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More Than Standards

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Stephen Taylor

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User since: 23 Jan 2003

Articles written: 4

Most of us today can agree with standards and the topic of standards always draws up conversation. Some of us are still learning and growing accustomed to what is known as the standards.

However, it is not just standards that make today's web. The Internet is user-specific, not in the sense of browser types and screen resolutions; it is different for each of us. We view 'this site' everyday and we have a discussion at 'that site' every week. We do research 'here' and we search 'there'. And that is what makes the web what it is. It is the way the whole world can become connected instantly and it addresses everyone personally.

The CMS Battle

Great, that's all fine and dandy, right? So, what? Well, as developers we are all still getting used to the Internet. And as familiar as we all think we are, it seems that we are all lost.

Every day a new Content Management System (CMS or blog software) comes out because someone wants their's to be the best. If you surf over to you'll find a sizeable list. It's great that we can all develop such interesting tools, but wouldn't it be even better if we all put our heads together to develop one CMS that has all the features we need? So many of these projects never get anywhere because it turns into yesterday's news. If we worked together as developers to a common goal, we could attain higher heights.

Better Yet

Such is an example over at Tangent.

Tangent is a centralized web service designed to link your journal site or weblog to other sites in random and exciting ways, based on your interests and preferences. It's like sex for Web sites.

It began in October of 2002. It mimics the idea of Smart Tags by Microsoft using technology like PHP. It's a nifty little add on that is popping up all over. It integrates with pMachine and Moveable Type, but is open-source and will soon be able to interact with other CMS utilities. How was it made? By a group of developers who got together for a common goal.

More Importantly

I feel we are all getting too concerned with our basics. The web is a free world we can all use and interact how we want. Too much time is spent worrying about the issues of development. Do we use CSS lists as our menus? Why isn't XHTML 2 going to be backward compatible? Should the web be accessible to all? Is open-source the only way?

All of these issues are important, but for those of us who code, we have bigger fish to fry. We need to think about pioneering new ideas, something like Tangent. And building the web in a better way, while not losing our standards, validation, and accessibility. Gone is that day that our new little splash page is the coolest thing around. However, we need to bring back that mentality of unique and emerging technology.

I know I am guilty of being too obsessed with my 'table-less' website with valid XHTML and CSS. Once again, that is important but it certainly doesn't make a website any better or cutting-edge than anyone else's. We need to push technology to be 'cutting-edge'.

When standards first became an issue, it was that got things rolling in the browser market. Now, we are looking towards XHTML 2.0, which is still in early in development. There is a lot of debate about how backward compatible it will be. And the Level 2 of the DOM has become a recommendation, which soon will mean better interaction with the browser.

New and exiting things are always coming and we should all try to keep intertwined with these things. The web is not owned by anyone, it is created by us for us. And if we want better things, we need to make them happen.

On With It

In review, I believe in standards (XHTML and CSS), validation of code, accessibility, and backward-compatibility. I think that these should be the backbone of anything in our work. However, I think we all need to take a chance and push technology. If we are all united in this approach, we can accomplish a great deal.

We are the future of the web and if we move it, it will go.

Stephen Taylor has studied at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago. He also studied for a year at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He is an intermediate developer who stays on top of emerging technology.

He is interested in web development and learning new things everyday. You'll find him working hard at Visual Echo Designs. Recent work includes American Home Mortgage and The Kuhn Agency. Find out a little more about this complex and exciting young man at his website.

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