When in Indonesia Bruce Lawson, co-lead of the Accessibility Task Force, got the opportunity to interview Widianto Nugroho from Institut Teknologi Bandung. What follows is the transcript of their chat as well as links to useful resources for anyone interested in web standards in Indonesia.
Take it away Bruce!
I was recently lucky enough to travel around some universities in Indonesia, lecturing on emerging web standards as part of an Opera University Tour. In Indonesia, web standards are not widespread although interest is growing. One group who are really on the ball are the team behind the website of Institut Teknologi Bandung, a technology institute who hosted a lecture. I spoke to one of the team, Widianto Nugroho about his work, and standards in the world’s third most populous country.
How big is the ITB web team?
Our team consists of five people, two web designers, and three programmers. We are responsible for development of web application of the ITB website as well as maintaining its day-to-day operation. Websites of other sub-units (faculties, schools, programs, offices, etc.) are run by each unit’s webmasters/admins. We work with other teams, such as the reporter team that is responsible for the content, and sys admin team that responsible for running the servers.
When and why did you decide to use web standards?
Tableless layout was implemented in 2004. Before that, we still used tables for layout purposes due to the lack of browser support before that time, but used valid tags and a proper doctype. We use web standards because:
- we want our web site to be accessible with any browser. During the browser wars, we decided that this was the right direction for developing our site.
- we need interoperability in our information system. There are many applications developed by many teams. The ITB main website is just one of those applications.
Did you meet your goals by using the standards?
Yes. standards make our web works better in any browser, and they give us a good foundation for developing our website in the future.
What is the hardest part about trying to use standards?
It is hard, trying to use standards in the beginning. After that, our job became a lot more easier with standards; we can make any improvement more easily.
Do you have any connection with the W3C?
No, not yet, but my team has proposed ITB to join W3C in the next year. I hope ITB can participate in the development of standards, especially for web technologies for developing countries.
Looking more broadly, how wide-spread are standards in Indonesia? Why? What could be done to encourage use of standards?
I don’t know exactly, but some of web designers/developers and blogger activists that I know are very concerned about web standards. What could be done is through education and workshops about why web standards are important.
What are the biggest challenges facing the web in Indonesia today?
The biggest challenges in my opinion are:
- the habit of developers, especially those who come from pre-tableless era.
- there are no government regulations relating to the technical implementation of the web, such as regulation for governmental websites. The government policy that relates to the IT area is legislation called Undang-undang tentang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik or the Law Information and Electronic Transactions, which does not cover web standards, browser compatibility or accessibility issues.
Are web standards taught in schools, universities and other places of education?
No. In secondary school level, there is a vocational type of school that specializes in Informatics/Computer Science (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan Informatika/SMK Informatika) where web design and development are taught. However, the content of the curriculum in this level is more concentrated on the Web in general, how to build it, and make use of the available tools/software.
The educational system currently employed in primary and secondary schools in Indonesia is decentralized in nature. With this system each educational unit (school) can tailor their own curriculum based on their localities, needs, etc. Hence, the implementation of the web design/development curriculum can be different from one school to another. It is similar to the higher education system; for example, in the Informatics Program here at ITB there is no course about web standards, neither is there in our Visual Communication Design Program.
In other places, most of the courses relate to the tools/software, programming languages and databases such as PHP/MySQL, or to particular platform such as .NET.
How aware is the average web designer about web standards and, if not, why not?
I believe that awareness of web standards is growing among web designers in Indonesia. However, I can’t yet say that all of the designers are using web standards properly. Some designers are submitting their work to CSS showcase such us the CSSmania.com, etc. This situation is supported by significant contributions by some individuals who promote web standards through blogs, mailing lists and forums.
Are there many resources in Bahasa Indonesian?
There are some resources:
- Massive Lab Forum massivelab.com (design in general)
- Teknologia @googlegroups (information technology in general)
- WebPM @yahoogroups (practicing web designers/developers)
- WordPress Indonesia @googlegroups
- Drupal Indonesia @drupal.org
Who are the influential bloggers?
Influential bloggers that I know:
A huge thank you from WaSP and for taking the time to be interviewed, and for carrying the web standards torch in Indonesia!
- #1 On February 23rd, 2009 9:47 am