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Why Are Google Yahoo and Microsoft Not Taking A Leadership Position on Web Standards

Posted: December 31st, 1969 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Why Are Google Yahoo and Microsoft Not Taking A Leadership Position on Web Standards

Picture of IrvinIn browsing the web nowadays more and more sites are validating, meaning that they comply with the some version of web standards specified by the W3C. You can check your pages at this URL: W3C Markup Validator.

If you put in Google's page you get many errors, such as no doctype. The list for Google goes on and on, in fact, if I had designed a page like that I would be embarrassed to put it online. Likewise, Yahoo's page has a ton of errors, slightly less than Google's, but still a ton, and finally Microsoft's live site, which is really recent, identifies itself as XHTML 1.0 Strict, but doesn't validate with 60 errors, which is more than both Google and Yahoo.

My problem with Microsoft is that they are releasing an IDE called Expression Web Developer and saying that it enables users to create standards based ASPX sites, but how can that be when their own internal teams can't create standards compliant sites. The larger question, however is if the pillars of the internet are not honoring web standards, why should anyone?

The answer to that question is tougher than it would seem. Some people would say, well, that is the standard so we should comply. Truthfully, if everyone complied with every standard out there, nothing would get built, or if it did, innovation would suffer. That's not to say that one can't build an innovative site with good markup, but it is to say that one couldn't include custom tags for some AJAX purpose and have it validate.

It is difficult to say whether we need standards or not, actually standards are more important to browser makers in that they need to know how to render elements on a page than they are to site makers, who are only concerned with how it looks. The underlying problem is that simply put, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript are too complex, and the standards for different types of markup and why you should use different doctypes are too difficult to understand. That is still no excuse however, for the biggest companies out there with fleets of web developers to not adhere to generally accepted, though flawed, standards.

Most of the difficult in building web applications lies in the differences in implementations across the board. If the situation was that either your site validated, or your page was not displayed, we would have 100% compliance. Having all browsers adhere to web standards would also make the pace of development faster in that there would be less need to test each application throughly in every browser since you would know that they fully embrace the standard implementation.

Still, having these guys not support web standards gives the internet a large black eye and sort of thumbs their noses at the W3C. If you come up with a new type of markup, get it through the W3C, don't make your site break. I don't think the standards movement will get anywhere without support from at least one of the internet giants. Actually, their lack of compliance is somewhat shocking, especially Microsoft, who has just built their live site, and they have a standards guru on the payroll (Molly E. Holzschlag). I would call on all of the web developers there to aggressively encourage their architects, etc… to consider seriously supporting standards. I would call on browser makers to make sites who don't validate have a different color in the URL bar similar to sites that have bad certificates, with a message saying that the site doesn't validate.