APRIL 08, 2004 - The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has completed work on a set of technical
specifications that define how scripting programs interact with Web pages. The development marks
an important step toward interoperability on the Web and is a sign of the Web's growing maturity,
according to an industry analyst.
The W3C recommended its Document Object Model Level 3 Core and DOM Load and Save specifications.
A recommendation means the consortium considers a specification stable and ready for use.
Together, the DOM specifications define the application programming interfaces that programs use
to access, manipulate and manage HTML and XML documents. Their completion makes possible "more
sophisticated and powerful combinations of scripting languages and XML documents and data,
including the critical Web services applications space," the W3C said in a statement.
The completion of the DOM specifications is a sign that the Web has come of age. In the 1990s,
the development of competing Web browsers from Microsoft Corp. and the former Netscape
Communications led to incompatibilities in the way software programs interacted with HTML
and XML documents.
Standardizing the DOM solves one of the longest-standing and ugliest chapters of practical
noninteroperability the Web has seen. The Microsoft and Netscape/Mozilla camps built hugely
incompatible implementations of how programs work with HTML and XML documents.
Some programmers will continue using browser-specific extensions they are familiar with,
and the Web's incompatibilities won't disappear overnight. But the completed standards
mean developers now have a way to write compatible code and fix incompatible code already
The W3C's work on the DOM specifications is now complete. The work was started in 1997
and involved more than 20 organizations, including IBM, Macromedia Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc.,
Microsoft, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Object Management Group.