Find out who's responsible for setting the standards for the World
Wide Web and the information technology universe in general? Here
are some of the major players.
The W3C is the source for most of the recommendations that concern
web developers. They produce recommendations for the implementation
of such technologies as XHTML, the Document Object Model, and Cascading
You may have noticed that we haven't used the word “standards”
yet. That's because the W3C is not a standards body. Instead, the
W3C organizes groups of experts in web-related fields. These groups
produce recommendations on how to implement web technology.
Although the W3C does not have any enforcement power over how their
recommendations are implemented, most of their recommendations are
taken as de facto standards.
This is a true standards body, with the resources to test products
for standards compliance. They give their seal of approval to products
that pass their tests. Along with computer and web-based technology
standards, ISO also administers over 13,000 standards, ranging from
standards for freight containers to the identification of musical
Another wide-ranging standards organization, ANSI is well-known as
being the keeper of ASCII, the American Standard Code for Information
This group has developed and maintained the Unicode standard, which,
as their website says, “...provides a unique number for every
character, no matter what the platform, no matter what the program,
no matter what the language.” Using Unicode makes it easier
to develop multi-lingual versions of websites and documents.
The IETF is the home of the Request For Comments (RFCs) that define
the infrastructure of the Internet; these include such protocols as
FTP, TCP/IP, and the format of email addresses.
Formerly the European Computer Manufacturers Association, this group
is responsible for many information-based technology standards, including