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Web Authentication Specification

This is the repository for the W3C WebAuthn Working Group, producing the draft "Web Authentication" specification.


To materially contribute to this specification, you must meet the requirements outlined in Also, before submitting feedback, please familiarize yourself with our current issues list and review the mailing list discussion.

Building the Draft

Formatted HTML for the draft can be built using bikeshed (see below for instructions for bikeshed installation):

$ bikeshed spec

You may also want to use the watch functionality to automatically regenerate as you make changes:

$ bikeshed watch

Bikeshed Installation and Setup

You will need to have the Python tools pygments and bikeshed to build the draft. Pygments can be obtained via pip, but Bikeshed will need to be downloaded with git:

git clone --depth=1 --branch=master ./bikeshed
pip install pygments
pip install --editable ./bikeshed
cp -R .spec-data/* ./bikeshed/bikeshed/spec-data

Alternatively, you can use the Vagrant VM with bikeshed already installed, or the Docker image.

Updating copies of Bikeshed data files stored in this repo

For the purpose of giving consistent builds, copies of some Bikeshed data files are stored in this repository and used by the CI build to auto-publish the draft.

The repository copies of those Bikeshed data files must be periodicallly updated and re-committed. To update and re-commit them, run the following commands:

cd <your local w3c/webauthn repo clone or fork clone>
git checkout master
git pull           # if necessary...
git checkout -b <a new branch name>
./ \
  && git add .spec-data .bikeshed-include \
  && git commit -m "Bikeshed spec data update" . \
  && git push
<in the w3c/webauthn repo create a pull request for this new branch, have it reviewed and merged>

Continuous Integration & Branches

This repository uses to generate the Editor's Draft on the gh-pages branch upon every merge to master. In order to prevent failed merges during continuous integration, the formatted Editor's Draft should not be checked in to master, and it is in the .gitignore file.

Creating a new Working Draft

To build a new WD and upload it to the W3C publishing system:

  • Register as a W3C member and join the Web Authentication working group. Note down your W3C USERNAME and PASSWORD to use in the command below. If you don't remember either one, please go here to retrieve it.
  • Copy the url of the meeting minutes in which the working group decided to publish a new draft as the DECISION_URL to be used below
  • Make sure Bikeshed is installed locally (follow the Bikeshed Installation and Setup section above)
  • Go into the ./bikeshed directory and use git pull to update Bikeshed.
  • Run the following command to update Bikeshed's datafiles:
bikeshed update
  • Edit the Bikeshed metadata to change the status from ED to WD (do not commit this change)
  • Ensure Bikeshed can compile without any error or warning by running through the following command:
bikeshed spec
  • Build and upload the new draft with
bikeshed echidna --u USERNAME --p PASSWORD --d DECISION_URL

The command above will create a tarball of the HTML and images, and upload to Echidna, W3C's automated publishing system. The command should return a url, thhrough which you can know whether you successfully publish the draft. Status of the request can also be tracked through the Mailing List Archive. You can also use W3C API as described in the Echidna documentation. Note that on Windows, this will give an error about failing to delete a temporary file because it is in use by a different process. This error is harmless; it happens after the submission has completed.

If the publication through the process is unsuccessful, it's likely because of Specbreus, a spec compliance checker. Echidna automatically runs through Specbreus and will reject the publication if any error is reported by Specbreus. You can run your document through Pubrules to understand why your document is rejected. You may modify either the file or the index.html file to ensure compliance.

More often than not, you will discover the Pubrules errors are due to bugs in either Bikeshed or Specbreus. If so, you will have to modify the compiled index.html file to bypass Echidna and use the manual process to publish. While you are editing the html file to avoid errors, you should also check to ensure the document still renders correctly.

The manual process requires you to first create a tar file. To create the tar file, you need to first copy the index.html file and rename the copied file as Overview.html. This is because Echidna doesn't recognize index.html. You can then use the following command to create a tar file:

tar -cvf WD.tar Overview.html image1 image2 image3

Then you can run the following command curl to publish to Echidna (use the command at the same directory as your tar file):

curl '' --user '<username>:<password>' -F "tar=@WD.tar" -F "decision=<decisionUrl>"

Feel free to contact your chair or any W3C staff when you are stucked. Overall info on echidna is here: and here

Taking meeting minutes

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