Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Story of Web Standards

Web standards is beautiful. It gives form, function and consistency to design across the browsers, and it makes content king, which is as it should be. If nothing were consistent, we would lose our viewers, and nothing is more important than they are. Web standards is like cake at a birthday party: a necessity. Everyone would leave without it.

Thinking back to the olden days of the web (think early 1990's), it was like nobody had ever dreamed of standardization. Anything was possible and everyone wanted to get there first. It wasn't "all for one and one for all" but "all for me and give me money". Madness and chaos reigned free, nobody played along with anyone, and the biggest were out there for nobody but themselves. SEO? What was Search Engine Optimization then? Nothing! The tubes of the internet were in tangles, and there was no Firefox, Safari or Opera to save the day.

I would like to thank Microsoft and Netscape for being the pain-in-the-butts that they were at the time. One must see chaos to appreciate the goodness of what they have. It would have been nice to avoid the inconsistent design, the "This website is only visible in Internet Explorer 5.0+" messages, and maybe even the entire existence of AOL, but somehow that seems like a right of passage. Without that, we couldn't fully appreciate that those days are done. While what we have now is far from perfect (in many ways, still reeks of pre-1998. Oh the horror.), it is ten billion times better than what it was. Without this, we would not have thought of the need for web standards.

Web optimization, you are my hero.
Keep up the good fight! You can only move forward from here.

Read more about the history of web standards here.

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