Farewell to W3C

A view of Felixstowe beach and pier

Felixstowe beach and pier. Credit: Martin Pettitt via Wikipedia

I first came across W3C around 2002/2003 when I was working with PICS. Someone told me about a 'new technology' called RDF that I really should look into. I did. I printed out the specification documents and sat and read them on Felixstowe beach.

Realising that I wanted and needed to know more, I noted some of the names of the editors and, more or less at random, tried to contact one of them. That 'one' was Dan Brickley who, to my amazement at the time, answered my e-mail and invited me to go and visit him at ILRT in Bristol. When I did so a couple of weeks later, I not only met him but Libby Miller, Max Froumentin and Dave Beckett, all of whom were working on an EU Project that helped to fund some of the groundwork for the Semantic Web. DanBri, as he is universally known, has remained a source of friendly wisdom for me, as he is for so many others.

They were the first members of the extended family of W3C folk that I have had the pleasure and enormous privilege of working with in various roles since then. I've been a WG member, an editor, an AC Rep, and the chair of both an XG and a WG. In February 2009 I added a new role to that list when I became a Team member. If there's one organisation I know well it's the World Wide Web Consortium.

Everyone who works on the Team says it's a privilege. It is, it really is. 50 or so ceaselessly interesting, engaging, smart people, only a handful of whom actually work in the three host offices, somehow manage to work together and keep the Web on track as a royalty-free, standards-based, interoperable system that works on everything from giant plasma screens to mobile phones. The tools help: the Zakim conference bridge, RRSAgent, Trackbot, the mailing lists, the Web site with its public, member and team access controls - they knock the socks off anything commercially available - but of course it's the people that really make it work.

I am deeply grateful to them all for their support, inspiration and friendship.

Group photo of the W3C Team, March 2010

The W3C Team, March 2010. Click the image for a larger version. See the original page to put names to the faces.

My time on the Team comes to an end today but I have a feeling that my hopes of future engagement with working groups, the Rec Track and all the rest of it, will not go unfulfilled.

Why am I going? Because I am focussing my energy on developing my new role as a consultant at Talis. What do we do at Talis? Why, RDF of course.

Time on a beach is often time well spent.

31 December 2010
See also World Wide Web@20
TimBL on Richard Dawkins' list of giants with big shoulders