Oh man, the W3C machine is starting to fall apart. For those of you that aren’t on top of the news, here’s a roundup of the action from around the web.

  • Trouble Brewing at the W3C? Last year, a faction called WHAT-WG (which is made up some big players like Apple, Mozilla and Opera) threatened to revolt over electronic forms standards. They’ve been trying to get better standards for building better Web Forms, Applications and Controls through the W3C for some time now.

  • To Hell with WCAG 2 First signs of trouble I noticed came from Joe Clark’s A List Apart article about how terrible the new Accessibility Guidelines were at handling, resolving and truly updating the outdated specs. Clark is thorough in his criticism, so take some time out for this one.

  • Leaving W3C Bjoern Hoehrmann, a longtime developer of tools like the W3C HTML Validator, listed a detailed and disconcerting list of grievances that explains exactly why he’s leaving the W3C. Basically, the W3C doesn’t seem to truly support the architecture, time and resources to do their jobs properly and responsibly.

  • w3c Specs are Not the Word of God Bruce Lawson gave a couple of great examples of how some of the suggestions in the W3C specs on definition lists and floats aren’t the most semantic solutions.

  • An Angry Fix Zeldman’s admonishment basically demands the consortium get their act together or watch developers turn to Microformats as an alternative source for guidelines. Little dramatic, but a great call to action.

HTML Form Builder
Kevin Hale

W3C Breakdown Roundup by Kevin Hale

This entry was posted 4 years ago and was filed under Notebooks.
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  1. Mr. Frustrated · 4 years ago

    This is merely the culmination of years of W3C ineffectiveness. Here we have this medium that exploded upon us in the mid 90’s - it moved along at light speed. Innovation was rife - and then suddenly it stops - why?

    Whey when we went from generation 1 browsers to generation 3, from plain hypertext to image tags, tables and more in a couple of years - why all of a sudden can’t any innovation or progress be made?

    I lay the blame where it belongs - on the stodgy, lame, can’t seem to do anything but sit and smoke stogies W3C.

    I hope WHAT-WG does something useful. And I hope that maybe even browser makers take it upon themselves to further develop CSS and xHTML - because in the parlance of goodfellas - the W3C is dead to me.

    I wouldn’t even care if we ended up with browser wars round #2, like NS 4 vs. IE 4. At least some progress would be made.

    Down with W3C I say. We need a replacement or a better process.

  2. Fernando · 4 years ago

    W3C is not dead, they’re just having issue getting things out there. There are way too many technologies being explored and growing now, getting them all documented and creating rules for them is not an easy task.

  3. Mr. Frustrated · 4 years ago

    I did not say THEY were dead - but dead to ME. Nobody said it was easy. If that’s your excuse, that’s pretty pathetic.

    Meanwhile us developers wallow in the quagmire they have created. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had it with them.

    It’s time for someone else to step up to the plate. I say they’ve had their chance and blown it.

    I’m not silly enough to think anything is going to change though - and that is why I am indeed - Mr. Frustrated.

  4. Chris Bloom · 4 years ago

    A vendor once tried to tell me that the W3C recommendations for HTML were “just recommendations.” This was part of his explanation for why his application spit out HTML with tags like , included multiple head tags and generally was anything but valid, resulting in tons of overhead on our end to reformat. If there is no standard then we are back to browser wars and unlike Mr. F, I do NOT welcome that. Talk about a set back. We need a single standards body to help guide both web content developers and web device developers. Anything else will surely lead to chaos and tag soup ala the ’90s. If the w3c can’t do it then some other body needs to, but we can’t have competing groups issuing different recommendations.

  5. Chris Bloom · 4 years ago

    that should have read “tags like (bracket)image(closebracket)”

  6. Mr. Frustrated · 4 years ago

    On the contrary Chris, I’m talking about actually moving forward - unlike we are now. I’m not saying go back to tag soup - don’t put words in my mouth. I code to “standards.”

    We only need a single standards body because the single standards body is telling us we need a single standards body. Get the problem? They are accountable to NOBODY. So they get nothing done.

    When there were two competing browsers innovating to give us the best experience is when we made our greatest gains in browser technology. It’s time we got some sleeves rolled up again.

    Someone needs to step up and make something happen. It’s not going to be the W3C - and what little work they are actually accomplishing is doing nothing but making heaps of people upset and angry.

    It’s time for a change. It’s time for a change, It’s time for a CHANGE. Don’t know how many different ways I can say it.

  7. Kevin Hale · 4 years ago

    I think everyone can agree with Chris that web development anarchy isn’t desirable by any means. As far as where I stand on the W3C situation, I think the problems, for the most part, are the result of organizational problems. There’s hefty fees to join the consortium, so its interesting to me that they won’t pay the prices needed to keep up the infrastructure.

    I have a feeling that finding qualified people to man the positions is almost impossible. For the most part, they have a nearly impossible (not to mention thankless) task to get the greatest minds to think about the minutae of web development.

    Perhaps they should consider getting some of the leading voices in web design, development and semantics (along with browser developers) and have some people do a major realignment (not to mention redesign) of the entire way they approach their documentation and recommendations.

    An easily accessible blog wouldn’t hurt either.

  8. Daniel · 4 years ago

    I am 20 years old and want to open a surf shop one in california and one in jax beach florida..I have no money and no assests ..HELP?

  9. Marcel · 4 years ago

    The W3C has little to do with the lack of innovation. The ‘BIG’ browser figured it had won the war and stopped innovating. So regardless of the specs the W3C put out, everyone still had to code to the lowest common denominator. Even if W3C got it’s act together you would still end up hoping that the browser devs support the standards, because at the moment they don’t. In the absence of a W3C type organisation, would you really be happy with standards developed on a basis of commercial strategy?

  10. Mr. Frustrated · 4 years ago

    “would you really be happy with standards developed on a basis of commercial strategy?”

    Are you kidding? Absolutely. What is it that you think drives the internet tubes anyway? You think this is all some kind of charity experiment?

    Winning some browser war would not have stopped innovation had the W3C been able to produce material in a timely fashion, material that we as developers could have pushed for, material that open source teams like, Oh…say the FireFox team could have implemented and we could have built test cases on.

    Can you imagine if FF had implemented innovative browser tech that we jumped all over on?

    What happened when “layers” came out? Was that because of some “recommendation”? No, it wasn’t.

    I’ll say it again, the best advances we ever had were made because of the browser wars (competition) and because of commerce. Plain and simple.

  11. Marjolein Katsma · 4 years ago

    Bjoern Hoehrmann is not “leaving the W3C” - please read the whole mail you are linking to.

    Leaving W3C QA Dev. (…) Well, that’s it for me then; more time to work on the CSS and WebAPI specifications (…)

    While his reasons for leaving the QA Dev. are sad enough, it’s clear he’s not leaving the W3C, just one (volunteer) activity.

  12. karl · 4 years ago

    Thanks Marjolein, to make this story correct. People are always inclined to shoot without reading.

    Bjoern is tackling a process issue.

    Jeffrey Z. is tackling a different issue but completely unrelated to Bjoern’s email. See http://www.w3.org/QA/2006/07/a_peaceful_ear.html

    People from the WHATWG are mostly part of the W3C CSS WG and also the WebAPI where they are writing the XMLHttpRequest specification. See http://www.w3.org/TR/2006/WD-XMLHttpRequest-20060619/ and http://www.w3.org/2006/webapi/

    Look at the names in the Acknowledgements section. http://www.w3.org/TR/2006/WD-XMLHttpRequest-20060619/#acknowledgements

  13. Tobias · 4 years ago

    @Mr. Frustrated: You are making it really easy for yourself. Your arguments are shallow anf one-sided. Instead of spending your energy on attacking the others who also have an opinion on this, you should sit down and try to broader your point of view.

    What would happen if W3C failed & broke up is this: The large companies like M$ and Apple will rip the W3C standards apart and won’t leave a chance / some room for any new NonCommercial organisation to come up. Then they’d all announce their own pseudo-standards and implement them in their browsers - trying to overcome the other competitors. Browsers would then move further & further apart from each other - leading to a true HellOnEarth-Scenario for Web-Designers & -Developers.

    M$ has been trying for years to claim ‘standards’ for the Web. And why? Because they thought that they were big enough to do so! Do you really want to give them an official invitation to do this thoroughly? They will not sit down nicely & play with the other kids. In fact, none of them is willing to play nicely with the other.

    The word ‘standard’ will then be as hollow as can be. Everyone will claim to set new standards - which means that those standards are none! Just look at what the guys from Redmont do when tackling with the OpenSource community! Seeing that, I am even afraid of trying to image what they’d do to the work of the W3C!

    A true standardisation takes so much time & effort. And it can only be done by a neutral faction. Therein lies the problem - you’re not allowed to get big money because you might be influenced by it, you’re always sitting between chairs, everybody expects the ‘next big thing’ from you, but nobody supports you because they loath your work as it steals their possibility to rule the market entirely. I wouldn’t want to be a W3C-member - it would drive me mad in 24h. The W3C has the hardest job imaginable - so cut them some slack!

    Last but not least, W3C has already made wonderful plans for the future. Just look at CSS 3! I love them for this! It isn’t their fault that the commercial side (which Mr.Frustrated foolishly claimed to be so bloody superior [I needed to get this one off - Now I feel so much better! ]) takes so long to implement the new standards. I mean, even Mozilla (which I love & support) does not yet support CSS 3 - probably because no other browser does it & thus it wouldn’t make sense anyway. And with IE7 not even completeley supporting CSS 2, this won’t change for another 6 years. That is not the fault of W3C!

    A word for those who still think they can do better: Go there and do it instead of whining here! The W3C will be glad for every helping hand. I know I couldn’t do it better than they do - their task is so incomparibly complicated.

  14. Mr. Frustrated · 4 years ago

    You are nuts if you think the standards would fall apart if the W3C went away (which it won’t). Microsoft and others have a huge stake in standards.

  15. Nate K · 4 years ago

    RE: Tobias

    Well said!

  16. karl · 4 years ago

    Interesting. I made a comment here yesterday and it has not been moderated positively. In the spam box or … ?

  17. Kevin Hale · 4 years ago

    Sorry Karl, didn’t notice it in the Junk Comments folder till just now. It should now be up. The reason it got flagged is because of the number of links you have in there. We had some problems with spam and had to increase the filter potency recently. You should be good now.

  18. karl · 4 years ago

    Many Thanks Kevin.