Introduction to Web Standards

  • Leslie F. Sikos

Abstract

Technical standards are widely used in various fields of life—think of the standards of paper size and the standard envelopes that fit them. Web standards, similar to other standards, are normative specifications of technologies and methodologies. In other words, they are well-defined sets of requirements to be satisfied. They are not only ideal from the technical point of view but also represent user needs. However, web standards are often ignored; the World Wide Web consists of billions of documents that do not consider proper restrictions or regulations, causing serious problems. This is because the Web is a “free forum” where everyone can publish even without a technical background. Unfortunately, this approach comes at a price: you will often encounter sites that download slower, have an inadequate appearance, or have poor functionality. Further, in spite of the benefits of standard compliance, not only content authors but also web developers find it difficult to implement web standards. One of the major reasons for that is the lack of widespread distribution. Even the most popular web sites can be very confusing, and in contrast to the common misconception, developers cannot use them as references to learn from. Moreover, many developers ignore standards because they think incorrectly that developing with standards means an additional workload. People have a limited knowledge about web standards, and they generally know neither the reason nor the optimal method for applying them.

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© Leslie F. Sikos, Ph.D. 2011

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  • Leslie F. Sikos

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