Web Founder Against Mobile-Only Domain

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Last March, several leading companies from the mobile industry — including Microsoft, HP, and Nokia — requested that a Top Level Domain (TLD) be created for web sites that are intended solely for handhelds and smartphones. Recently, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the technology behind the World Wide Web, came out in opposition to this plan.

At the time it made the request to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the group of companies said they hoped a “.mobi” TLD will create business opportunities for companies servicing mobile customers. They also hoped it will spur the development of compelling new mobile services and applications.

However, the W3C Technical Advisory Group, of which Mr. Berners-Lee is a member, has released a statement that says, in part, “There are major problems with these proposals. There are costs in general to creating any new top level domain. There are specific ways in which the “.mobi” breaks the Web architecture of links, and attacks the universality of the Web.”

Rather than creating special versions of web site appropriate for different devices, the W3C Technical Advisory Group would prefer that all pages be able to handle any type of device. According to it, this can be done through the use of Style Sheets and a variety of new methods just coming into use for the client to be able to tell the server what its capabilities are. These will allow the server to only send content appropriate for the client.

Without this interoperability, if a user finds an interesting or useful web page while browsing with his smartphone, he will be unable to later access the same page on another device, like his PC at home.

The group is also opposed to the creation of a TLD whose domains will only be available to companies. In addition, Mr. Berners-Lee suspects that these domains will only be available to the companies who have proposed the new TLD.

The full text of the statement can be found on the W3C Technical Advisory Group’s web site.

About Tim Berners-Lee

In the late 1980s, while working at CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a system of linking documents together that would later become the World Wide Web. In the early 1990s he developed the first web server and the first web browser. This debuted on the Internet in 1991.

Mr. Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium in 1994 and has served as its director ever since. This group develops specifications, guidelines, software, and tools in an attempt to lead the Web to its full potential.

Thanks to infoSync World for the tip.

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