Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Put on your clogs and dance, because Happy Clog wants you to. Happy Clog, you say? Isn’t that Zeldman’s design company? No, no my friends. That would be Happy Cog.

Happy Clog is the pun-ny name coined for a new standards group emerging in the Netherlands. The goal of the group is not only to unite Dutch standards-based designers and developers, but to provide social outreach to anyone interested in standards – and more.

Faruk Ates of and founder of the group says that Happy Clog has several goals in mind, not the least of which is to create a conference most likely to be held in Amsterdam. While still in the early planning stages, Ates revealed some of the group’s ideas as to how and why this conference will stand out:

“We have three target audiences in mind for the conference – all separate groups but closely related ones: business executives (those who decide), web developers (those who make) and college professors (those who teach).”

The conference would be held in English, with speakers from abroad as well as local to the Netherlands, much like the model first created by the Web Essentials conference in Syndey, and expanded upon by @media in London.

Ates describes ideas to ensure that there’s plenty of daytime networking and birds-of-a-feather sessions, something that is often missing from events yet is frequently cited as the most valuable part of a conference experience:

“One suggestion for that is to have parallel sessions, two at a time so that the third group can mingle and ask questions informally over some coffee and cake.”

Happy Clog’s current membership features accomplished standards developers and designers including Anne Van Kesteren, Egor Kloos, Mark Wubben, Rob Mientjes and WaSP DOM Scripting Task Force’s own Peter-Paul Koch.

Happy Clog is not the first national group to emerge out of standards. The Web Standards Group is doing great work in Australia with outreach to the rest of the world via its interviews, workshops and related resources. In Japan, Kazuhito Kidachi has been working tirelessly to promote Web standards and reports that there are hundreds of members signed up to his Web standards community on the mixi social networking site.

And of course there’s the Brit Pack who not only promote standards in Great Britain, but invaded the U.S. this year when significant representation came to SXSW and later extended its reach and inspiration to the world via @media2005.

The emergence of such groups with strong national identities yet a real desire to reach out and interact with other nations is a fascinating and, to my way of thinking, very powerful way of preserving and promoting national identity on a global scale. Transcending the standards issues, initiatives of this kind are truly serving to remind us that it is the World Wide Web after all.

[This entry cross-posted to to take your comments and trackbacks].

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