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Weblog Entry

Bzzzzt.

October 26, 2003
Web Standards Project

I’ll skip the really bad entomological puns then, yes?

Ethan Marcotte and I have become the two newest members of the Web Standards Project.

WaSP is “a grassroots coalition fighting for standards that ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.” For a more practical look at what this means, consider:

Many books on web development still teach outdated methods, and many practitioners take pride in delivering sites that look and work exactly the same in compliant and non-compliant browsers alike, at the cost of accessibility, long-term viability, or forward compatibility. Others develop proprietary code that works only in a handful of popular browsers.

Thus one of WaSP’s primary goals is to provide educational resources that can help our peers learn standards-compliant methods that are in their interest and that of their clients and site users.

WaSP was originally founded in 1998 to encourage browser makers to use and promote core web standards; by the year 2001 it had become emminently clear that they had met their goal. The problem WaSP addresses today is developers coding for the browsers of yesterday, through habit or ignorance.

Today’s WaSP exists to inform, encourage, and even inspire developers and designers to use what’s at their disposal, to create a better web for us all. It’s an exciting time, and a great group of people. I’m proud to be a part of this.

Here’s to the web of 2004!


Reader Comments

Seamus says:
October 26, 04h

Congratulations.

Sian says:
October 26, 05h

Congrats! 2004 and beyond is more appropriate I think. It’s gonna float your boat *grin*

Lach says:
October 26, 06h

Congratulations, Dave. Certainly a deserved place, considering the evangelism the zen garden has already been doing.

sergio says:
October 26, 08h

Congratulations Dave! I used to be one of those developers. Unaware of standards and still treating tables like the swiss army knife of web development, until I saw the CSS Zen Garden. It opened up a whole new perspective for me (“mmhh… perhaps this CSS thing is worth looking into after all”).

Do you have any plans for starting your new evangelizing efforts?

5
michael says:
October 26, 08h

Congratulations, Dave. You’ll be hobnobbing with Zeldman in no time.

craig says:
October 26, 09h

cool. that is awesome.

vlad says:
October 26, 09h

congrats, you are definitely one of the most appropriate people for this position that i can think of.

thank you for your weblog posts, thank you for the zen garden, and thank you for redesigning this site in xhtml/css from tables and making it all the better with it.

October 26, 09h

Good show Dave! This sounds like a wonderful opportunity!

Evan says:
October 26, 11h

Sheesh, what took them so long? :) Congratulations, Dave – can’t think of a better choice for the job.

zlog says:
October 26, 11h

Congratulations Dave!

I hope you keep up all the good work you have been doing.

October 27, 01h

Congrats, nice one Dave :)

October 27, 01h

good stuff, david :)

Jon Hicks says:
October 27, 03h

Congratulations Dave - very well deserved.

You don’t have to wear any kind of special stripey costume do you?

October 27, 05h

Good to see you joining Wasps.
I’m very much looking forward to your input in the project.

Keep up the good work!

Ray Henry says:
October 27, 05h

Congrats Dave! Definitely a great addition to the team.

Dan R. says:
October 27, 05h

Congrats Dave, you make a fine addition to the WaSP!

Many terrific things have come about because of the Zen Garden, and now that you hold a more “official” position of sorts, I’m sure the industry will benefit even more from your brain :-)

web says:
October 27, 06h

Congratulations.

huphtur says:
October 27, 06h

Here is a WaSP suggestion: how about a recommendation to mellow out on the over abuse of the acronym tag?

The only pages that really use them are produced for fellow “web designers”. And it’s not like we don’t know what XHTML, CSS etc stands for. If I really needed to find out, I would ‘google’. Plus, it adds to the page file size.

Or am I completely out of line here and is there something I don’t know about? Do screen readers use the acronym tags?

October 27, 07h

Sweet. Now you’ve got to come to SXSW for sure. CSS Zen Garden Creator, Contributing Author, WaSP Member… You résumé is looking better and better. Congratulations!

AcjBizar says:
October 27, 07h

Congratulations!


mezzoblue: Leading The Web to Its Prettiest Potential. :)

October 27, 07h

Huphtur, yes. Screen readers can use the acronym tags, but you’re right to think they are being abused. The recommednations say to expand abbreviations the first time they occur in a page, not every time they occur. Using each once on a page would count as “mellowing out” to me.

Then again, with a CMS like Movable Type, sometimes the abbreviations could be in multiple posts on the same page (homepage), but necessary because the posts have individual pages where each abbreviation expansion would be unique.

Dave S. says:
October 27, 08h

Thanks all for the great encouragement!

Sergio - glad the Zen Garden has had that effect. I have a few ideas in mind I’ll have to formulate over the next few days. I’m considering a WaSP asks the W3C on a particularly thorny issue. Nothing like stirring up the pot the first week on the job!

huphtur - Interesting you’d call that abuse; I would deem it exuberance. Using abbr/acronym is a best practice, and actually is required by WCAG: http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/WD-WCAG20-20030624/#acronym-abbr-def

It’s tempting to think that everyone who reads a geek site like this has the same knowledge level as you; but it’s wrong. People of all skill levels and all disciplines on the web have written me. I can’t make assumptions about who knows what, because most of the time I’d be wrong.

When I cruise the sites of prominent coders, for example, I frequently get trapped in acronym hell. Luckily some are considerate enough to provide titles. It really helps.

Dave S. says:
October 27, 08h

James - the spec does say that, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s abuse if you expand every one. Nevertheless, this site only expands the first instance of an initialism/acronym in a piece of text; each comment expands individually, as does each post. But they only expand one definition per. I think this is just a limit of Movable Type, or at the very least, my filters.

Justin says:
October 27, 08h

Congratulations Dave! I’m really happy for you, and happy for the community as a whole. So many people have benefited from the work you’ve done, and will continue to do so. Thanks for setting a great example

jon says:
October 27, 08h

congratulations. man. i just assumed that you were always down with the WaSP folk. now i will pay more attention. dave is my daddy.

j.

markku says:
October 27, 09h

Congratulations Dave!

Dris says:
October 27, 09h

Congratulations indeed! Failed to find a good synonym…

Anyways, you’re the man for the job, that we know for sure. Keep up the great work!

Keith says:
October 27, 09h

Great news Dave. Congrats!

As far as the acronym thing goes, I think you bring up a great point Dave. There are quite a few newbies, etc. that read your site and others and frankly I think all too often Web standards are perceived as some sort of special club that you have to have reached a certain level of know-how to belong to.

We need to keep in mind that there are lots and lots of folks out there who very little to no experience with Web standards. There needs to be an effort to communicate with those people in such a way that they feel included and get them excited about standards. Things like acronyms can help.

huphtur says:
October 27, 10h

I’m not too sure if it will really help the newbie: Will they understand what CSS is when it says “Cascading Style Sheets”? It still doesnt explain what it really is. Plus a newbie might be confused by a “link that doesnt work”.

(Sorry to take your WaSP festivities off topic here Dave, congrats on that!)

Dave S. says:
October 27, 10h

One last poke at the topic then, and we’ll let it rest - the point of expanding an acronym is to tell people what it stands for, not what it means.

Imagine if you had to wrap a more contextual layer around “Cascading Style Sheets” every time you used it in its entirety that explains what they are with links to the spec and other appropriate documentation. Perhaps software should be built that does this (MS Smart Tags anyone?) but the document author shouldn’t be on the hook for every one.

So why are authors on the hook for abbreviations? Shouldn’t software just take care of that? Arguably yes, but initialisms/acronyms can be ambiguous. Does CSS mean “Cascading Style Sheets”, is it a reference to the DVD encoding scheme that DeCSS obliterated a few years ago, or is it The College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota?

But any further discussion should probably be taken to the appropriate W3 mailing list. I’m just interpreting the spec; we’d get better answers from those who crafted it.

Isofarro says:
October 28, 02h

Congrats on joining WaSP. For some odd reason I too had previously believed you were already a part of WaSP - probably mistaken identity. Its good to see a lot of fresh new blood (and talent) joining the coalition.

Marc says:
November 03, 09h

Nice work. Everyone knows you deserve it.

Don’t like to spoil the party but your favicon isn’t there…

I wouldn’t mention it but it makes the CSS sites section of my bookmarks look just wrong…