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Only 4.13% of the Web Is Standards-Compliant

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the i-woulda-guessed-less dept.

The Internet 406

Death Metal writes "Browser maker Opera has published the early results of an ongoing study that aims to provide insight into the structure of Internet content. To conduct this research project, Opera created the Metadata Analysis and Mining Application (MAMA), a tool that crawls the web and indexes the markup and scripting data from approximately 3.5 million pages."

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Well, that depends.... (5, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 6 years ago | (#25399217)

...on which standard the designer chose.

Re:Well, that depends.... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#25399267)

'Looks good in Internet Explorer and doesn't seem to crash Firefox or Opera' is not a standard.

Re:Well, that depends.... (2, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25399495)

Does using make my code non-standard?

Re:Well, that depends.... (4, Funny)

remmelt (837671) | about 6 years ago | (#25399643)

It sure makes your Slashdot comment non-standard!

Re:Well, that depends.... (3, Funny)

andy19 (1250844) | about 6 years ago | (#25399757)

I disagree- I'd say that's a pretty standard Slashdot comment.

Re:Well, that depends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399855)

You're not in some standards committee now are you? Like ISO ;)

Re:Well, that depends.... (1)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25400153)

That was supposed to say:

Does using "blink" make my code non-standard?

Re:Well, that depends.... (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 years ago | (#25399923)

'Looks good in Internet Explorer and doesn't seem to crash Firefox or Opera' may not be a standard, but it satisfies the bulk of most web-sites' customers. I'm a FF user and include myself in that group. I realize that sites are tuned for IE because it's the leader and accept that my browser choice and add-ons sometimes make things look a little funny - As long as they work I don't care. I would guess that most visitors feel more or less the same (slashdot standards nazis excepted).

Besides, if most of a web site's traffic is coming from a browser that doesn't support any standard but their own anyway, what motivation do they have to conform?

Re:Well, that depends.... (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#25400049)

Internet Explorer is really the big trouble maker here. Any Professional knows that their site needs to render flawlessly in IE first, Good enough in Firefox, and perhaps workable on others. Following the "standards" bairly leads to this operation as IE so poorly handles the standards that you really need to break them. I am still trying to find the HTML tag that gives IE users an electric shock.

Re:Well, that depends.... (2, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 6 years ago | (#25400179)

Yes it is. It is the standard that everyone shoots for. The defacto standard if you will. It is not a rigorously defined standard published by an internationally recognized standards body. I'm afraid there is not a single standard definition of the word standard [google.com] in the English language.

Isn't English fun, my compeer?

Re:Well, that depends.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399275)

The great thing about standards is, there's so many to choose from.

Re:Well, that depends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399521)

Choose a W3C standard.. make it fit to a triple AAA compliance level and you've created something which should work in any browser.

Adding on wings to fish can still be useful, as long as it doesn't stop the fish from swimming.

Re:Well, that depends.... (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#25399875)

There are only two standards that I care about: "How does my page look and work in Internet Explorer?" and "How does my page look/work in Firefox?" Beyond that, I couldn't really give a shit less if the W3C does or doesn't like it. My clients aren't paying me to spend extra time designing perfectly W3C-complaint sites, they are paying me to design a site that reaches real-world customers in as efficient a manner as possible.

Re:Well, that depends.... (5, Funny)

g0dsp33d (849253) | about 6 years ago | (#25399513)

But if we completely reverse the standards we should be at 95.87% compliance!

Everybody's High On Acid (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about 6 years ago | (#25399613)

All the major browsers are vying for top dog in creating a smiley face where there was once colorful blurs...And now is colorful flashy rainbows!

How compliant? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#25399249)

Depends on how strict they're being.
For example, I never close paragraph and line break tags, but otherwise my html is compliant.

Re:How compliant? (4, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 6 years ago | (#25399301)

It is very simple http://validator.w3.org/ [w3.org]

Re:How compliant? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#25399351)

Are there degrees of strictness?
If you claim your code is HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 or whatever, then it either is or it isn't.

strict vs transitional DTDs (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25399669)

Are there degrees of strictness?

Yes. HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 each have two DTDs: a "transitional" DTD that allows presentational elements and a "strict" one that disallows them. The trouble is that a couple structural elements and attributes got removed by mistake in the strict DTDs along with the presentational ones, most notably the value attribute of the li element. For this and other reasons, most valid HTML that I've found has used a transitional DTD.

Re:strict vs transitional DTDs (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399815)

Yes. HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 each have two DTDs: a "transitional" DTD that allows presentational elements and a "strict" one that disallows them.

No, that's something different. There aren't degrees of strictness when it comes to validity. If a document claims to be a Strict document, and makes a single mistake, then it is invalid. If a document claims to be a Transitional document, and makes a single mistake, then it is invalid. In both cases, it's an absolute rule with no laxity.

Re:How compliant? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#25399371)

Isn't that a bit like saying, "my C code fails to compile whenever I pass it the flag for strict ANSI checking, but other than that my code is ANSI C compliant"?

Re:How compliant? (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 years ago | (#25400011)

I think you nailed him - That's a perfect analogy. But, for web sites just like for application users, the target for compliance is not typically the end-user. When I download a new application, I don't care whether it was coded with 'ANSI C compliant' code. I just want it to work properly. When I load a web-page, I don't care if it meets some HTML standard. I just want it to display and function properly in my browser.

Re:How compliant? (1, Interesting)

rgo (986711) | about 6 years ago | (#25400143)

It is more like saying that the code compiles in the widespread standard C89 but not in barely implementated C99, as analogies to HTML 4.01 and any version of XHTML. They are both standards.

Re:How compliant? (2, Interesting)

DZign (200479) | about 6 years ago | (#25399431)

Also depends on how old the websites they searched are..
only recently added websites or also websites and old pages that exist longer than the standard they validated against exists ?

Re:How compliant? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 6 years ago | (#25399539)

How many websites around now are pre November 1995 when the HTML2.0 standard [ietf.org] was released.

"HTML has been in use by the World Wide Web (WWW) global information initiative since 1990. This specification roughly corresponds to the capabilities of HTML in common use prior to June 1994. HTML is an application of ISO Standard 8879:1986 Information Processing Text and Office Systems; Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)."

Re:How compliant? (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399565)

only recently added websites or also websites and old pages that exist longer than the standard they validated against exists ?

MAMA didn't validate against a single document type. They validated against the document type that each individual document claimed to be. So all the ancient HTML 2.0 pages out there will correctly be identified as valid in they are, in fact, valid HTML 2.0.

Re:How compliant? (1)

alexhs (877055) | about 6 years ago | (#25399449)

I never close paragraph and line break tags, but otherwise my html is compliant.

In that case I think you're compliant when using the transitional doctype [w3.org]

Re:How compliant? (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399653)

Depends on how strict they're being.

There aren't degrees of validity. A document is either valid or it isn't. You can't be "more strict" when validating something, if a tool offers you an option like that, then it is doing something other than validating, it's probably linting as well. There's at least one widely-used "validator" that doesn't actually validate at all.

For example, I never close paragraph and line break tags, but otherwise my html is compliant.

Yes you do. If you didn't close them, your pages wouldn't work in any browser. What you mean is that you don't explicitly close your paragraph and line break elements. And you don't have to. The closing tags for <p> elements are optional and the <br> element type is empty. Those are not errors.

Re:How compliant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399665)

closing paragraph and line breaks is not necessary for compliance with some versions of html.

Re:How compliant? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25399817)

Is there a particular reason you don't?

Do you understand why XHTML exists? How much more work it is to parse straight HTML, and less work it is for a browser to simply fire up an XML parser instead?

<br /> isn't that difficult.

Re:How compliant? (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25399971)

why don't you close paragraph breaks? both HTML and XHTML require paragraphs to have end tags.

line breaks don't need to be closed with a separate tag. in XHTML you simply write <br /> just like you would close other empty tags.

it's not hard to follow conventions that are universal across all browsers. there's no reason to break open standards other than a.) ignorance (which clearly is not the case here since you know you're breaking standards) or b.) your site needs to render on a browser that does not follow web standards.

i mean, what is achieved by intentionally flouting web standards? saving a couple bytes on your source code?

Re:How compliant? (1)

rgo (986711) | about 6 years ago | (#25400093)

In HTML 4.01, open tags are valid in many cases (like p, br, hr), even in strict mode.
In fact, if you close some of those tags the validator will warn you that although it is valid to close them, it is better not to do so.

Also, HTML 5 won't require closing those tags either, only XHTML x.xx require closed tags because they also validate for XML correctness.

More like (5, Funny)

ODiV (51631) | about 6 years ago | (#25399263)

OMG 4.13% of the Web is Standards-compliant!?

Re:More like (1)

WK2 (1072560) | about 6 years ago | (#25399367)

I agree. That number seems implausibly high.

Re:More like (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#25400033)

Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

Re:More like (1)

rgo (986711) | about 6 years ago | (#25400213)

Yeah, and I betcha that's the spam and porn free part of the web. Cause who would care about correctness (HTML or moral) when you are trying to sell fake watches and transexual horse porn.

W3C (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 6 years ago | (#25399305)

W3C's validation tools

Normally I'd go on my own rant but I'm feeling lazy today and recently I read a good article at A List Apart that sums it up [alistapart.com] . As for the W3C, I like this list they compile:

W3C's Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Global
  • Academic and scientific body
  • Multiple interests represented, but mostly from paid member companies
  • Attempting to be more open via certain teams such as the HTML5 and CSS Working Groups
  • Attempting to appeal more to work-a-day world via redesigns, blogs, and more human-friendly language throughout the site

Cons:

  • Creates "open standards" by ideal, not necessarily fact
  • Incredibly slow moving in a highly evolutionary environment
  • Poor economic model that relies on membership monies
  • Discourages independents and open process
  • Passive: only creates specs and recommends, does not do real outreach
  • "Ivory tower" perception

You should read that article, it's pretty spot on for this subject.

Re:W3C (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#25399415)

Um...isn't that pro/con list rather contradictory?

Re:W3C (1)

schklerg (1130369) | about 6 years ago | (#25399775)

The Pros seem like the idea, with the Cons the reality.

Re:W3C (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399747)

  • Incredibly slow moving in a highly evolutionary environment

That's hilarious. We still can't use CSS tables or generated content on the web - features that were published by the W3C in the CSS 2 specification over a decade ago because Internet Explorer doesn't support them yet. We need to use JavaScript frameworks or otherwise normalise event handling because Internet Explorer doesn't support DOM 2 Events - a specification published by the W3C eight years ago (event Internet Explorer 8 won't support this). And SVG anyone? XHTML? MathML?

Get back to me when browsers make it out of the 90s before telling me the W3C is "incredibly slow moving".

Re:W3C (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25399863)

In fact, this is pretty much entirely due to IE.

Do you suppose, if Google started blocking IE from their homepage by user-agent, that the situation would improve?

Re:W3C (1)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | about 6 years ago | (#25400177)

I think it would be a great boon for LiveSearch.

Let's face it, the average user isn't going to think to blame their browser, they're going to blame Google.

I wonder if (2, Interesting)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | about 6 years ago | (#25399321)

I wonder if they're throwing away every page that doesn't fully comply or if they're actually including the pages that almost comply but have a typo or missing doctype or missing closing tag. I'm guessing the former by the numbers which seems a little unfair to me.

Re:I wonder if (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399409)

Why is it unfair? If you're going for compliance for a good reason, a missing doctype or tag could be pretty serious. Try and run a page with a missing closing tag through a parser other than a web-browser once and see how minor an issue it is.

If you're going for compliance just because you can, it's not big deal, but you're still non-compliant.

Re:I wonder if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399633)

A missing closing tag where one is required is an error and shouldn't validate. I wonder about warnings. A webpage without any error but full of warnings, does it count as valid?

Re:I wonder if (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 6 years ago | (#25400079)

A typo makes something non-standards compliant. Missing/not closing a tag makes it non-standards compliant. There's no question of fairness about it, it's just fact.

Trying to make your page standards compliant (or as close to as you can without breaking the shittier of web browsers) is a good thing to do, but there are easy ways of checking if it is or not, so the laziness not to correct the typo/close the tag is the writers problem, not the standards makers.

Only 4.13% of the Web Is Standards-compliant ... (4, Insightful)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 6 years ago | (#25399339)

...the rest just renders perfectly in IE.

(i would prefer if there wasn't any truth in it.)

Some standards are just too strict... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#25399349)

For example, xhtml-strict does not include support for "target" attributes in links. What kind of idiotic decision was that?

So, people then choose xhtml-transitional, which is much more relaxed, etc.

Another thing is the inclusion of embedded xml inside html, which due to lack of support in the standards, completely break "standards-compliance", whatever that means.

Now, if you're talking about DOM, then that's another story.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#25399421)

Well not in the least bit idiotic actually.
It's up to me as a user to choose where a url opens, especially since we are all using the tabbed paradigm now.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (0, Troll)

flynt (248848) | about 6 years ago | (#25399529)


tabbed paradigm

Who do you think you are?
Surely not Kuhn
You probably thought it deep
When Neo said "no spoon"

I'd finish this poem
but there's no word to rhyme
with so pretentious a concept
as 'tabbed paradigm'

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25399759)

It's up to me as a user to choose where a url opens, especially since we are all using the tabbed paradigm now.

User agents currently do not allow the user to submit a form into a new window or tab. This is the nearly nine-year-old bug 17754 on bugzilla.mozilla.org with 99 votes.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399871)

User agents currently do not allow the user to submit a form into a new window or tab.

Webkit based browsers do.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (4, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 6 years ago | (#25399829)

XHTML-STRICT is not for everyone, it's intended for those (like me) who are more development oriented and wish to completely separate structure from presentation. A "target" attribute is clearly a presentation attribute since it defines how the linked reference is presented to the user and as the parent noted, it should be up to the user to make that choice.

When wanting to control presentation in XHTML STRICT, you should use DOM or CSS, that way, they structure (XHTML) is removed from the presentation (JS/CSS). I typically link all scripts and stylesheets. That way the XHTML is made portable in terms of data with the JS/CSS being limited to only effecting a web client. In the OPs case, a simple ID attribute for that particular anchor would work just fine, you could bind an event listener for a click event to that element and then execute your javascript popup code when that event is triggered, canceling the event so that the browser does execute the link on it's own. That way, your default browser clients could execute the JS instructions, while a 3rd party app (an AIR desktop or mobile device) could put their own custom behavior in if desired.

While that sort of practice may seem extreme to a designer, as a developer I can swear to it's scalability and transportability for supporting 3rd party access such as when developing a web UI that needs to support many types of clients via one codebase.

If none of those features make sense nor strike you as worthwhile, I suggest you stick to XHTML TRANSITIONAL, which is probably better suited to your needs.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (3, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | about 6 years ago | (#25399471)

For example, xhtml-strict does not include support for "target" attributes in links. What kind of idiotic decision was that?

A very good decision, there are two main uses for the "target" attribute:

  • Frame-based sites - Old-school, annoying way of designing sites that I and many others feel should not be used for new sites.
  • To automatically open links in a new window - Annoying behaviour by web developers who think no one could possible want to, god forbid, leave their site in favor of another site.

/Mikael

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 6 years ago | (#25399649)

I wouldn't want to browse API documentation in a non-frame based environment.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25399925)

I wouldn't mind it -- have you seen some of the better API doc sites?

What's more, "no frames" doesn't have to imply "no frame-like behavior" -- CSS can give you a little box whose contents scroll independently of the parent, and Javascript can give you links that don't refresh the entire page.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#25399751)

There are good and bad times to open a new window. I use it on my sites for when ever I'm showing a Map to something. "This week's game will be played Here (Map)". That lets me link to google maps. If it's something on my 'link' page then I let it open in the current window. It's the difference between an aside and a new paragraph.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25400005)

Not really a lot of point to it, though -- savvy users will simply middle-click on the link if they want it in a new tab/window. If they don't, that generally implies they want it right where it is, and your attempt to open a new tab/window is going to be annoying.

But hey, at least using a target for that is better than linking to a javascript: URL. A lot of sites are even worse -- they add an onClick event, and they set the link href to #, or to javascript:void(), meaning that middle-clicking on it inevitably does something unexpected.

My preferred method (if I ever need to force a new window) is to use a plain old link, and progressively enhance it with Javascript to open a new window. That way, if people middle-click, it does exactly what they want.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 6 years ago | (#25399909)

Actually there is another very good use for automatically opening a window (not mentioning target as it's just a vehicle to get you there)

When a link is possibly important to a user but would in fact break the flow of their current activity, a link should be set to open in a new window - preferably one which does not go full screen to hide the window they are really using.

This is a usability issue. You should not make the user think about having to open a link in a new tab or window if they click a link to something like a privacy policy while filling out a form.

You have completely ignored the possibility of opening a new window which is still within the site but is tangential to the user's main activity.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 6 years ago | (#25400181)

Ah yes, for those special purposes it can be useful, unfortunately it has been proven that by giving developers the possibility of opening links in a new window/tab is something that will be abused, especially by people who seem to think that their site is oh-so-important and that the user couldn't possibly want to leave it.

/Mikael

New Window !== evil (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 6 years ago | (#25400037)

Annoying behaviour by web developers who think no one could possible want to, god forbid, leave their site in favor of another site.

There are times when it can be appropriate. When it's absolutely needed however (read: the boss wants it that way) I'll use a mini icon to give a visual cue that it opens in a new window.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (2, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | about 6 years ago | (#25399501)

The lack of a target attribute really bothered me when I first ran into it. Their argument was something like how websites shouldn't be controlling the browser, as in creating tabs/windows, etc. Of course you can hack it in with Javascript which is something I refused to do, what's the point of striving to be standards compliant when you break it a minute later with Javascript? Anyways, I thought about it and kind of agreed with the notion, so now I just externally link a lot less.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about 6 years ago | (#25399887)

I am so full of hate at sites that continually want to open new windows. When I can, I use a browser that lets me turn that off. So what's the point of you breaking the standard in ugly javascript, only to have me turn it off?

You don't need multiple windows. If you think you do, you're wrong. If you're not wrong *I'll* open a new window.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25400031)

Of course you can hack it in with Javascript which is something I refused to do, what's the point of striving to be standards compliant when you break it a minute later with Javascript?

Well, Javascript is a standard.

I prefer progressive enhancement -- make the link a plain old link, and useful on its own, then override onClick to do whatever you want. Browsers that support middle-click-open-in-new-tab don't seem to count that as an onClick event.

Re:Some standards are just too strict... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 6 years ago | (#25400087)

Javascript may be a standard but I don't consider it an excuse to break usability. I use Noscript and I don't even bother to explore sites that are totally borked without their Javascript crutch. I spend a lot of time making sure everything works whether Javascript is on or not.

The dirty secret of web development... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400147)

I use Noscript and I don't even bother to explore sites that are totally borked without their Javascript crutch

...Is nobody cares about you.

Surprised? (4, Insightful)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | about 6 years ago | (#25399355)

Why is this a surprise? We are limited by non-standards compliant browsers.
Unfathomable amounts of development time has been wasted over the years trying to set sites running and usable in multiple browsers.
To complicate the issue, over the last few years there has been an explosion in the number of browsers on the market. It is really no fun navigating this modern tower of Babel.
If I had one wish that would be granted, it would be that all browsers would be compliant to a standard. Literally millions of man years in development time could have been saved if this issue was somehow nipped in the bud earlier on.

Re:Surprised? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#25400095)

To complicate the issue, over the last few years there has been an explosion in the number of browsers on the market. It is really no fun navigating this modern tower of Babel.

To simplify the issue, maybe every few months, I have to fix an issue where our site works on Firefox, but not Safari.

Every few days, I have to fix an issue where our site works everywhere else except IE.

If we didn't have to deal with IE, the problem would be a complete non-issue. Any page I build that I'm not being paid to make usable in IE, I don't.

It is not funny. (1)

siyavash (677724) | about 6 years ago | (#25399357)

Some seem to find this funny, but I don't think this is funny at all. It is actually very sad. I used to be a huge IE fanboy until I learned some w3c standards. All my websites are now 100% w3c validated. People should wake up. Well, not people but "webmasters/developers". This is a serious issue.

Although, one big problem might be the huge marketshare of IE6 in many corporates and homes. I wish we could somehow get rid of IE6 very quick. IE7 isn't perfect, but it's MUCH BETTER than IE6.

Re:It is not funny. (2, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | about 6 years ago | (#25399531)

Even if your app is 100% standard compliant, it may not be cross browser. Not even if you pull IE out of the equation. Not even if you ONLY TARGET FIREFOX (there are differences between FF2 and FF3. FF2 doesn't even fully implement CSS 2 itself...)

So by now, devs have reverted to another philosophy: make websites that are crossbrowser, and -mostly- standard compliants.

If you look at some of the most heavily cross browser web sites out there, especially the ones that are extremely backward compatible (down to Netscape 4), they are in HTML 4 quirk mode, and not standard at all. But they work better than most.

The standard also doesn't dictate defaults, which is quite the big hole. Being standard compliant doesn't help too much. Add that the standard evolves extremely slowly, and if you want to get the job done, you need to bypass it.

Thats why the W3C stuff is a standard proposition. No one "has" to adopt it. There are good standards out there, but as a general rule, anything coming out of the W3C is a joke of a swiss cheeze. Looked at the XQuery specs lately? My significant other works on a project to implement a full XQuery engine. A -lot- is left to interpretation, is loosely defined, etc. Same with XHTML and CSS. Even fully implemented, its vague, poorly designed (hellllooo.... versioning anyone? API 101?), and all around pathetic.

The faster we get rid of it, the better. Either by a proprietary spec (Flash may not be open source, but at least it freagin work, mostly cross platform if you don't care to use the latest version at all time...better than XHTML/CSS anyway...), either by a new standard body that doesn't suck at -everything- they do. XQuery, XHTML, CSS, SOAP, XSD, XML... can they do ANYTHING right?

Re:It is not funny. (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 6 years ago | (#25400081)

Even if your app is 100% standard compliant, it may not be cross browser. Not even if you pull IE out of the equation. Not even if you ONLY TARGET FIREFOX (there are differences between FF2 and FF3. FF2 doesn't even fully implement CSS 2 itself...)

So by now, devs have reverted to another philosophy: make websites that are crossbrowser, and -mostly- standard compliants.

Bingo.

It's one thing when you're developing something as a hobby, but it's another when your boss gives you a .psd from a graphic designer and says "the client wants to see something by tomorrow" and you have no idea which browser he or she will be using.

Any, any time I have to lay out a non-trivial site that will have to work well in IE6 and in modern browsers, I don't even bother trying for standards compliance. Even on the simple ones, I usually design to standards using FF3 as a testbed, then have to break it to get the damned thing working on IE6 (and sometimes even IE7!) in a reasonable timeframe.

Deadlines are great at making you prioritize. I need the site to look good NOW in several browsers, and I need to have extra time for any javascript and PHP work to design it in such a way that it's extensible and maintainable (or pay for it later). (X)HTML/CSS standards compliance is my very last concern, and one of the first things I cut, not because I want to, but because it's my best bad option.

Re:It is not funny. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#25399547)

Serious issue? Do you mean like preventing Iran from having nucular weapons serious? Perhaps, saving the thousands that die of starvation every day kind of serious? Global climate change kind of serious? AIDS kind of serious? or are you simply talking about 'what costume will I wear this year?' kind of serious?

If it works, nobody will rush out and pay to change it, no matter how much bitching goes on. If it was as serious as malaria, BG would have forced everyone to upgrade to IEfirefox by now. Apparently it's not THAT serious. I mean, when I go to the bank to cash a check, I don't worry they won't give me money unless I can prove I'm using Firefox at home.

geeesh

not people but "webmasters/developers". (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25399675)

So Webmasters are not human? I've often suspected that.

End 6 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25399797)

I wish we could somehow get rid of IE6 very quick.

Install End 6 [end6.org] on sites that you maintain, and the first time an IE 6 user visits your site, a pop-up will suggest Opera, Safari, Firefox, Flock, or IE 7.

Re:It is not funny. (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25400097)

You can make a site that works fine in every browser that's XHTML 1.0 Strict. Chances are that you'll have to use some non-standard (and probably invalid) CSS in a conditional stylesheet, but that a) doesn't count in terms of X/HTML validation and b) is only linked from the inside of a comment read only by IE, so even if CSS validity was part of being valid X/HTML it wouldn't be checked by the validator.

Granted, you may need to add in some extraneous tags in order to implement the proper CSS hacks, but that makes them extraneous not invalid. But that's just as true for implementing rounded corners, which is in CSS3 (and accessible in Safari and Firefox by using the -webkit-border-radius and -moz-border-radius properties respectively) but is an unnecessarily large pain in the ass to implement on any element that isn't of a fixed width and height.

You're absolutely correct that IE6 is a huge PITA to code for (as is IE7, but less so), but if you start with valid code that displays identically in Opera/Webkit/Gecko engines, you usually end up with something that doesn't take _too_ much hacking unless you have a really weird layout. My biggest problems, aside from those random 3px gaps that seem to occur mostly with floated elements, is font color inheritance on links and the various pseudo-classes, :hover in particular.

For plenty of the projects I've been working on recently, I can safely ignore IE6 entirely (making a conditional stylesheet wouldn't be TOO hard, but I can't be bothered right now) and IE7 doesn't usually have too many issues. It's certainly a nice change. Combined with fully cross-browser JS libraries like jQuery, my life as a web developer is a whole hell of a lot easier than it once was.

Oh great (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 6 years ago | (#25399469)

This is pretty annoying. We already have to deal with grammar nazis, now we're dealing with standards nazis? When will it end!?

Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature creep. (3, Insightful)

bboxman (1342573) | about 6 years ago | (#25399489)

This is sad. The situation is even worse in some non-English web domains.

Why can't the web stick to something simple? 95% of the sites I use, would be fine with just plain simple HTML 2.0. Instead, we've got javascript, CSS, XHTML, and other buzzwords. Which in the end, take control of how a web page looks from the user's hand.

I like to read text, on a monitor, green on black (or white on black). I would like to format a web page the way I want to see it.

The vast majority of the web is simple formatted text. There is no reason for this to constantly evolve onwards and onwards.

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 6 years ago | (#25399535)

You're telling me the DHTML clock that follows your cursor isn't entertaining?

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (1)

bboxman (1342573) | about 6 years ago | (#25399601)

No Really.

Come to think of it, the main use of all of these "junk standards" is to drive commercials on various sites.

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25399579)

But what about the porn?

I think the step from ASCII-girls was a big improvement.

Yay for vid pron!!1!

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (4, Interesting)

coopaq (601975) | about 6 years ago | (#25399681)

./ is mostly text, but how did you post this comment? Any Page refreshes?

Actually it uses some pretty sweet AJAX calls.

Progress usually comes from ignoring standards.

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (3, Interesting)

I.M.O.G. (811163) | about 6 years ago | (#25399839)

The best thing for you to do is to provide your own CSS file and tell firefox to use it rather than anything provided by the website you are visiting.

This will style all sites similarly, and will work great for sites that atleast have well-structured HTML. Sites that at least have properly structured HTML are much more common than sites which are standards compliant.

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 6 years ago | (#25400019)

unfortunately the vast majority of the web would not exist if it had to meet your standards. People don't create content for free... well the majority of them don't.

Copywriters cost $100/hour + and nobody wants to pay that much if the copy being written is going to go online into a format that amounts to a high school term paper.

Also nobody wants you to have the power to view their content the way YOU want to. They pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a web site that communicates their content the way THEY want it communicated.

Re:Sad. Even sadder is the yet-another-feature cre (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25400193)

So override with a stylesheet that looks roughly like:
* {
color: #0F0 !important;
background-color: #000 !important;
}
div {
display: block !important;
float: none !important;
}

and you'll be all set. The rest of us tend to like looking at something that doesn't resemble a terminal window all day long. There's a reason that browsers provide the ability to override stylesheets and disable javascript. CSS, JS, and all of that other stuff don't take the presentation layer away from you (in fact, they make it a hundred times easier to override rather than the inline styles of old), they just provide defaults.

And Opera sayeth unto the Web: (1)

rarel (697734) | about 6 years ago | (#25399491)

"Come to MAMA!"

and that's not a problem (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#25399533)

1. the web is still evolving, the standards keep changing. no pressing need to lock things in
2. it is superior design to have a browser that gracefully degrades rather than being and brittle and refusing to render everytime someone forgets to close a <p> element. not simply because of nonstandard pages, but for a whole host of other reasons, including handling partial transmissions
3. the strength of the web is open participation, low barrier to entry. hobbyists should publish, and this is a good sign. hobbyists should not expected to be anal retentive standards zealots

complete standards compliance should always be low on the web because this is a sign of a HEALTHY internet, because it means nonprofessionals are contributing content. this is always a good thing, this what made the internet a powerful nw form of media in the first place. if ever there were some sort of gatekeeper organization or rigorous technical specification that enforced standards compliance, you would raise the barrier to entry onto the web by regular joes. you would reduce the variety of the web, make it more monoclonal, and hurt a vibrant ocmmunity

low standards compliance is not only a complete nonissue and not a problem, its a good sign. the lower standards compliance is, the better for us all

Re:and that's not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400085)

3. the strength of the web is open participation, low barrier to entry. hobbyists should publish, and this is a good sign. hobbyists should not expected to be anal retentive standards zealots

I agree. It should be the same as making a JPEG. If people want to crop and touch up a photo, they are not expected to read the JPEG standard, open the JPEG in a hex editor, and hand-code it. They use tools, like GIMP or Photoshop, which implement the standard.

Why does this work? Because a malformed JPEG will not display. Because people can't bend the rules, they don't try and they don't complain that the JPEG standard is "too strict".

It should be the same way with HTML. Unfortunately, we don't have the proper tools for this. There should be editors which work like text editors, except that they only allow the creation of valid code. There would be commands for adding elements and attributes. The software would generate a valid serialization of the DOM.

As well, people should be able rely on CMSs to produce valid code, just like they rely on Photoshop to produce valid JPEGs or PNGs.

So what?? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 6 years ago | (#25399589)

Only about 4% of web sites are HTML-standard compliant. So what?? Will the world come to an end??

This standards-nazi attitude is what, IMHO, will always keep Opera from becoming a major browser. When Joe Sixpack finally learns about Opera, decides to give it a go, and realizes a few sites don't look as good in Opera as they do in IE, he'll simply go back.

The W3C is kind of like the UN, it dictates the rules, but has no firepower to enforce them (that's where Microsoft comes in).

As much as I love Opera I find myself going back to IE (rather, FF with IE Tab ext.) about 20% of the time. Not to mention my work intranet which is totally designed for IE.

Re:So what?? (1)

bertilow (218923) | about 6 years ago | (#25399755)

nly about 4% of web sites are HTML-standard compliant. So what?? Will the world come to an end??

No. Actually those figures indicate that the world has improved a lot. It used to be something like 0.001% valid pages. So 4% is a huge step forward.

Re:So what?? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25399955)

Indeed. If you read the full report, you'll see that a similar study in 2001 yielded 0.71% valid pages, and a similar study in 2006 yielded 2.58% pages, so 4.13%, while still very low, is a decent improvement in the right direction and it seems to be accelerating.

I know the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399627)

The problem is html is so non restrictive that you can be high and create a "good" website. It also doesn't help that a lot of web developers are "high" school kids/drop outs and community college grads :P What I'm saying is that as long as companies hire cheap labor (those mentioned) companies will get cheap results.. simple as that.

SUMMARY:
You get what you paid for. Nothing more.

so what does this tell us about the standard? (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#25399707)

Does it mean that 94% of websites did not find the standard useful?

Or perhaps that the standard is poorly presented, causing fewer people to be aware of it?

My personal leaning is that the standards body lost control of their 'standards' a long time ago, but they haven't realised yet. The only real thing most web devs care about is 'does my site/application run as required in the browsers I need it to?' If the answer is 'yes, if you don't follow the standard', then the standard is ignored.

4.13% compliance doesn't really surprise me. (5, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 6 years ago | (#25399777)

You only need to make one mistake in your markup to be non-compliant. I would be interested to see what the degree of failure is for the other 95.87% of sites. My website, Wii Fit Forum [wiifitforum.org] currently fails on six counts, all just simple errors in the code which I plan to fix. But currently, the site displays just fine, so I have more important things to worry about. I think this is the same for many publishers.

Unfortunately for the novice, the ignorant, the lazy or the just plain error-prone (the last two are me), the W3C and the browser industry do not make it that easy to be compliant.

HTML standards are the current prime example of the old joke "the great thing about standards is that there are so many of them". The W3C really needs to stop pissing around with all this semantic web crap, and concentrate on making what is already there work better.

We need a single standard which embodies all the best elements of the existing ones in a coherent form, and then the browers manufacturers need to get their arses in gear and implement it properly. The novice developer is currently confronted with a mish-mash of alternative doc-types, each of which has different pros and cons, and which may or may not work properly depending on your browser. It needs to be done soon, not over a ten year timescale.

When you can stop worrying about whether your site will work in various browsers, then people will spend more time on compliance. Until then, people will worry about the important things, such as their readers being able to see their site properly.

I know I should treat standards with more importance, but while the current mess persists it is hard to care.

What good are "standards" (3, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about 6 years ago | (#25399791)

When they don't work with the tools (various browsers).

Better to build a website that works, than one that meets standards but display poorly in the browsers of your users.

Ask yourself this simple question. If it does not look good in the browser, is your client going to accept "Well it's coded to standards!". Heck no...

Errors found while checking this document as HTML (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399853)

Errors found while checking this document as HTML 4.01 Strict! Result: 23 Errors, 1 warning(s) Address: http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/16/1325215 [slashdot.org] Encoding: iso-8859-1 Doctype: HTML 4.01 Strict Root Element: HTML

It's not standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399933)

...if the majority of authors don't abide by it. Silly propeller-heads.

_Already_ 4.13% of the web is standards-compliant (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25399963)

If you go to the source [opera.com] of the research, you will for example notice that the last time a similar study was done [opera.com] (in June 2006), only 2.58% of the tested pages validated completely. A 1.5% increase might not seem to be all that much, but it's definitely indicative that we're on the right way. (And of course, perfect validation is never the final goal in itself, but merely an easy first step for people en route to writing better, semantically-meaningful, universally accessible websites.)

<blink>really?</blink> (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400007)

Inconceivable!

Now if only they could⦠(1)

joeharrison (723042) | about 6 years ago | (#25400021)

Now if only they could get MAMA to automatically scold the people that aren't compliant
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