The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced its support for two newly issued publications that are critical to increasing the international reach of the World Wide Web. These publications, coordinated through both the IETF and W3C, are RFC 3986, STD 66 Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax and RFC 3987 Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs), respectively an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Internet Standard and Proposed Standard. The World Wide Web is defined as the universal, all-encompassing space containing all Internet – and other – resources referenced by Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs, sometimes commonly called “URLs”). In Tim Berners Lee’s original proposal, and in the initial Web implementation, the Web consisted of relatively few technologies, including the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the HyperText Markup Language (HTML). Yet perhaps more fundamental than either HTTP or HTML are URIs, which are simple text strings that refer to Internet resources — documents, resources, people, and indirectly to anything. URIs are the glue that binds the Web together. IRIs extend and strengthen the glue, by allowing people to identify Web resources in their own language. Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax was written by Tim Berners-Lee (Director, W3C), Roy Fielding (Day Software) and Larry Masinter (Adobe Systems) with involvement of the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). The Standard describes the design, syntax, and resolution of URIs as well as security considerations and normalization and comparison (determining if two URIs are equivalent). This new Standard replaces the URI specification released in 1998. Among several technical changes, the host component of a URI is now enabled for internationalized domain names. Other technical changes include a rule for absolute URIs with optional fragments, a rewritten section 6 “Normalization and Comparison” by Tim Bray and the W3C TAG, simplified grammar, clarifications for ambiguities, and revisions to the reserved set of characters. The Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs) Proposed Standard was developed in part by the W3C Internationalization Working Group, and was written by Martin Durst (W3C) and Michel Suignard (Microsoft Corporation). www.w3.org

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