Standards matter to me

When I started to work on this site, I wanted this site to completely follow the web standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium. The real reason for doing this was personal, as I want to adopt the philosophy of "If you're going to do something, do it the right way", which is how I really strive to do everything in general. But as I read more and more about why these standards exist in the first place, now it's become because I want my site to work as I intend it to be. For now, it's all working well. Go ahead, click on the W3 button at the footer of the site to validate the page. I'll wait a moment.

Okay, so this entire post started from the fact that the Wordpress software I use to run this blog has always advocated being standards-compliant, which is why I chose to use this software instead of a different one. So it came to my surprise that when I found out recently that some sections of this blog we failing the validation tests. It turns out it was because of the template I'm using. I've fixed the problems that I have noticed, and I vow it will never, ever happen again on any website I develop.

However, it bugs me a little when I see that most large and popular websites fail the simple validation tests. Microsoft's website fails validation, mostly due to the fact that Internet Explorer is recommended to browse the site and that piece of software seems to follow their own web standards. YouTube fails as well, maybe because of all those Flash-based movie players scattered around. I won't even bother to talk about MySpace and the really messy pages of most of its users. Even Google's very simple main page doesn't have a valid DOCTYPE in its code. Why do these large companies fail to address this? I mean, it's not difficult to follow web standards at all. If a simple, lone programmer like myself can do it, certainly those large corporations with their fleet of programming gurus can work it out, right? It seems they don't.

I had read a very interesting blog post that talks about the importance of web standards, and tries to reach out to those people. But day after day, these developers just don't seem to care at all. I see no valid reason why web developers can't write the code to their site using simple and proven web standards. It sort of boggles the mind.

Granted, there are some websites that fail validation due to non-validating ads on their pages. This is a touchy subject, since those ads sometimes help pay the bills of running the website, so removing them it out of the question. I have not yet implemented a site that has ads running on it, so I wouldn't know how to work around this. But I would at least try to give the companies running those ads a hard time to shape up and fix their ads.

Alas, there still is hope around. Many sites around the Internet are gracious enough to follow web standards in their wildly popular and frequently visited pages. Sites like Digg and Craigslist follow web standards correctly, and I applaud them for that. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the rest of the top websites of the universe.

Even though I'm a simple programmer just trying to make a personal website, I will continue to work with web standards, even if I'm part of a very small part of those who actually do so as well.

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Dennis Martinez

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