A conversation with Molly on Web Standards

I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with Molly on her world tour to the edge of nowhere. We had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Swan River and talked. Took a ferry over the river and sat in a cafe/restaurant, talked including me trying to explain WA’s archaic licensing laws as we drank coffee, if we bought a meal it could of been beer . Before catching the ferry back, wandering the street of Perth, seeing some bronze kangaroos before finding a pub for a beer and even more conversation. The photographic proof is on Molly’s flickr account

We discussed a wide range of topics, a couple of which need to reach a wider audience.

Microsoft and IE8

Microsoft is split into two divisions, Windows and Software Development, with even my limited understanding of organisational politics, it became apparent to me why:

  1. The Outlook team choose the inferior Office HTML rendering engine over the better IE HTML engine. Is so much easier to get the work done with teams with similar goals than negotiate with another team and their management who have a different agenda.
  2. IE8 will only render in super standards mode if a web page specifically asks it to. This is a business decision that works for Windows, not for IE or any online services provided by Microsoft.

Web Standards

Molly’s current view on Web Standards is more to with what standards are accepted in the world outside the web. We are talking the International Organization for Standards aka ISO.

Which means if you are a web standards developer you should be only creating PDF-A documents, because they are the only currently recognised international standard for web documents. Everything else in just recommendations of the W3C, other than JavaScript which is covered by ECMA standard.

When WASP (Web Standards Project) started in 1998 (and I was too scared to get involved because I did not believe my skills were that good) some of the participants expected formal standards would come out of it, but 10 years later nothing has. Instead the moniker Web Standards has been adopted by people to build web sites to W3C recommendations. ECMA scripting which is a standard rarely rates a mention in Web Standards literature.

Getting real web standards and I mean HTML, CSS and JavaScript accepted by as standards by ISO will only benefit the web. Currently only people in the web industry know about the w3c, most people have heard of ISO. Governments and corporations would like to get their websites built to an ISO standard and would use ISO complaint browsers to read web pages. It would be better for the web industry, as it would require professionals to built websites to ISO standards.

If PDF-A, JPEG JPEG2000 and Open Document Format can be ISO standards then why not HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

2 Responses to “A conversation with Molly on Web Standards”

  1. Edward O'Connor Says:

    Actually, strictly speaking, there is an ISO HTML standard.

  2. Nick Cowie » Are you web pages ISO 15445 compliant? Says:

    […] As Edward O’Connor pointed out in a comment on my previous post there is an ISO standard for HTML, ISO/IEC 15445:2000, the details can been viewed via the University of Dublin, Trinity College, Department of Computer Science site. […]