Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla form WebExtensions Community Group

Web browser open on a tablet

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which sets international standards for the web, has announced the formation of the WebExtensions Community Group (WECG). WebExtensions is an API for developing extensions for different web browsers. 

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are among the first to initiate this group, but the WebExtensions Community Group also welcomes other browser vendors and extension developers to join. 

“With multiple browsers adopting a broadly compatible model for extensions in the last few years, the WECG is excited to explore how browser vendors and other interested parties can work together to advance a common browser extension platform,” the W3C team wrote in a post

The goal of WECG is to come up with a common vision for extensions and work on standardization. 

More specifically, it hopes to make it easier to develop extensions by providing a consistent model and common set of functionality, APIs, and permissions. It also plans to outline an architecture that improves performance, is more secure, and is more resistant to abuse. 

According to the W3C team, the WECG’s work will be driven by a set of HTML and W3C TAG principles: user-centered, compatibility, performance, security, privacy, portability, maintainability, and well-defined behavior. 

It will use the existing extensions model and APIs currently supported by Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari as a starting point. 

The W3C team also clarified that it does not want to come up with a specification for every aspect of the web extensions platform. “We want browsers to keep innovating and shipping APIs that may serve as the basis for further improvement of the web extensions platform.

In addition, we don’t plan to specify, standardize or coordinate around extension signing or delivery. Each browser vendor will continue to operate their extension store fully independently, with their own technical, review, and editorial policies,” the W3C team wrote. 

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