Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Adobe Task Force

The WaSP Adobe Task Force (formerly Dreamweaver Task Force) was created in 2001 to accomplish two tasks of vital importance:

  1. To work with Macromedia’s engineers to improve the standards compliance and accessibility of web pages produced with Macromedia Dreamweaver, the market-leading professional visual web editor and development tool. Detailed objectives are listed below. This part of the group’s mission was largely fulfilled with the release in May 2002 of Dreamweaver MX, though the Task Force will continue to work with Macromedia as the company fine-tunes subsequent versions of its product.
  2. To communicate effectively within the online Dreamweaver community, raising awareness of web standards and helping others discover how their tools can be used to create standards-compliant, accessible sites. This work will continue indefinitely and is a key component of WaSP’s developer education outreach program.

Rachel Andrew and Drew McLellan have spearheaded both efforts, interfacing with Dori Smith, Tom Negrino, and Jeffrey Zeldman. Rachel and Drew were chosen because of their knowledge of web standards and accessibility, their esteemed positions within the Dreamweaver community, and because they said yes. They put in a phenomenal amount of work on behalf of the design and development community, as did Macromedia’s engineers, whose responsiveness to the Dreamweaver Task Force and its objectives has been remarkably open and accepting.

Listed below, exactly as they were originally written, are the objectives that guided the Task Force’s work with Macromedia’s engineers. These are followed by an assessment of the standards compliance and accessibility of Dreamweaver MX and a short list of improvements we hope to see in future versions.

Initial Objectives

The WaSP Dreamweaver Task Force has set out a number of primary objectives. These are the main, fundamental points Dreamweaver should attain in order to be a useful tool for creating standards-compliant websites:

Primary Objectives

  • Dreamweaver should produce valid mark-up “out of the box.”
  • Dreamweaver should allow the choice between XHTML and HTML versions, inserting a valid DTD for each choice.
  • Dreamweaver should respect a document’s DTD, and produce markup and code in accordance with it.
  • Dreamweaver should enable users to easily create web documents accessible to all.
  • Dreamweaver should render CSS2 to a good level of accuracy, so that pages laid out with CSS can be worked on within the Dreamweaver visual environment.
  • Dreamweaver should not corrupt valid CSS layouts by inserting inline styling without the user’s consent.
  • Dreamweaver users should feel confident that their Dreamweaver-created pages will validate and have a high level of accessibility.

The Task Force believes that a designer should be able to use Dreamweaver to create valid hypertext documents by default. Additionally, Dreamweaver should, at the very least, properly render pages laid out with CSS, if not create those layouts from within the tool. Importantly, Dreamweaver should not distress imported CSS layouts created in other tools or by hand.

The WaSP Dreamweaver Task Force has an additional list of objectives, secondary to those listed above. These lie somewhere between “must-have” and “wish list:”

Secondary Objectives

  • Dreamweaver should produce clean, tidy markup.
  • Dreamweaver should, or should provide the mechanisms for, third-party extensions to respect the document’s DTD and insert markup accordingly.
  • Dreamweaver should provide clear mechanisms for third-party extension developers, enabling them to develop extensions that will not corrupt the validity or usefulness of a Dreamweaver user’s page. This applies for everything from markup validity through following accessibility settings.
  • The default settings in Dreamweaver should encourage the use of accessibility features and more up-to-date standards such as XHTML and CSS.
  • Dreamweaver should not encourage the use of deprecated tags or attributes by its default settings or interface design.

Working with the Dreamweaver Community

An important part of the Task Force’s work is to be active within the very strong community of Dreamweaver users, promoting web standards and providing education in their use. Activities include:

  • Introducing web standards to those who may be taking their first steps into web development, particularly those coming from a more design-based background.
  • While remaining on-topic and within the parameters of the Macromedia news groups, to answer posts by recommending methods that comply with web standards, and explaining the problems of sticking with deprecated markup and code.
  • Creating web tutorials for Dreamweaver users, showing how to employ web standards within Dreamweaver in a thoroughly practical way.
  • Developing resources to assist Dreamweaver users in getting the most out of Dreamweaver by creating compliant and accessible web pages.

Release of Macromedia Dreamweaver MX

Macromedia released Dreamweaver MX in May 2002, offering vastly improved standards compliance and accessibility over previous versions. On the following page, The WaSP’s Dreamweaver Task Force assesses the product’s compliance with web standards and discusses a few areas that might be improved in future releases.

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.

Recent Task Force Buzz

Announcing the Adobe Task Force

By Stephanie (Sullivan) Rewis | March 10th, 2008

Today WaSP announced that the Dreamweaver Task Force will be renamed the Adobe Task Force to reflect a widened scope.

The Web Standards Project Dreamweaver Task Force was created in 2001 to accomplish two tasks: to work with Macromedia (later Adobe) to improve the standards compliance and accessibility of Web pages produced with Dreamweaver and to communicate effectively within the online Dreamweaver community. Having successfully completed its initial goals, WaSP announces that the Dreamweaver Task Force will be renamed the Adobe Task Force to reflect a widened scope. The Adobe Task Force will collaborate with Adobe on all of the company’s products that output code or content to the Web, and will continue to advocate compliance with Web Standards and accessibility guidelines by those who use Adobe’s products to design and build Web sites and applications. Read the press release to learn more.

More Buzz articles

Title Date
Adobe’s Spry Framework for AJAX May 12th, 2006
Microformat Extensions for Dreamweaver March 30th, 2006
Build Your Own Standards Compliant Website Using Dreamweaver 8 September 28th, 2005
DWTF Announces New Members August 24th, 2005

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All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

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