Narain is the founder & CEO for 360 Degree Interactive, a web services firm based in Chennai, India. This blog is about his personal views on Web 2.0, RoR, Social networking,Digital media, interactive advertising, SaaS, Service Oriented Architecture, India Inc, rural education, Web standards, mobile 2.0 and more.

Friday, March 31

Does Standards really matter?

While working on our TracBac, where we test the application against multiple browsers on Windows and Mac, and validating the code for HTML, CSS etc, suddenly i wanted to know whether the biggies really care about standards. Using the W3C's validator, i tried to validate the big most loved/hated companies on the net. For this I just took 3 companies - Google, Microsoft and Apple. It's much more easier to in this lineup to find out the bad boys or guys who get the ugly press - Microsoft.

These are all the results for you to see and it's surprising. We are drawing our battlelines against Microsoft [as evil] for everything which is relevant to web. Although they produce one of the worst nightmare for a web designer, surprising their website perfect validates. Microsoft for all its bad press, actually, silently did the right thing.

On the other hand, a company which pronounce "less evil" and advocates open standards in their approach, failed miserably with 50 errors for their super minimal homepage. Worse is the case of their homepage that they don't even have a DTD declared in their page. Sorry state of affairs for Google. For all those people out there, who swears by this emporor of the web, actually the Emperor wears no clothes.

Next comes, Apple, the darling of the designers & on the web. Problems again. Their HTML 4.01 Transitional has 7 errors in their document. For Apple, although, they make the best workhorse for designers to work with, their own iWeb actually creates a whole bunch of useless code competing squarely against Microsoft Frontpage for tag souping.

The bottomline can be divided into two. Are standards really matter on the web? If so, why these companies are not taking any step towards that? This is not a compliant. But this is the sorry state of affairs of the web. One end, when the WaSP is trying hard to convince Microsoft to make their browser stronger support for standards, they are fighting on something which finds no grounds in the real world web. Safari, may be a better standard compliant browser than IE, but what if the very company itself is not creating a standard compliant site to deliver better experience.

I am not here to argue the shortfalls of W3C validator. There can definitely be problems. When Doug Bowman in his semninal presentation showed how Microsoft needed to rethink about designing a standard compliant website for them, why are we following a double standard when it comes to Google & Apple. Aren't they also should be given the same argument for making the web, more standard driven for people. It's much easier to criticize Microsoft, because we believe they produce some sub-standard stuff for the people. For argument sake, if you agree, what better experience & standards were followed by their hyped, celebrated, "anti-MS" companies like Apple & Google. Is it time for us to appreciate Microsoft that they have lend their ears to the "standards" crowd and reworked on their website. Surely, Web standards and standard compliant web development needs to be the norm of the future of the web, while we hit our bad press against Microsoft, why not against Google and Apple ?

Isn't time for change or we are talking about a "utopian dream"


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