Fear of web standards

When I made Developing with web standards (and the Swedish version, Webbutveckling med standarder) available online, I didn't really know if anyone would care, and if I would get any feedback, positive or negative. So far, the articles have been read by thousands of people, and the feedback I have received has been very positive, which is great.

However, when I've gone through my referer logs, I've found links to my documents from discussion forums where some of the participants clearly do not want to understand what web standards are about. Instead of learning something new, these people try very hard to find reasons not to use web standards, and accuse web standards advocates of not living and working in the real world.

That kind of reaction is probably to a large extent caused by fear of the unknown, and the feeling of not having enough time and energy to spend on relearning how to do your job. Well, the good news is that you don't have to learn it all in one week. Just get yourself started, and then move towards web standards one step at a time. Eventually, you'll find that web standards are ready to use, even in "the real world".

For me, web standards made the web interesting again. After years of working with tag soup and presentational markup, I was fed up with it. Building websites wasn't fun anymore. I kept trying to explain to my colleagues that we were doing things the wrong way, but I didn't do a very good job of it, because I didn't know how to make them understand. Then I read To Hell With Bad Browsers, and realized that Zeldman had just written what I was trying to say.

After that, I started learning more and more about web standards, and using them more and more for every new website I worked on. And that has made building websites much more interesting for me. It's very unlikely that I would still be doing what I do if the push for web standards hadn't come along.

What made you start using web standards, and how has it changed the way you feel about web development?

Posted on April 24, 2004 in Web Standards