Standards. Standards. Burp.

I have been implementing some Web Services on WebSphere DataPower and it is almost a breeze in most cases, with the majority of the development time spent in coding the XSLs for transformation and the rest configuring and setting up appropriate error handling mechanisms. Even the binary to XML, XML to binary transformations can be simplified using tools such as WebSphere Transformation Extender or Contivo’s Analyst. All of these just leave you in a state of disjoint harmony, you absolutely like the fact that life’s made easy for you, while at the same time cringe on knowing that if you had done it by yourself, you would have learnt two(or a million) more new things today! We shall take that up for some other day, coming to standards now.

Standards and Web Browsers will definitely be remembered for a long long time to come. I was just reading this entry on Joel Spolsky’s blog on how the developers of IE8 are mulling over strict standards settings or to allow for default IE7 style behaviour which is not that strict when it comes to standards.

If you are a web developer, you must admit that we are all sick of trying to write code to make sites look as close as possible to being similar on all browsers. And with IE being IE(barring the recent move towards ‘standards’ mode), a lot of different hacks needed to be put in place just to get the same look and feel. Let alone JavaScript hacks. Now, with pages numbering in billions all over the Internet, when people go strict all of a sudden when it comes to standards, it really will get a good beating! Sites working previously might not even display! Whew! And as Joel rightly puts it in his post, developers are also to blame for coding code without giving any forethought if their code would actually be standards compliant or not(including me). I have done a lot of CSS and JavaScript coding over the past few months, but each time, barring for a few tests, I really do not do much to see if the code is really standards compliant. Partly since the applications that I built were not for public use and the target audience was well covered in terms of configuration since all of the apps were internal and mostly because I am sick of it. I have had enough searching Google for each and every hack to make a part of the page work as intended in IE, Firefox and Opera.

The list of hacks can become endless, but if you really want to have the cake and eat it too, well.. Never mind. We can probably wait for the next version of HTML, and probably start coding, ‘strictly’ adhering to standards, with the version tag telling all about it, just as all the others put forth, but ultimately, the major responsibility lies with the developer who is coding the pages in the first place, like you me and yeah all of us.