Web Standards: What and Why
Kevin Lawver, February 28, 2007 6:27 PM
Web Standards: What and Why
This is a presentation. If you'd like to view all the slides like a normal web page,
I'm Kevin Lawver
Member of the
Helped create the
Active at the beginning of the
syndication format process
Co-founder of crazy grassroots web standards advocacy group at
Adapting to Web Standards
What are Web Standards?
Definitions for Authors and Implementors to allow for interoperability, and consistent implementation of functionality.
When used by geeks and nerds, they frequently mean
What Kinds Are There?
Ratified by a Standards Body
Well documented (although often not in language normal humans understand), usually with very good test cases and at least a reference implementation.
XML, SOAP, ATOM
HTML, CSS, ECMAS
Become standards through large install base. Examples:
Where Do They Come From?
XML, HTML, CSS, SOAP,
Liberty: Identity and authentication
: Lots of
Lots of others...
We'll talk about that later...
Why Should I Use Them?
Quality is easily tested through validation
Consistent and interoperable implementations
Don't Invent New
Tim Bray wrote an excellent article
, and more importantly,
To do it right, you have to create schemas, validators and all new tools
Why do that when there is probably already an
language that will express what you need?
Use the standards-based development method instead!
The Standards-Based Development Method
State your problem
Research applicable standards
Look for implementations
Extend only if
Step One: State Your Problem
What are you trying to accomplish?
What data do you need to represent?
What are the endpoints and delivery methods?
Step Two: Research
Are there any existing standards that represent similar data?
Are there data structures in other fields that could be mapped to your data?
Step Three: Look for Implementations
Is there already an open source toolkit in the language of your choosing?
How mature is it?
Is it something we should use and contribute back to?
Step Four: Extend Only if
Extend through namespaces
Don't break existing tools!
Don't change the meaning of existing elements
Currently four flavors:
requires you to close tags, quote attributes and use all lowercase elements and attributes.
That means you can enforce consistency across developers.
Validation becomes easier as a preliminary test of quality.
Most decent text editors provide in-place validation.
Benefits: Broad Implementation
There are parsers for
in almost every programming language
Because it's just
you can use
Fairly consistent implementation across modern web browsers
Benefits: Well Documented and Understood
Lots and lots of books and web resources.
Well-established best practices
Many subject matter experts within and outside of the company.
Small groups, forming "rebel" working groups
Created to address perceived shortcomings of existing standards
Sometimes end up in larger established standards bodies
Uses existing standards' (HTML and
) attributes to add meaning to ambiguous elements
More consistent and well-designed than
Also provides a syndication
Formed in response to the
s direction with
Allows for truly portable internet identity
All work is done on e-mail lists and
Rigorous community review makes for better standards.
Has been accused of being "cultish" and led by a small group
You have to use classes in your
why not use classes with
They're the semantic web
. We don't need no stinkin'
Microformats try to "pave the cowpath" instead of "boil the ocean"
The process of creating a microformat and getting it approved by the community can be done in weeks instead of years (::cough::
Along with group of
member companies (including
!), led the
to reconsider the direction of
and the reformation of the
Extremely informal, but doggedly led by Ian Hickson.
is a member of the
and currently has representation on the following working groups:
WG: Cindy Li, Kevin Lawver
Protocols and Formats WG -- A
activity/WCAG: Donald Evans
Mobile Web Best Practices WG: Arun Ranganathan
Web Security Context WG: Praveen Allavilli, Shawn Duffy, Zhihong Zhang
WG: Geoff Bishop, Arun Ranganathan
WG: Arun Ranganathan, Kevin Lawver
Web Application Formats WG: Arun Ranganathan, Kevin Lawver, John Robinson
Web Content Labeling XG (Incubator Group): Diana Pentecost
We observe: Semantic Web, Web Services
Protocol, Patent Policy,
Other Standards Bodies
is a Member of
Liberty Alliance: federated identity standards
: Open Mobile Alliance
: Internet Engineering Task Force: Edwin Aoki and Richard Collela
: Monitor, but don't actively participate in the Security and Open Document Format: Roger Martin
: Java Community Process: Carlos
: Open Mobile Terminal Platform: Pim van Meurs, Mary Lou Hardy
: Digital Date Exchange: Metadata for media: Nick Sincaglia
is a Guerilla
Several employees are active in:
the Microformats community - ModuleT, hAtom, hReview and hResume
OpenID - Trying to get agreement between all the identity specs on a direction
involved in the Atom community
How Can I Get Involved?
We need more representation in the
! If you're a domain expert, talk to your manager and get approval.
Adopt standards-based development practices!
Don't create any more
Reach out. There are domain experts in the company who can help point you in the right direction.
Follow the steps
Ask, don't invent