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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

web standards

Thursday, August 05, 2004

So, I've finally come up for air. I'm taking too many breaths. I've got so much to do. So much to say. See in the last month -- off and on when not becoming a born again digital virgin (that's right, the technological kid has come in from the analog storm (storms are good every now and again)) -- I've been swimming through content management systems, blogware (again and sticking with WordPress) and web standards.

Before posting a lot about which you may have no interest in reading (then please skim!), know that this is all gonna see the light of day (sorta) at t-floss when its appearance starts to shift. Brand identity, baby! (If anybody knows the title of the book Tom Peters co-authored about branding, published circa 1980, please let me know. It was a fantastic book that doesn't contain all the awful self-help language he employs these days. The dark side of success. And branding. Everyone copies you and the parody makes the original laughable. Sorta. Anyway...)

There is a lot to web standards and accessibility. No more do web developers have to write six different pages for six different browsers. Mainly, they need to focus on 5% of the web's users who use standards-compliant browsers and then do some minimal hacking to accommodate the other 95%. Cough, Redmond, cough. Please make IE7 the best browser. :pray:

Anyway, thank gawd that the browser wars are (mostly) over. (Now, could we do something about our two-party political process! I'm all about the lack of standards when the two opposing parties are basically the same. Um, where was I?) That's right, back in the halcyon days of early 2001 when I took to the road, I tried to redesign my website from my car while doing 85 mph. Zogging while others thought zagging was cooler than zigging. Well, I quickly learned that my poor HTML 3 skills were not going to cut it out on the open road. That Adobe GoLive could only do so much and too much (bloated code). Too many of my friends were having difficulty browsing my site or even downloading it (not to mention uploading it from a 14k wireless modem). Well, the downloading/uploading problem was easily solved but the browser issues were another matter. I threw my hands in the air and awaited the web world people to get their act together.

The saddest bit about all of this is that the tools to obtain web standards, CSS (loosely: design) and XHTML (loosely: structure)*, were finally accepted in prime time when I eschewed my web presence back in late-Spring of 2001. I've lost three years! Had I been patient or not been so taken by, um, well her name is unimportant...
*Content can be achieved by a variety of means as can XHTML but it is all circular and above the reach of this post.

So, if you are interested in standards, I suggest stopping by the sites A List Apart and Asterisk*, the latter seems to be the most focused blog on web design issues regarding standards.

Of course, I am only now crawling out from the waters of theory (read: I was reading books) and onto the land of practice (read: plowing through websites for quick tips as I quickly relaunch my personal website), so there is probably a lot more out there concerned with my standards interests (both arguments for and against) that I've not had enough time to read. Oh, but here's one funny, funny piece, Gurus v. Bloggers 2 (part one), for those interested in the contradictions of 'practice what you preach'. Both these Design by Fire (DxF) articles have plenty of great websites listed.