Technology Standards Guide - Group Two
Table Of Contents
1. The World Wide Web Consortium
Since 1994, The World Wide Web Consortium has been the guardian of open standards for the Web. They are the official source of information for HTML, HTTP, XML, CSS and much more. At their site you will also find valuable guidelines, and information about future directions, as well as complete and accurate specifications. Here is some of what you will find there:
2. The Open Group and PASC
The Open Group sets the standard for UNIX® systems. They are the keepers of the Single UNIX Specification, which is based on the POSIX family of specifications. The Open Group is a successor to the X/Open Group which developed the XPG standards (X/Open Portability Guide). In addition to UNIX, they have responsibility for the X Window System, and the Motif Toolkit. They also provide testing and certification for a variety of standards, including the Object Management Group's CORBA specification, the IETF's LDAP, and the Linux Standard Base LSB specifications.
When UNIX systems were diverging, the IEEE proposed a set of operating system environment standards based upon UNIX, but intended to serve as a model applicable to any operating system. The IEEE 1003 specifications became known as POSIX, the Portable Operating System Interface, with an "X" at then end, perhaps to tip their hats to UNIX. IEEE 1003 was submitted to ISO, and adopted as ISO/IEC 9945. POSIX.1 covers the operating system API and basic characteristics, POSIX.2 addresses the shell and basic utilities. This work is now carried on by the Portable Application Standards Committee, a group formed by the IEEE in collaboration with the Open Group and the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee, JTC/1. PASC keeps ISO/IEC 9945 and the Single Unix Specification in alignment.
The Open Group offers the Single Unix Specification online, and a host of other useful and interesting information on its Web site. Here are a few places to visit:
3. Internet Standards Groups
The Internet Society is a non-governmental non-profit international organization whose mission is to ensure the viability and advancement of the global Internet. They work with like minded organizations to faciliate the development of standards, coordinate services and protocols, address architectural issues, and develop new Internet technologies.
The Internet Engineering Task Force is one of those like minded organizations. They are the protocol engineering arm of the Internet. The IETF RFC's are the blueprints of the Internet, defining all of the essential protocols, from TCP/IP to HTTP. Any serious software developer should make an effort to read some of these RFC's, as many of them are peppered with timeless bits of wisdom.
The current state (as of Oct. 2006) of the Internet Standards is summarized in RFC 3700. This RFC itself is the latest version of Internet Standard number 1, until it is superceded by a future RFC. It obsoleted RFC 3600 in July 2004. An RFC never changes once published, it is either ammended, or superceded, by a subsequent publication. RFC editor maintains a list of the latest RFC's for each of the Official Internet Standards, and a searchable front-end to the RFC database. The Internet Standards Process is defined in RFC 2026.
Here are some more choice RFC's:
Last Updated: October 17, 2006
The IETF has also developed a new generation of specifications for the Internet that addresses a number of the limitations of the legacy IP version 4 that has powered the Internet for the past few decades. A Web site is dedicated to providing information about Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), and the new specifications which complement it.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a non-profit corporation responsible for the assignment of Internet Protocol addresses, domain name registration, and protocol parameters. They authorize Domain Name registrars, and host the InterNIC Web site (Internet Network Information Center), where you can find who has registered domain names in the ".com", ".edu", ".net", and ".org" top level domains, and the new ".aero", ".biz", ".coop", ".info", and ".museum" domains. For information about the new ".name" top level domain, visit www.nic.name. The ".org" top level domain is now managed by the Public Interest Registry.
ICANN took over most of the responsibilites of The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is now part of ICANN. They maintain separate Web sites. IANA publishes lists of protocol parameters, such as TCP and UDP well-known port numbers, Country Code Top Level Domains, like ".uk", and ".ch", and MIME media types, most of which can also be found in the IETF's Internet RFC database.
4. The International Telecommunications Union
The ITU produces standards for telecommunications (ITU-T) and radio (ITU-R). They took over the charter of the former CCITT. They help ensure the global coordination of telephone and RF broadcast services. Some of their better known standards include HDTV (BT.709), modem protocols V.42bis (data compression) and V.90 (56K/33.6K data transmission), ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), and X.25. They collaborate with ISO, IEC, and IETF on a number of projects.
5. The Object Management Group
The Object Management Group (OMG) develops standards for object technology. Their flagship product is the Common Object Request Broker Architecture, CORBA®, a specification that enables applications to share platform independent distributed objects. CORBA includes the Interface Definition Language (IDL) which describes the objects and their methods, and the IIOP protocol.
More ubiquitous is the OMG's Unified Modeling Language, UML, a specification for a graphical representation of objects and their interrelationships. For more information, visit their home page, or their Catalog of OMG Specifications.
6. The Unicode Consortium
The Unicode Consortium defines the Unicode system for representing and classifying characters in electronic documents. Unicode was adopted as the ISO/IEC 10646 standard for the Universal Character Set. This character set and its encoding system is used by Java, XML, HTML, and many other modern technologies.
7. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems
XML and the Web provide a powerful framework for information systems. OASIS was formed to develop specifications based upon XML and Web technologies to serve the needs of specific business segments. Their ebXML specifications are designed to faciliate global electronic commerce. Through XML.org they coordinate the development of XML vocabularies and schemas, such as BioML and MathML. At XML.org and the XML Cover Pages one can find scads of XML resources.
8. Linux Standard Base
The Linux Standard Base is a working group of the Free Standards Group. They develop standards for Linux systems, such as the LSB Specification, and operate a certification program. Standards cover generic API's and binary interfaces, for example, the IA32 ABI. They publish a list of currently certified systems, as well as the latest version of the LSB Specifications.
9. The Motion Picture Experts Group
The Motion Picture Experts Group is an ISO/IEC working group chartered with the development of audio and video standards, commonly known as MPEG. The MPEG-1 standard is commonly used for encoding audio/video computer files, and for MP3 audio files. MPEG-2 is the standard used by DVD and digital television. The lastest version of the MPEG specification is MPEG-4, with work underway on MPEG-21, the "Multimedia Framework". MPEG-7 is the standard for content description, information which is associated with the multimedia elements for searching, titles, or general annotations (metadata).