Why standards do not work ? It is a question that i have been asking myself for quite some time. Its not only the problem of the web, its been a natural problem in all the areas, everywhere around the world. Perhaps, ironically, the humanity is trying to avoid some kind of an artificial control, even the nature in itself does not have standards defining everything with absolute(100%) precision, though a nature has a tendency to define some certain rules – gravitation, growth, life, death and so on.
I think that as long as the “manufactures” of the web-related software (“browsers”,”visual designers”, “readers”, and so on), avoid putting stricter rules to the web, there wont be a lot of standards following. Why ? Because, the most do not care. Sad, by true – have been working in some countries in some different companies, i have seen that the final results, and have heard the thoughts of the web-designers. Timeframes, technical difficulties, . Those who wish, wont get a lot of support from the administrative and marketing departments. Its like, its not easy to answer such questions as “Is is possible to sell ?” or “What will it give us ?”. As long as it is not a question of working or not working, there wont be a lot of thoughts about following the standards.
I think that W3C did a good job of introducing the XML. You have to have a good structure for it to be usable, and so i think, that the move to the xHTML was a very reasonable one. The problem is that almost noone has noticed and followed that move. I think that there are some requirements, that should be fulfilled, before the web standards will become widely accepted:
- Some good WYSIWYG visual editores, producing valid code. As of now – there are none on the market, though i have to name the Dreamweaver 8 ( it has surprised me very positively ), and until some editors wont be accessable to the mainstream public, the vast majority of webdesigners, will continue producing (?)HTML(?) code with GoLive, FrontPage and co. It is one of the reasons, why i think that the work of WebStandards group should be much more appreciated.
- Bigger browsers market – i think, that this one is pretty much clear. With an absolute dominating power of the crippled IE there are still no big alternatives, though Firefox is rising fast, it has allready awaken the sleeping giant, and the next IE version seems to be not so far (as it was 1 year ago) =O). I would love to see 3-4 browsers prevailing on the market – please, dont get me wrong, i dont wish to return to the Netscape-Microsoft case, but i think that if the market would be devided between IE-Firefox-Opera-Safari, we would have a different kind of progress, and even the marketing departments of those, who produce them, would be more then interested in fulfilling their job, by saying – “we have full standard compliance, and its 15% more then our competitors.”
- Web-applications giving advantages to the use of the standards – lets take a look at the browsers, for example. If Opera would give some additional functionaly(for example live content re-editing – curstomization and adoption by user needs) to those pages, which are not reendered in “quirks-mode”, then for any web-designer this would be an interesting and an important thing to not forget.
- There must be done some moves in promoting, advertising and convincing the web-community of moving toward the standards. There are a lot of “galleries” sites doing an amazing job, by promoting the use of (x)HTML and CSS, but i think that even more things can be done – for example by promoting competitions between the young designers (schools,universities,..), then a big (especially designer) companies (or big ones like Apple,IBM & Microsoft) could help out, by providing additional publicity and even some prizes. I know it sounds very naive, but “sky is the limit” and as Ghandi said – “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.
For something to work, to function – there must be conditions and needs. If at least 50% of those requierements would be fulfilled, then i believe that the use of standards would start to be a normal requirement and an overall victory in the battle for the use of the standards would be not so far away.