Organisers at the W3C are working on various initiatives related to sustainability. Over the last few months, two new community groups (CGs) were started to focus on sustainability and how it pertains to the web and the W3C as an organisation. [^1] After doing some reading about the revived Sustainable Web (sustyweb) group, I decided to join and see how I could help.
I attended my first meeting of the community group today, the second meeting the group has held so far since reconvening. I have never attended a W3C meeting before so I was not sure what to expect. In the first part of the meeting, we discussed logistics.
We had to put our name next to a topic that would be discussed in a breakout room. I wish I could have been in all of the rooms at once but my limited understanding of the laws of physics indicates that is not possible. I chose to join the web developer room since I was curious about sustainable web design and development in the context of hands-on coding. Other rooms included one for business strategy and product management, measurement, and design.
When we broke out into rooms based on the subject room we chose, we coordinated on more logistics (meeting cadence, appointing a scribe, etc.). Then, we had some high-level discussions and idea sharing that pertained to the subject of our room.
One topic that came up was the need for practical guidance for web developers on how they can build more sustainable websites. We need to find authoritative, well-researched reports to help us build a shared understanding of what changes may improve the carbon footprint of a website. This is going to take time, for sustainability and the web is an emerging field and the data available is limited. (Note: If you know of any exciting reports or data sources related to the web and sustinability, please let me know.) Whether this is something that could be written as a community resource or by individuals is a topic of discussion for further down the line. Nonetheless, what I learn from these discussions I plan to take on to how I develop web applications.
Toward the end of the meeting, every group leader shared what was discussed in their breakout room. I plan to read over the meeting minutes to learn more about what other teams discussed.
I have limited experience with sustainability in web development but I feel like participating in this community group will both be an excellent place to learn. I hope to be able to contribute to documentation while I build confidence as I am new to both the W3C process and web sustainability.
The community group is open for participation for anyone interested in advancing sustainability in the web. There are plenty of challenges to work on and problems to solve, from engaging in productive discourse to weigh the pros and cons of existing methods of measurement to figuring out, based on data, what changes result in a more green website. You can learn more about and join the community group on the W3C sustyweb Community Group homepage.
[^1] A quick note on terminology and responsibilities: Community groups do not write standards. This is a role assumed by working groups. Community groups can prepare best practices and submit them to the W3C for further consideration, which may put a piece of work on the standards path.
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