwhile in Europe, RSA says that demonstration of cloud security compliance could potentially be an expensive business.

From a technological perspective across geography, there is now for the first time a discussion on standards for M2M(machine to machine) and the cloud, and ofcourse the first version of the Open Stack release is out.

Smart Grid Standards

The first set of Smart Grid standards have been submitted to the energy regulators for approval. A set of five foundational technical standards for Smart Grid interoperability and security have undergone a cybersecurity review by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and have been submitted to federal regulators for adoption. IEC meanwhile have announced an online Smart Grid mapping solution standard.

Telecoms‎

In India, the 2nd International Conference on Green Telecom was held in New Delhi to discuss the greater use of non-conventional energy resources in telecom and how pollution still can be further lowered and in China, the Chinese press celebrates that China’s homegrown fourth-generation (4G) mobile communication standard has been selected as one of six global benchmarks by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – see Chinese 4G mobile standard goes global.

‎This concludes the week in standards.

Our post of the week is this link which is the future of TV is HTML(5) – a deeply insightful and disruptive post both for TV and the Web.

Kind regards,

Ajit