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Buzz Archives for September 2003

Standards Benefit Business

New or old, reading or reviewing the benefits of using standards for business, developers/designers, and users may give many extra incentives or ideas about how to help promote change or learn why it is important. On September 18, 2003 Jeffrey Veen offered up an essay The Business Value of ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | Filed in Web Standards (general)

Client-side XSLT is bad for accessibility

Ian Hickson, who was a standards guru before you were a standards newbie, talks about the problems with client-side XSLT. This is a technique which is supposedly supported by all modern browsers -- at least, all modern graphical browsers. But in this case, there is no fallback provided ...

By Mark Pilgrim | Filed in Web Standards (general)

You Mean There’s More to Life than Web Standards?

Shock, horror! Some people out there think that 'Web Standards' are not the single most important thing to worry about when crafting a web page or site. Well, I can certainly see the argument here: Web standards can help, and go hand-in-hand with everything else that makes a site ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Web Standards (general)

TBL on the Future of the Web

If you missed Tim Berners-Lee's lecture to the Royal Society, The Future of the World Wide Web, that was webcast earlier this week, it's now available on demand. (Requires RealPlayer plug-in.) He starts out by examining how we got to where we are today and then moves on to look ...

By Porter Glendinning | Filed in Web Standards (general)

A table, s’il vous plaît

Tables have received so much bad press that some people think they're completely out. Which, of course, is true for last centurie's hodgepodge of spacer-gif-sliced-images-dozens-of-nested-tables nonsense.But there is a perfectly good use for them, too: Tabular data! And if you want to make your tabular data tables not only standards ...

By Matthias Gutfeldt | Filed in HTML/XHTML

Just Some Stuff About Web Standards

This is one of those 'clearing out your bookmarks/favourites' type posts - a selection of useful articles spotted over the last few days: CSS-Based Design - Jeremy Keith of Adactio puts up his notes from the Skillswap talk he gave back in March (better late than never, and it's ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Web Standards (general)

ISO Plans Could Harm Web

While everyone is trying to take in the implications of the Eolas vs Microsoft case, there are other clouds forming on the horizon that could either develop into a full-blown hurricane or dissipate quietly. Over-dramatic? Only time will tell. The cause of this storm - a tentative proposal from the ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Legal, Web Standards (general)

Web Standards Are Not Web Accessibility

In response to the recent BBC accessibility BUZZ, Isofaro writes: “To meet level A priority does not require a completely valid website, and does not require CSS for layout.” All true. The WasP on BBC Accessibility critique is very thorough and worth a read as it delves more deeply into the ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in Accessibility

More Booty Than You Can Shake a Cutlass At

Arrrrr! There's new booty for all you land-lubbin' accessibility types out there. Old Silver Beard 'Dodgydom' accepted a challenge and with a toot on his hornpipe announced his victory. Avast, me beauties! Here be favelets! These lovelies will tell when your page has form elements that are missing <label> tags. ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Accessibility

A Closed Mouth Gathers No WaSPs: BBC Conformance Problems

The scrutiny began earlier today when a fellow WaSP posted the URL to a BBC article, Website owners face prosecution. The article discusses how the Royal National Institute for the Blind is beginning to crack down on Web sites not conforming to accessibility guidelines as described by the DDA and ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in Accessibility

Where’s the Money, Honey?

Today over at Adaptive Path Jeff Veen makes the case for converting to standards compliant, semantically expressive site production. Many points are left out because of the need for brevity, but at the close of the essay Veen makes an important point: when design and development communities can quantify a ...

By Ben Henick | Filed in Web Standards (general)

Why Zilla, You Are Blossoming

When Watchfire bought out the industry-standard accessibility checker, Bobby, a few notable things happened: The online service was restricted such that only a small number of validation tests could be performed online by any given user within a certain timeframe The free downloadable application (Bobby 3.2) was removed ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Accessibility

When is a List Not a List?

When it's a horizontal navigation strip, perhaps? The Listamatic is a collection of examples of real-world CSS adaptations of the unordered list (<ul>) that demonstrate just how powerful the concept of separating presentation from content can be. Want to see a horizontal navigation scheme with rollover effects? Or maybe a more ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in CSS, HTML/XHTML

Skip Link Test Suite and Patent Greed

If you've been following the news about hiding skip links using the CSS declarations display: none or visibility: hidden, you'll know that screen readers may or may not be picking up the links. If you have a screen reader, you'll want to see (and hear) the test suite What do ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in Accessibility

Paging Media

As many WaSP readers are aware, CSS3 is modularized. Part of the benefit of this is that each module can be worked on independently, placing focus on the development of those options that are proving especially useful without having to revise an entire draft. This week, the W3C announced an update ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in CSS

Bonza! Standards-based Training for Free?

There's good news from Bondi Beach in Australia, where the lucky people at Westciv have their office. Summer's not yet upon the residents of New South Wales, so Westciv have shut themselves in an office to come up with a new set of standards-based web training (an issue that is close ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Training

Screenreader Invisibility

Bob Easton reports that the popular method of hiding accessibility-friendly "skip navigation" links from visual browsers also hides them from many screenreaders.Oh bloody hell.From a technical point of view, those screenreaders actually get it half right: display indeed applies to all media; but visibility applies to visual media only. Bob ...

By Matthias Gutfeldt | Filed in Accessibility

Gearing up: a few odds and ends

Those of you who have an interest in RDF as a W3C-sponsored complement to RSS and Echo should note that on Friday the W3C released six Working Drafts related to RDF. Elsewhere, tomorrow and Tuesday the WaSP’s Molly Holzschlag will make a number of standards-focussed presentations at Seybold SF, and will ...

By Ben Henick | Filed in Web Standards (general)

Revisiting XHTML

Ever since XHTML was introduced in January of 2000, arguments as to its use and rationale have been flung about in numerous XML, markup, and Web design forums and lists. Publishing our recent WaSP coverage on serving XHTML with the proper MIME type helped stir up the old pot once ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in HTML/XHTML, W3C/Standards Documentation

Serving up the Right MIME Type

Q: Which MIME type should XHTML be served with? A: The short answer is application/xhtml+xml, of course. But this MIME type isn't recognized by a number of user agents, Internet Explorer included. So, what to do? In our long-awaited return to the WaSP Asks the W3C  series, we ask ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | Filed in WaSP Asks the W3C

Device independence and its challenges

The W3C Device Independence Working Group has published two new Working Group Notes: Device Independence Principles describes Web access "anytime and anyhow" from user, authoring and delivery perspectives. Authoring Challenges for Device Independence are considerations and implications for building universally accessible Web content and applications.

By Steph Troeth | Filed in Web Standards (general)


Euroaccessibilty has updated its Web site with more information about its mission. EA has been founded to avoid a risk of fragmentation in Europe and to answer demands from governmental organisations. Apparently, there is a risk that the W3C/WAI guidelines may be promoted differently in different countries.

By Meryl K. Evans | Filed in Accessibility

Evaluating for Accessibility

How do we know if our sites are accessible? Even if we follow Standards and Guidelines for Markup and Accessibility websites may still be inaccessible to some users. Automated checks, following guidelines, and using specific applications have limitations. Lynx is a great tool to evaluate the accessibility of content delivery ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | Filed in Accessibility

ReUSEIT Contest

ReUSEIT is a contest for designers and coders to create a redesign of Jakob Nielsen's that must use valid tableless XHTML 1.0, CSS, and it must meet WAI Accessibility level 1. JavaScript, GIF, JPG and PNG images may be used. Eric Meyer's quote says it all, "Design Eye for ...

By Meryl K. Evans | Filed in CSS, Design

A new set of JAWS

Well, with all this talk of free copies of JAWS, it seems timely that today Freedom Scientific are offering a public beta of JAWS 5.0. Correction - they were offering a free download, but because of some issues that people reported Freedom Scientific "made the decision to postpone the public ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Accessibility

New Browser Updates Announced

New versions of Mozilla and Opera Web browsers have been announced by the open-source project and by Oslo-based Opera Software ASA, respectively. For Mozilla's part it was another beta release - version 1.5 and among the new features are a spellchecker for MailNews and Composer an overhaul ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Browsers

New Accessibility Resource from RNIB

The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) in the UK has launched a set of new accessibility information pages on its site today. The Web Access Centre was developed with the support of Standard Life who also support the RNIB's 'See It Right' campaign. Sections in the site include: ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Accessibility

Who Needs JAWS?

So, web developers need to get a copy of JAWS to know that their web site sounds right? As covered in a previous post, this is not necessarily the case (although it is undoubtedly a 'nice-to-have'). As Mark points out, we should develop to standards, not to specific technology (otherwise ...

By Ian Lloyd | Filed in Accessibility

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

Recent Buzz

Our Work Here is Done

By Aaron Gustafson | March 1st, 2013

Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality.

When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible.

Realizing that this fragmentation would inevitably drive up the cost of building websites and ran the risk of denying users access to content and services they needed, Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman co-founded WaSP and rallied an amazing group of web designers and developers to help them push back. The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

In 2001, with the browser wars largely over, WaSP began to shift its focus. While some members continued to work with browser vendors on improving their standards support, others began working closely with software makers like Macromedia to improve the quality of code being authored in tools such as Dreamweaver. And others began the hard slog of educating web designers and developers about the importance of using web standards, culminating in the creation of WaSP InterAct, a web curriculum framework which is now overseen by the W3C.

Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.

Many (if not all) of us are continuing to work in the world of web standards, but our work is now largely outside the umbrella of WaSP. If you are interested in continuing to work on web standards-related projects along with us, we humbly suggest you follow these projects:

  • A List Apart – The magazine “for people who make websites” is run by WaSP founder Jeffrey Zeldman and is a consistent source of forward-thinking articles and tutorials.
  • HTML5 Doctor – A solid resource and discussion forum on all things HTML5, brought to you by Bruce Lawson and his team.
  • W3C Community Groups – If you have a passion for a specific web technology, you can help make it better by participating in one (or more) community groups. In particular, you might be interested in one of these: Core Mobile Web Platform, Responsive Images, Web Education, and Web Media Text Tracks.
  • – A fantastic web standards resource, providing up-to-date documentation, Q&As, tutorials & more. Chris Mills, Doug Schepers, and a number of other standards advocates are involved in this project.
  • Web Standards Sherpa – An educational resource founded by WaSP which continues to operate under the leadership of Chris Casciano, Virginia DeBolt, Aaron Gustafson, and Emily Lewis.
  • Web Standards + Small Business – An outreach project started by WaSP that educates small businesses about why they should care about web standards. This project is overseen by Aaron Gustafson.

The job’s not over, but instead of being the work of a small activist group, it’s a job for tens of thousands of developers who care about ensuring that the web remains a free, open, interoperable, and accessible competitor to native apps and closed eco-systems. It’s your job now, and we look forward to working with you, and wish you much success.

Nota bene: In the near future, we will be making a permanent, static archive of and some of our other resources like WaSP Interact to preserve them as a resource and to provide a record of our 15-year mission to improve the web.
Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth contributed to this post.

Filed in WaSP Announcement | Comments (89)

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The Sherpas are Here Aaron Gustafson

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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