Are the W3C going down the toilet?
About the W3C
The W3C are basically a consortium dedicated to creating standards and guidelines for the code that makes up web pages. Now the first thing you might say is "what gives them the right to make those guidelines?", well nothing I guess but since their director is none other than Sir Tim Burners Lee the guy that invented the 'World Wide Web' in the first place, I think its only fair that we at least give them a chance...
Now personally I'm not a massive fan of the W3C's standards and proposals (in fact many of you may well have heard me rant about various things in the past) but at the end of the day they are doing a job that absolutely has to be done and a tough one at that. Lets face it when you are dealing with something as sensitive as web standards no matter what you produce you are going to upset somebody. Their hearts are in the right place though and thats what counts in this game; we are all learning and as long as people are at least trying to do the right thing, with the support of the community they will get there in the end.
One of my biggest complaints about the W3C (apart from their validator often sucks) is I often felt that they were trying to close the gate after the horse has bolted and lacked any real authority. This is especially obvious when you run a real-time validator plugin such as HTML Validator and observe that even Googles homepage doesn't comply. However recently I'm beginning to change that opinion. Looking around it can be seen that even Microsoft is confirming to their standards (albeit rather slowly) and lets face it Microsoft are the last people to bow down and conform to someone else's standards. I guess we should chalk that up as quite an accomplishment.
So everyone is happy?
Well not quite, this brings me rather belatedly to the point of this blog. I recently came across a website from a collection of people called the "Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group" abbreviated to WHATWG.
Made up of individuals from Mozilla, Apple, Google and dare I say it Opera, the WHATWG are unhappy with the progression of the W3C's standards (and in Mozilla and Opera's case possibly very unhappy at having their paper voted down by the W3G). The solution? They decided to get together and form their own working group to produce a HTML 5.0 standard.
I found the following two quotes from their website to be particularly revealing:
"In 2004, after a W3C workshop, Apple, Mozilla and Opera were becoming increasingly concerned about the W3C’s direction with XHTML, lack of interest in HTML and apparent disregard for the needs of real-world authors. So, in response, these organisations set out to with a mission to address these concerns and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group was born."
"Why do we need both HTML 5 and XHTML 2.0? We don’t. What the wider Web community needs is a language which, if implemented by a Web browser, will result in a browser that can render all the existing content on the Web, and which will have new features to make the Web a better place. XHTML2.0 is not such a language — a browser that only supports XHTML2 could not render existing Web content correctly."
As we know development thrives on competition especially when its between two dominant parties. Microsoft - Apple, IE - Firefox, KDE - Gnome, Ford - General Motors, you name it. But could web standards benefit in the same way? XHTML - HTML? Who knows, I'm sure I don't. One thing I do know though is the WHATWG wont get far with their current website. To say its hideous would be generous, maybe they should get me to do their web design ;)
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