Web standards are the talk of the HTML town as of 2005.
But many of us are scared off by the thought of this new
wave because we either don’t know what it is or how it
works. I will attempt to give you an overview at what the
web standards project is, and why there’s a huge push for it
First off, it should be known that the term “web standards”
is a general grouping for an idea, not so much a single
programming language. In 1998, Jeffery Zeldman and others
realized that the way professionals were making Web sites
was very unprofessional. He correctly recognized
that the jumbled mess of nested tables, browser sniffers,
and broken server-side scripts were going to hurt the
industry in the future. His proposal was to push
browser-making companies to accept one universal way Web
sites would be made. Thus, the Web Standards Project, or
WaSP, was created (Check out the official Web site at
This sparked a new way of thinking. The languages of
choice picked were Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), EMCAscript
create a system that would separate content from structure.
In his book Designing With Web Standards, Zeldman
explained the system like this: Think of a site as a movie.
The art director is CSS, the script writer is XHTML, and the
unison to create one final product, but one can be switched
and it won’t affect the others.
An important idea with web standards is the accessibility
across multiple browsers. In the past, large bits of code
would be made so developers could sniff out Netscape 4 users
from Internet Explorer 5 users, etc. All this extra code put
stress on bandwidth and was ideally useless. Therefore, if
browsers would all come together and accept the same rules
for mark-up, code can be easier to make, less of a hassle,
easier to update, and put less stress on bandwidth. All of
these variables add up to saving a lot of time and money for
For further reading, I really encourage reading Zeldman’s
Designing with Web Standards. His
blog is a great
resource as well, along with many other pioneers like
D. Keith Robinson, and
Dan Cederholm just
to name a few.
For more outside resources, I encourage you all to visit
CSS Zen Garden,
Awards, and the World Wide
Web Consortium itself.
If you were hooked by the thought of less mark-up and the
ability to have your site viewed by everyone including Palm
Pilots, then I encourage you to keep reading the tutorials
and post on the forum. The best way
to learn is to try it yourself and ask questions! Good luck!