WSP on "Why Standards are Important"

Saturday July 17th, 1999

Stephan Nedregaard writes in with this news:

"The Web Standards Project is currently working on a 'Why standards are important' FAQ.

An outline can be seen here."

#7 Nurrrgh

by Anon

Sunday July 18th, 1999 8:18 AM

You are replying to this message

General comments:

* As it is, this document is far, FAR too wordy. These people need to learn how to write for the Web. Helpful advice here: <>

* Needs a thorough proof-reading -- I won't mention every typo, since it's a draft ...

* The document should include the e-mail addresses of the authors. This would save me having to submit my corrections here (boring everyone else to tears :-).

* Posting a draft to news:comp.infosystems.<http://www.authoring.html> (and the relevant groups for tje other standards) would improve the document immensely.

Particular comments:

* 1: `Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web to provide a common space where users can share information to work together, to play, and to socialize.'

Nice thought, but incorrect. See <> for why TimBL actually invented the Web: `W3 was originally developed to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups'.

Since then, of course, the Web has developed quite a few other uses.

* 1: `... and enables us to fit our talents among those of millions of other people'. Does this actually mean anything?

* `Web' should be consistently capitalized. For that matter, make up your minds whether to use `Web' or `WWW', and stick to one or the other.

* 1: Juergen Steinwender says: `Why in the world does the webpage one has designed recently look different in various browsers on different operating systems? The answer is simple in its complexity: Either the developer has not followed the standards in his coding, or one of the browsers does not support the standards properly.'

Incorrrect. If Juergen doesn't understand one of the fundamental ideas of HTML -- the ability for different user agents (or even the same user agent) to produce different, but equally *valid* representations of the same HTML -- why is he (she?) a member of WSP?

* `HTML 4.0 ... Frameset, which incorporates support for frames into 4.0 Transitional'. Incorrect, I think. IIRC, HTML 4.0 Frameset doesn't have any special relationship with HTML 4.0 Transitional; it can be used just as well with HTML 4.0 Strict.

* `HTML was created to simplify SGML'. Incorrect. HTML was (somewhat inelegantly) designed as an *application of* SGML, not as a simplification of it. TimBL knew very well that HTML wasn't intended for the huge variety of uses that SGML has.

* `HTML also does a very poor job of actually describing the data in the document.' Incorrect. What you're trying to get at here is that HTML does a very poor job of describing data in *specialized* documents -- such as knitting patterns, chess games, and so on. For its original purpose -- essays, research papers, and so on -- it does very well, thankyou.

* `Data expressed in XML require [sic] a style sheet to have any meaning as a "web site"'. Incorrect. Support for a particular XML doctype may be built into a browser -- two examples being XHTML and MathML. No stylesheets necessary.

* `Both the presentation structure and the actual style of each element is left to be handled by the Extensible Style Language (XSL), currently being drafted by W3C.' Incorrect. *Any* stylesheet system can be used to present XML; indeed, from what I read elsewhere (and even later in this document!), CSS1/2 are the currently recommended method (see, while XSL is having a lot of trouble becoming a meaningful standard (see

* `you can have different style depending on how the site will be displayed'. Tautology.

* `It is open to the future'. On no account should this phrase make it into the final version, otherwise I will puke over the keyboard, and it's not my keyboard. <grin/>

* 3: `Why to use standards (Advantages)'. Should be `Why you should follow standards'.

I volunteer to proof-read this more thoroughly when it's in more of a finished state.

-- mpt (mpt @ mailandnews . com)