Future Standards

I just read Kyle Neath’s article titled HTML5 and CSS3 are doomed for disaster. I took away a lot of information, but it kind of stated what a lot of people are thinking. Making specifications is easy compared to the implementations of it. Although I think HTML5 will be a bit different.

The specification for HTML5 is being created with browser developers as part of the process. Since they have an idea of how hard it will be to implement each part of the spec, it should go smoother. Also, HTML5 is an incremental upgrade. It’s nothing as radical as XHTML and provides several neat enhancements that will make developing for the web easier. XHTML is currently just HTML with self-closing tags in most implementations. It’s a struggle to try and design with standards when they aren’t even supported and you’re just left with “tag soup“.

Being a good web designer is partly being able to develop a design that works across multiple browsers and platforms. This can truly be a pain when you’re talking about trying to get your code to work with IE6. How I yearn for a scenario when we can just tag team IE6 and no one would create sites that are compatible with IE6. This would force the user to upgrade to a browser with a least some standards support. Our entire school system just made the switch from IE6 to IE7. If our school system with hundreds of computers can make the switch, any small company or personal user should be able to also. All they have to do is click the install button, and then it works (not 100% of the time, but hey, nothings perfect). I by no means advocate IE7 to people, but if it’s the only option, so be it.

The Flash Player 9 has been downloaded over 3.2 billion times.

The reason why Flash does so well is that it comes pre-installed on a lot of machines and it can automatically update from within the browser. As I have said before on other blogs, people are stupid. They are also a bit impatient. If they have to go out of their way to install another browser or upgrade to say, IE7, they aren’t going to want to. Hitslink provides a glaring example. IE still controls about 78% of the market with IE6 still ahead of IE7 by 4%. IE7 was pushed through as a priority update on October 18th, 2006 [source]. That’s over a year and it’s about even percentage-wise. Now look at the Firefox trend. Firefox 2.0 has 15% of usage while the previous iteration, 1.5, has .63%. Since then, Firefox has updated automatically within the browser itself and it’s updated when the browser is restarted. No fuss for the user and most of the people that use the browser are on the latest version. Flash just upgrades and installs and people get the latest version without them having to do much except maybe click a link to automatically download it.

I digress. For all my hopes, they may just be dashed. I want to be realistic about it, but I so desperately want standards to become, well, standard. Making it so the user doesn’t have to do anything would be a step in the right direction.


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