My short history into standards-compliant practices
It is not something to be overlooked at, yet countless pages out there are still being built without any awareness of the standards that has been established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). There are even more countless sites talking about them but I will not try to pick-off every detail dealing with this subject and join the masses. Rather, I will mention a few words dealing with the whole subject in matter, since this site is standards-compliant.
During my experience, I have noticed again 'countless' ways of developing a site. A good portion is useless, yet the good news was that a plenty of resources was within reach through this thing called google. What originally got my attention for web standards was through IRC, where asking a question in any help channel meant a headache by itself due to types of responses which awaited. To keep this short, switching from the old way of doing things into the new was due to the fact that there were no one willing to help to those which coded the old way - today I personally do not either for the same reasons.
What is this the 'old' and the 'new'? The old is more or less in the lines of coding with tables for layouts, loose markups, inefficient designs which caused more headaches to servers, browsers, and even security issues for some. The new way is of course the web standards. I say this because, aside from what has been mentioned regarding the web standards - it truly makes life easier for the coder, viewer and your host. The coder is happy because, s/he can control the project efficiently (i.e. maintenance, speed, accessibility, growth), the viewer is happy because they do not have to be tied down to their platform (e.G. certain browsers, devices like mobiles, pdas etc.). Finally your hosting company (if you are not running it on your own) is happy because it does not clog the network with inefficient designs and so forth. What is truly remarkable is that, it is not any single one of these reasons which answers the 'why web standards?' Question but the full package that makes the internet a better place.
Anyone can design and develop a web site, but is it properly done? There are still countless companies out there hiring these 'any' web developers because they have the number of years of web development behind them the company is seeking. Of course, I will not be shy to state that this is not short of ignorance because there are those of us out there which know what is going on with respect to correct web development - yet short of experience in years for we do not get hired. Anyone with the right mind knows and foresees the direction of the web and its potential, but it is held back due to lack of improvement on the part of old developers. Think of how much the internet has changed in the past couple of years, or even months if you are a netaholic. Is it not also true for the way we should be writing our code? The experience of users has evolved along with user agents - new web languages has made their presence, then why be stuck in the past but not to move on with things that only help our web experience?
I do not wish to start a browser war, but I believe it goes hand in hand with web standards due to the fact that certain browsers like internet explorer do not correctly render proper markup. What is the problem you say? No life threatening problemo really, but only a good chunk of the users are still tied down to this old browser. Say ie6 for example - it was released in august 27th, 2001. That is a little over 3 internet years at the time of this writing. You do the math! Again, how much has changed in 3 years in this internet land? The problem ties to the old developers because internet explorer being the primary market forces them to develop their sites to suit them yet neglecting the markup documentations. Crazy I say. But a reality. Hence, for the reasons of rendering any markup (because ie is not strict and will spit out just about anything to the screen), the old developers see no alternative. Who would in the right mind want to code for the lower percentile browsers, regardless of the fact that they are the technologically sound browsers? Well that has changed a great deal and I am sure of the problems you've faced with your old browser (which is a slightly different branch in this topic). Needless to say I have changed my perspective in coding, since considering 'some' worry about my future on the web and my work, I rather continue in the right direction and not be left behind. The latest version of the browsers like Mozilla, Opera, Safari, Konqueror, on the other hand will give you some protection and hope for seeing what is truly intended to be seen by the author of a given web site. The problem is what awaits us in the future and now to an extent. When the time comes most of the sites which have been coded the old way are going to choke on the users standards-compliant browsers and cause more financial troubles for a lot of companies and users. What is going to happen is that sites would have to be remade by the web developers whom do rtfs, and stay current with the internet technologies. So it is rather mind boggling and makes you truly wonder why companies today ignore the new developers like myself and go after the old developers. Wake up!
Tim Callahan replied on
Very nice article. Your outlook on webstandards over the fast few years is clear and decisive. I'll be back to read again.
Patrick replied on
I would love to read this article about standards, but the usability of leaving out proper sentence capitalization is so poor, I cannot.
Patrick you are right. It is an old article and I haven't got around to update it. My website had a different approach back then.. thought lowercase was cool :)
Its updated now. Enjoy.