Wednesday 15 August 2007

Web Standards Situation Solutions

As the past few days of discussion surrounding the concerns I’ve publicly raised regarding the current state of standards affairs, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster reading arguments between people I respect and love, seeing once strong voices putting their heads in the ground and pretending everything is just fine even if glacially slow; and feeling overwhelmed at the complacency, frustration and despondency reigning supreme instead of the movement and joy that once filled the Web.

I’m a person of action as well as words. So when members of the WHAT WG and the W3C asked me to help clarify the concerns I feel, I made a point of figuring out how to do just that. I dropped by the WHAT WG IRC chat and talked with members there. Within a few minutes we came up with a few action items that people agreed would be helpful.

De-Mystifying and Clarifying HTML5

The first concern is to answer the question “Why HTML 5?” in a way that is as clear as possible and will make sense to the largest group of people as possible. This means no spec-speak in the analysis. The second concern is to highlight for the broader community just where the “hot topic” problems are, and begin honing in on those realistically, looking at how we can all come to mutual agreement. And when I say we, I mean WE. Remember that the WHAT WG and HTML 5 WG are open to your participation.

Ian Hickson has agreed to go through the current spec and red mark the unresolved issues and hot topics. A group of folks including myself have committed to taking those and providing them via a public forum (probably the WHAT WG blog, or possibly on W3C, or both) bullet pointing in clear terminology the rationale, outstanding issues and encouraging positive discourse about those issues.

Solving the Human Problem

As Jeremy Keith pointed out in a recent heart-moving post, it’s a pretty awful thing to see people who ultimately share common goals and even friendship fight with each other. Perhaps this is why I’ve been so upset, I’m very sensitive when it comes to relationships and clearly things haven’t been paradise for and between many of my colleagues lately.

In the IRC conversation (you can find resources and transcripts via the WHAT WG landing page) we discussed the value of face to face meetups. Logistically, this is a very difficult thing to achieve since we are a truly worldwide group, many people are students or don’t have budget from their companies to travel and so forth.

So one course of action we discussed was to have a simultaneous meetup in a number of cities across the globe where all interested parties get together F2F with the goal of open discourse over hot topics related to the specs. The value of this exercise would allow people to get together and meet their colleagues. Most would agree that F2F meetups can help mitigate some of the anger that is all too readily expressed in the online environments.

Lemons to Lemonade

Hopefully these planned actions will help clarify and calm some of the frustration, as well as bring a broader understanding of the real issues to everyone, myself included.

Is my approach passionate? You bet, and if you know me, it’s clear that the day that passion goes away I know I will have ceased to be effective in any way in this industry and I will leave it. But that day isn’t today. It’s a warm summer evening in Redmond, Washington, and I’m going to take some fresh lemons and make lemonade.

Anybody want a glass?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 22:10 | Comments (96)

Comments (96)

  1. Faulkner, Lawson–

    Thank you very much.

    Re: MS — I have seen a surge [a surge in people whom I know] over the last ten years of MS and other autoimmune diseases. It is very disturbing. Issues such as that make these standards issues seem rather insignificant.

  2. Holzschlag–

    I just posted this on Zeldman’s blog—

    What is the market saying with the intended development of this:

    Japan working to replace the Internet

    Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Japan will start research and development on technology for a new generation of network that would replace the Internet, eyeing bringing the technology into commercial use in 2020. […]

    The envisaged network is expected to ensure faster and more reliable data transmission, and have more resilience against computer virus attacks and breakdowns. The ministry is hoping Japan will take a lead in development of post-Internet technology and setting global standards, a move that ministry officials believe would help make Japanese companies competitive in the global market for hardware and software using such technology.

    Risk of a severe fragmentation? A wakeup call?


    Lady, I have and will continue to back your intuition and your instinct. I am afraid that you may be right. Enough indicators appear to be there. Those indicators just may not be speaking in the “geek-speak” that too many care or can understand.

  3. it doesnot work wat i should do??

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  5. ana goodbye for ever

  6. Molly,

    I agree with your vision of wanting web standards, I agree with the efforts being taken to create them, but I also believe in the way the Internet has worked for the past 10 – 15 years.

    Standards are created, but they are not enforced, leaving the ability for freedom of creativity to still reign.

    If we were to start making standards imperial, we will loose the essence of what the Internet is. To me, this is the same as Google accumulating too much power, which it has.

    In my opinion, let’s keep developing standards, but never make a body that is supposed to enforce them.

  7. Pingback: » Blog Archive » La crisis del html 5, la crisis en los estándares web

  8. Pingback: » Blog Archive » The Solution is a HTML 5 Apathetic Doctype -

  9. Hi Molly,
    just found your Website and start reading …
    I think this will be enough for the next days 😉
    Greeting from Germany,

  10. Goog idea : I’d suggest starting with Joe Clark and moving outward. Don’t expect there to be a definitive journal of this stuff because its an area where investigation and research are quite broad. Nonetheless its about making smarter business decisions not catering to the guy in the wheelchair…

  11. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Is HTML 5 Apathetic Your Cup of Tea? -

  12. Thanks for this article. it is very useful for me.

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  15. sorry molly for taking over your comments thanks

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  19. This is perfect. It’s so true. Screw semantics and validation, honestly. I have worked on very, very successful sites and never took standards into consideration. Unless you consider screen size and loading time a standard. Im so tired of hearing these buzzwords it makes embarrassed to say i am a ‘webdesigner’

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  21. Thanks Molly! Very good…

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