Stands for "World Wide Web Consortium." The W3C is an international community that includes a full-time staff, industry experts, and several member organizations. These groups work together to develop standards for the World Wide Web.

The mission of the W3C is to lead the Web to its full potential by developing relevant protocols and guidelines. This is achieved primarily by creating and publishing Web standards. By adopting the Web standards created by the W3C, hardware manufacturers and software developers can ensure their equipment and programs work with the latest Web technologies. For example, most Web browsers incorporate several W3C standards, which allows them to interpret the latest versions of HTML and CSS code. When browsers conform to the W3C standards, it also helps Web pages appear consistent across different browsers.

Besides HTML and CSS standards, the W3C also provides standards for Web graphics (such as PNG images), as well as audio and video on the Web. The organization also develops standards for Web applications, Web scripting, and dynamic content. Additionally, the W3C provides privacy and security guidelines that websites should follow.

The World Wide Web Consortium has played a major role in the development of the Web since it was founded in 1994. As Web technologies continue to evolve, the W3C continues to publish new standards. For example, many of the technologies included in Web 2.0 websites are based on standards developed by the W3C. To learn more about the W3C and the current standards published by the organization, visit the W3C website.

Updated May 6, 2010 by Per C.

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