Incubation-first Standards Development

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Alex Russell

Apr 19, 2016, 6:34:18 PM4/19/16
to blink-dev, Rick Byers, Alex Komoroske,, Ojan Vafai
Hey all,

For the past year or so Chris Wilson, Yoav Weiss, and Marcos Caceres have been chairing a new Community Group at the W3C called the "Web Incubation Community Group" [1] (WICG for short).

The goal of this group is to provide a clearinghouse for new APIs proposals so that they can get broad review and community engagement before they land at a chartered working group. The lightweight design of this process is inspired by how we have developed some recent features (e.g. Service Workers and <picture>) with heavy community involvement. More recently, some of us in the Web Platform team at Google have been using the new WICG incubation process to iterate quickly on features like Intersection Observer [2].

From my perspective this has been going very well. Well enough, in fact, that we're now going to require Googlers to use this process for all new web platform features regardless of their eventual destination in the formal process. The intent is for new designs to iterate inside the WICG process, perhaps to the point of shipping, and then graduate to a more formal venue. This process preserves the ability to get broad participation from other browser engine teams while lowering the social and process hurdles for web developers and community members to participate in the design phase.

You should expect Googlers to ask to move new design discussions to repos hosted at WICG, and we hope other groups will also start choosing to incubate their designs before pursuing formal standardization.

We've found WICG to be hugely productive but are continuing to look for ways to improve how we do this sort of work, so if you have ideas or concerns, please let me know.


Harald Alvestrand

Apr 25, 2016, 3:11:47 AM4/25/16
to Alex Russell, blink-dev, Rick Byers, Alex Komoroske,, Ojan Vafai
Does this mean that all of us (those who participate in standards) need to join the WICG mailing list, so that we can be notified of work other Googlers are thinking of starting and help block bad ideas before they get to the WG stage?

What are the joining instructions?

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Alex Russell

Apr 25, 2016, 12:25:46 PM4/25/16
to Harald Alvestrand, blink-dev, Rick Byers, Alex Komoroske, Chris Wilson, Ojan Vafai
Hey Harald,

Joining now will save you time in the future, so please do!

To join you can use the "join this group" button on the right-hand side of the WICG page:


Chris Wilson

Apr 25, 2016, 12:28:21 PM4/25/16
to Alex Russell, Harald Alvestrand, blink-dev, Rick Byers, Alex Komoroske, Chris Wilson, Ojan Vafai
1. If you're trying to prevent stupid ideas on the Internet, you've got your work cut out for you.
2. Joining WICG is, as Alex suggests, a good idea in preparation for incubating ideas there.
3. To watch ideas, probably better to subscribe to and perhaps to new repos on

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