Last night I had a conversation with someone talking about W3 standards. We discussed how hard it is to get things to comply and how even if you do, it still may not work in every browser. It is because of this that I kind of think that the W3 standard may be losing some ground. I respect what they are trying to do but if you take some things into account you can see why so many people are beginning to lose interest in even trying.
One of the biggest problems that exists, which I already mentioned, is compliance. It is really hard to create some sort of standard if no one seems to see it as any sort of standard. If I make website and view what I have been doing in Opera it may look just like I want it, and it can even pass the W3 Validation Test. If I open it up in another browser though, I may not get the same look even though I adhered to the standard. People often look to IE on stuff like this, I would just like to point out that Firefox isn’t W3 compliant either and I have had things look wrong on Firefox.
Another problem is that the standard seems to be changing so rapidly that it is becoming harder to even keep a site compliant anymore. When I took my IST Web and Media Design class I had to make a web page as a final project. I thought it would give me some extra points if I could make the site W3 compliant. I did, but I also finished the project about two to three months before the project was due. In that time W3 decided that a new meta declaration needed to be made in the header to be compliant. I ended up getting a comment back from the teacher saying don’t say something is compliant when it isn’t. So all the work I did to make the site compliant went out the window because they changed it and made me look like a liar.
I also feel that making a standard on web languages can hurt the diversity of the internet. Creating a web standard will take out some of those sites that are hideous and are filled with marquee and blink tags, but at the same time if someone ever felt like enforcing the standard it takes the freedom of the internet out of the equation. Some of the fun of web programming when you start out is just to get anything that works. There is a sense of pride in that. If you told someone like that to validate their page it would probably make them feel like a failure because W3 decided that their one page website has something like 400 errors on it.
To wrap it up I went around yesterday and started validating pages. Not just everyday pages, but pages for companies and sites that are often known for being ahead of the game, or being on top of innovation. I think one of the most shocking results I came across was Google. You would think that Google’s simple front page layout wouldn’t cause many errors. That and I would say that Google is often on top of web design and programming. Surprisingly the front page, and not even the fancy personal iGoogle page, threw 45 errors and 9 warnings. This makes me think that Google most likely doesn’t take this stuff seriously either. When a major player in the internet game does not take you standard seriously I kind of feel like that hurts your standard a little.