Sunday 16 December 2007

Define Web Standards in a <p> or Less

You’ve got one paragraph to clearly define the term “web standards” – if you can do it in one sentence, all the better.


Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 17:56 | Comments (95)

Comments (95)

  1. Courtesy of teh Devil’s Dictionary (

    Web standards [noun]:
    A large stick or cudgel, used by the slightly more anal-retentive to beat the slightly less anal-retentive.

  2. Wilson–

    Just a couple of questions. Is this large stick in the shape of a baseball bat, albeit a very small one? And is it inscribed with the word, ‘Opera’? Or is it more slender and shorter and resembling something …well, that you might find on the web site of Xandria. And is it inscribed with the word, ‘Microsoft’?

    I couldn’t resist and make no excuses.

  3. that which is ignored or implemented so poorly by dominant authoring environments and browser software that the web is around 10 years behind where it should be and understanding how browsers get it wrong takes longer to learn than the specs themselves.

  4. What I’m thinking we should do right now is find a way to quickly sort relevant words in comments.

    No one has given the same answer. I’m thinking we should look for common ideas and sort those. Right now I have no easy way of doing that, at least of which I’m aware.

    Suggestions? Thanks!!!

    M 🙂

  5. “No one has given the same answer”?

    Au contraire, m’dear! Most of the answers state the same basic idea.

    Jeff Croft: Web Standards are a set of specs, conventions, and best practices that web developers and device/browser manufacturers are asked to adhere to in order for everyone involved to get (and stay) ‘on the same page.

    maelorin: distinguishing the ‘can’ from the ’should’. – and knowing why.

    stilist: An attempt to ensure all users (human or otherwise) have equal access to the Web, regardless of technology or personal capabilities.

    Ian Muir: Web Standards are a set of guidelines created to provide a common, structured means for communicating information on the web. These standards provide a medium that both application vendors and content creators can rely for consistent and accurate representation of textual and visual data through browsers, screen readers, and other web connected applications and devices.

    Me (Carolyn Ann): A series of statements that define how the implementing mechanism should respond to a series of commands.

    Dustin Brewer: Web standards are the specifications for how the web should be coded in order to ensure maximum compatibility across browsers and other devices.

    James Bennett: Write once, parse anywhere.

    Geoffrey Sneddon: Web standards exist to create interoperability between UAs.

    jgraham: Web standards are a set of specifications for the syntax and semantics of the document formats (and protocols?) used on the web. They provide authors with a set of vendor-neutral formats for distributing their content, which are expected to work with a broad range of viewers (”browsers”) and implementers with the necessary information to make UAs that act in the way expected by the user and in the same way as other implementations of the same standard.

    Alan Gresley: The vision of the one interoperabilable web

    Andy Hieb: Web Standards are a set of community-developed best practices that aim to maximize web site compatibility (…)

    Ron Hunsberger: One (web) to many (all users).

    Mo: Web standards are the means for us build the web the way it was intended to be: accessible to man and machine alike; … and they allow us to build sites without letting any person or organisation stand in the way of universal accessibility.

    Most of the others concentrate mainly on some aspect of web development [sic…], and not the definition of “web standards”. All of the posts I’ve mentioned can be boiled down to “a series of definitions that dictate how an agent must react”, or some other (much better) English.

    There is agreement in the sentiment, but not necessarily in the words.

    Does that help? 🙂
    Carolyn Ann

  6. Preserve human capital. make it work. do it once.

  7. 1) Web standards: be professional!

    2) Web standards: don’t fake it, just do it!

  8. Web Standards – You know those things web developers and browser makers tend to agree are a good thing, but yet still don’t follow.

  9. Web Standards: Doing it right.

  10. Hi Molly,
    Sorry but I love you.I read your big book “special edition using HTML4”..and I fall in love with you :).You’re very likable.also I follow your exercies.I wish you to keeping your success..
    Yours sincerely,

  11. Web Standards are the _minimal_ of what we should be working with. The non standards are where the innovation is.

  12. Web standards: Conformance to guidelines and principles for building out the word wide web.

  13. You know how you buy some flat-pack furniture from Ikea, and when you take out all the pieces you think, “Wow, how am I going to put all this together so that it stands up straight?” Web standards are the instructions which float out of the box when you tip it upside down. Sometimes they’re cryptic, sometimes they don’t seem to make a lot of sense, but in the end your coffee-table is going to look just as good in your house as it did in the store.

  14. *ahem* Considering the horrors of browser testing, I should maybe have finished with a parenthetical observation: “(Although you might find out that your living-room floor isn’t level…)”

  15. Web Standards are a secret plot to turn artists and writers into programmers.

  16. The cause of, and solution to, all of our problems.

  17. Web standards: Conformance to guidelines and principles for building out the word wide web

  18. Web Standards are the common ground by which we can all disagree in increasing extents over word, thought and practice; whilst getting the fuzzy warm glow that we get it and other people don’t.

    Or is that me getting cynical in my old age 😉

  19. I had to think about this for a few days. Here’s my shot.

    Webstandards is about delivering content in an open and accessible way, making information available for every person using the internet.

  20. “Mostly harmless.”

  21. tossing up between “are broken” and “a good excuse to go drinking”

  22. Web Standards represents a common language that is accepted by developers of both websites and website rendering software, such that this common protocol can result in a smooth transition from the concept of a design to that design’s implementation.

    (Granted, this is a fantasy world kind of definition, but it never hurts to dream..)

  23. What is defined by the W3C in the RFC’s.

    You idiots.

  24. <p><dfn>Webstandards are semantic XHTML plus beauty in CSS and a maximun of usabilty.</dfn><p>

  25. Like a Developer I realize that we must think on consumers, thinking on this, for me Web Standarts is:

    “Respecting all consumers on the WEB”

  26. Sometimes I really get the feeling that a conversation with any one of my 21 cats might get a better response.

    I am feeling somewhat put out by the fact that many have responded to this question, Molly, and you’ve basically replied with a wish for someone to point out what those correspondents are saying. I am not including the dimly conceived (and even more poorly constructed) insults in this consideration.

    All in all, I’m saddened that the effort I, and others, have put in has met with such little response from you, Molly, the questioner. It may not be much for some (although that little compilation I did had some work put into it!), but acknowledging that effort is surely not going to take very much on your part? “Such little” – none, to be precise.

    As in real life, and in real relationships, there is a need to acknowledge that the other person has, at the very least, responded to you. Otherwise the other person simply feels that they are being ignored; or, in the case of such a question as the one you asked, used in a political game of which they know nothing, and desire to participate in even less than that!

    I wouldn’t mention anything, but you did ask for feedback in that survey – and it was willingly provided. But a response from you? Nary a word. Not even a “thank you for participating” post, with a compilation of the results.

    Personally, I’m getting a little annoyed at the giving, and the lack of response to that provision. It might not mean much, but it does mean something to those that give. A little “thank you” every now and then isn’t too much to ask, and it tells your readers and correspondents that you actually do appreciate what they provide: of their time reading your blog, and of thinking about, and crafting their replies. Not all of your readers have English as a first language – they have a harder task responding than those of us who grew up with the language!

    It is, I grant, up to you how you acknowledge, and if you do so. But think about how you would feel if someone asked you an important question, and another, and another, and so on, and didn’t bother to acknowledge your contribution! Don’t forget: we’re not paid to respond, we do it because we want to, and the desire to have a conversation about the topics you raise. We are not chopped liver! A simple “thank you” would be nice.

    Carolyn Ann

  27. Things such as reciprocity in kind, balance, attempts to interject human behavior into a linear medium, assumptions of intent, etc. — well, perhaps when such things get put aside, the illusions of social networks, including blog expectations, fall to the side as they should.

    Okay, back to what are Web standards. Web standards are [….]. Shit. I forget the question.

    And Merry Christmas, folks.

  28. What a web developer is referring to when she invites browser manufacturers to RTFM.

  29. Web Standards — an alternative to chaos.

  30. Widely adopted guidelines for CSS, XHTML etc. that help ensure that web sites are accessible on a wide variety of platforms and to a wide range of users.

  31. Applicable to not just web standards, but standards in general:

    To serve as a structured guideline for those producing the tools and/or content for the use and/or utility of all the people making use of or enjoying the platform for which the standard is made.

  32. Allows developers to create a single CSS file for a website that will work across all types of browsers on all types of platforms and still display correctly!

  33. Looks very interesting. Thanks for article.

  34. Nice to know about web standards.Interesting.

  35. Thanks for sharing this nice articles.

  36. very nice. thanks molly.

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