In the beginning, all we had were hacks.
To lay out web pages the way our clients wanted, with pull quotes, text wrapping, multi-colored table cells with space between the rows (but not the columns), then we had to hack, hack, and hack some more. Our hacks resulted in some impressively gargantuan code:enormous, indecipherable, triple-nested tables up and down the page, each with its own border, padding, spacing, and alignment settings, packed to the rafters with bloated font tags. But what could we do’
It wasn’t our fault we had to build these monstrosities; all we had to work with was HTML, a markup language created by a British software consultant in his spare time to enable scientists in Switzerland to share information about particle physics! I mean, come on! HTML was designed to display plain text in a hierarchical manner, period — no images, no three-column layouts, no multi-color fonts. It was never intended to create the magazine-like layouts we see on the web today.
But that’s what our clients paid us for, and so we hacked.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, the browsers we were developing for all rendered our code differently, leading to more hacks and more bloated pages as we strove for “cross-platform compatibility” (the day my producer learned that term was a dark day indeed).
Well, the kind souls at the World Wide Web Consortium have taken pity on you, poor Web developer, and in their infinite wisdom have formulated a solution that’s so beautiful in its simplicity, so beneficial for all parties involved (developer, client/boss, user), that you’ll break down and weep like Tammy Faye on a Sunday when you realize how much easier things are about to get for you.
The solution? So, so simple: web standards.
Continue Reading “Web Standards for Beginners” »