Stop the Web We Want to Get Off


Few weeks back at this months AWIA Mini Talks, An attendee (edit: name removed at request) brought up the argument that the web industry doesn’t really have standards at all. Well not standards in the traditional sense. It more has a series of guidelines that browser vendors have chosen to implement their way. He commented they need to stop and fix it before moving forward. Now I have been thinking on this for while, why not just freeze all the standards and get them all implemented correctly. Well Molly Holzschlag has been thinking this too. To the extent she suggests:

The core focus of what we need as a community is interoperability and implementation in devices from screen to handheld and beyond. There is NO browser that does things consistently, and at least part of the blame lies with vague specifications and closed or unarticulated agendas across the entire spectrum of device manufacturers. We need to sit down and agree on error handling, clarify implementations of specs including CSS 2.0/CSS 2.1; encourage stability in the DOM and oh imagine this: promote stability in the user agent before advancing the specifications.

Now lets consider this.

Looking at CSS 2.1, I see no real problem with this implementation, infact some of the much needed elements of CSS 3 (like multiple background images please) could be implemented on a slow bleed.

But then there is the movement with the W3C reviewing HTML 5. I’m not a big fan of HTML 5, I can see what the WHATWG are trying to do. In that they are really just plugging the holes and fixing the problem areas of HTML 4. But frankly professionally I’m over HTML 4.01, I have move on. And hence also elements of HTML 5 have also tried to move on. But yet HTML 5 remains basically the rendering method of HTML 4 and is in my option a step backwards into the rendering of the data with design. So I believe HTML 5 is really a dead implementation, it’s not progress (egos aside please folks) it’s a step backwards. So maybe we should wait on this one.

Now can we trust the various vendors to hold stead and implement the standards to their full spec, without slipping in the odd proprietary tag. I think not, sorry guys your track record on this just isn’t that good.

But then Karl Dubost on the W3C blog brings up some good points and backwards compatibility and invalid markup handling. His point on the DOM is so true, it’s a little fratchured and does need to be looked at as well. So if we are going to freeze it freeze the lot, eh.

And anyway consider that it takes time (boy does it take time ask the W3C) to draft and approve a standard, I hope that people are not suggesting that we freeze the standard drafting process. Also along with a drafted standard you need to be able to test it beyond a test suite, hence the need to slow bleed the standard implementation out into the community.

The key is we have to move forward. stagnate and it dies. Stop and you get the silos of standards and in come the proprietary tags. Or someone else will come from behind you and change it all and implement it in a way that could make it worse (look at the mobile web). So what do you think do we freeze or set it free? Is Molly right?

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