Web Standards & HTML5

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As a web design student, I am taking my first HTML5 and CSS3 scripting lessons. The importance of web standards has come up as this week’s discussion theme. Undoubtedly  from the student perspective, web standards make learning a lot easier. After all, society needs some form of rules to keep order. Without some kind of standardization companies, developers, and the internet would be all over the place – making it very difficult for users and consumers. After reading more about this very relevant topic, I learned there is a lot more to it than that.

Historically, web-browsers have been very forgiving when it comes to the interpretation of HTML code. When the internet became mainstream, just about anyone could develop some form of website with the use off GUI tools and WYSIWYG tools. There are so many user friendly tools out there. The importance and interest level in the internet, has resulted in a wealth of web-development resources. The World Wide Web is no longer a place where only geeks and geniuses can be active participants. This is not a bad thing at all, but with the mass level of interest standardization is more important than ever.

Among other things, web standards help maintain stability, reduce development time, help with background compatibility among older web-browsers, assists with debugging, and makes troubleshooting easier. It also helps provide better validations services and improves visibility, and the performance of such important tools like web-search engines.

I imagine the companies that develop closed source web-browsers do not like to be told what to do. If they all had their own standards, and left little to standardization, the incompatibility between browsers would make it extremely difficult to developers and users. Without these standards the user experience would really suffer. Monopolies could thrive, leaving little choice and innovation for users.

Developing a website can use a large team of people, possibly even in far corners of the world. Utilizing these standards, help the transition of a project from one team member to the next much easier.

It looks like there are various standards that help maintain order. These include standards for HTML, XHTML, SVG, XForms, CSS, ECMAScript, DOM, URLs, HTTP and MIME. 

Something I just recently learned, is the practice of separating standardized HTML code from presentation layout. I was amazed by how easy and useful this can be. Keeping it simple can go a long way, not to mention more elegant solutions are developed this way. Keep style and formatting in CSS.

Other than http://www.w3.org/http://www.whatwg.org/, and http://html5.validator.nu/ I found the following links to be insightful and useful for this topic.

Overall I feel web standards are necessary and extremely important, but developers have a strong ability in determining if something in particular will be adapted by the masses. I do have to say, that there is a long list of major corporations that have a vested interest and influence in these standards. http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List

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