Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Our Work Here is Done

By Aaron Gustafson | March 1st, 2013 | Filed in WaSP Announcement

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.

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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.

Your Replies

#1 On March 1st, 2013 9:23 am Daniel Morrison replied:

Thanks for you great work, everyone. The web is a much better place today thanks to WaSP.

#2 On March 1st, 2013 10:20 am WaSP Member kblessing replied:

It’s been a pleasure to be part of this team and this community. It’s proven the old adage, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

#3 On March 1st, 2013 10:51 am Craig Saila replied:

It’s hard to overstate how valuable WaSP was to the web (and the digital world as a whole). Thank you for your constant and consistent vigilance and passion during the past decade-and-a-half.

#4 On March 1st, 2013 11:16 am Martin replied:

I thing you’re completely right. Thank you for the great work you’ve done the last 15 years.

The result is phenomenal.

#5 On March 1st, 2013 11:20 am mattur replied:

“When we speak about “standards” for the Web, we mean: Structural Languages – XHTML1.0, XHTML1.1, XML1.0″
— WaSP, Feb 2006.

“When we speak about “standards” for the Web, we mean: Structural Languages – HTML4.01, XHTML1.0, XML1.0″
— WaSP, Mar 2006.

I must have missed the announcement. Oh, there wasn’t one.

#6 On March 1st, 2013 11:24 am Georg Portenkirchner replied:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

#7 On March 1st, 2013 11:26 am Lukas replied:

Thank you for your great job. You made the web (browser) a better place.

#8 On March 1st, 2013 1:02 pm Molly E. Holzschlag replied:

I love you all. To the future!


#9 On March 1st, 2013 1:06 pm Anna replied:

You’ve done a great job to making the web (the world) better, thanks.

#10 On March 1st, 2013 1:15 pm Joe Crawford replied:

I am Spartacus.

#11 On March 1st, 2013 1:17 pm Joe Crawford replied:

In all seriousness, it was my great pleasure to take part in founding this effort.

The web is a better place because we who work the web know we have as much of a say as billion dollar companies about what the web platform is.

#12 On March 1st, 2013 1:48 pm Stephanie (Sullivan) Rewis replied:

It’s been a great honor to be part of this team. It’s a great feeling to know that browser vendors, large companies and developers alike all recognize the necessity of standards. (Now if we could just get mobile on board. ;))

I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved in one of the great projects Aarron mentions above — or to start your own open source project that fills in some of the other gaps. Let’s keep moving the web onward and upward.


#13 On March 1st, 2013 1:56 pm maxw3st replied:

Thanks for all you’ve done, and continue to do through the sites listed above. As a web dev student, your work is invaluable to me. With the plethora of new libraries and the blend of languages that come across Twitter daily, it’s a must to have some centrally organized standards effort.

The college I attend is at the top of the heap in the world of web development programs, but they’re woefully out of date with their curriculum. This makes the work of web standards organizations that much more important.

#14 On March 1st, 2013 2:03 pm Paul Stonier replied:

Congrats and thank you for making my life easier.

#15 On March 1st, 2013 2:04 pm Eric A. Meyer replied:

I offer my deepest bow of respect. Thank you all.

#16 On March 1st, 2013 2:08 pm Matthew Taylor replied:

Thanks, everyone. You made my life as a designer much easier. This project did it’s job well!

#17 On March 1st, 2013 2:08 pm Matthew replied:

Good job people. We’ll take good care of it.

#18 On March 1st, 2013 2:41 pm Chris Ruppel replied:

WaSP was an inspiration to countless designers and developers at the beginning of this century. I’d say your job is done, and was done well :)

#19 On March 1st, 2013 3:25 pm Dario Calonaci replied:

Your group won’t be forgotten.
Thank you for everything

#20 On March 1st, 2013 3:37 pm Morgan replied:

Thanks! I’m so glad to be building web sites the way things turned out, rather than the way things COULD have….

#21 On March 1st, 2013 3:39 pm Terry Casper replied:

As someone who remembers how dire things were when you started, I offer you all a sincere thanks. You changed the world for the better.

#22 On March 1st, 2013 3:43 pm Evan Skuthorpe replied:

Great work guys. Thanks for everything.

#23 On March 1st, 2013 3:49 pm Jon Truelove replied:

WaSP and W3C for the win! Thanks for helping keep “the rules” where they should be: in the hands and minds of the public. I’ve been creating web-based design for over 15 years, and I’ll say that today is the most exciting time in this profession/in my career. Thank you all for your thoughtful work and best of luck moving forward.

#24 On March 1st, 2013 4:13 pm AKMA replied:

I remember the struggles — hard to believe how recent they were, and how long ago. Thanks for your work on all of our behalf.

#25 On March 1st, 2013 4:17 pm Mat Chavez replied:

Quiet heroes. Bravo.

#26 On March 1st, 2013 4:18 pm Hardik Panjwani replied:

There are things that have shifted the paradigm of the human race to a higher plane of existence. The discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, the taming of electricity are a few of the things on the list. It is my belief that one day the internet will earn a place on that list too. Thank you for protecting it.

#27 On March 1st, 2013 4:25 pm Scott Kosman replied:

You guys. I would buy your entire team all of the drinks in the universe if I were able to do so. Thank you so much for the work you’ve done advancing our industry and making things awesome for the last decade and a half.

Cheers to you. *raises glass*

#28 On March 1st, 2013 4:25 pm Andrew Boardman replied:

Everyone who uses and designs for the web has been positively impacted by the incredibly hard work of WaSP. Thank you for all your pushing, cajoling, and advocating for a more open and accessible web.

#29 On March 1st, 2013 4:25 pm RaduM replied:

Words could not describe what you have done for the www, the results of your work if seen by every internet user.

Thank you

#30 On March 1st, 2013 4:27 pm Patrick Lannigan replied:

Thank you everyone for your work over the years. Thanks to you I now have rounded corners in all major browsers! It’s a beautiful day to be a web developer. Thanks again.

#31 On March 1st, 2013 4:43 pm Christian Bundy replied:

Thanks for your contributions to the open web – WaSP has been an incredible part of the history of the internet. It’s been a damned pleasure.

#32 On March 1st, 2013 4:49 pm Michael Overstreet replied:

Bravo! Thank you!

#33 On March 1st, 2013 5:15 pm Michael Ward replied:

You made a difference, a real, perceptible difference. You made an industry proud!

#34 On March 1st, 2013 5:19 pm cantone replied:

I remember when the WaSP project started, and I am smiling at the great contributions you have given the World. And that is not hyperbole.

#35 On March 1st, 2013 5:37 pm Ian Jacobs replied:

Thank you, WaSP for your great work, which has led the Web to a better place, and enlightened W3C. I look forward to working with the community in its future incarnations.


#36 On March 1st, 2013 5:42 pm Jack Auses replied:

Sniff. Thanks so much for 15 years of amazing work.

#37 On March 1st, 2013 5:44 pm Patrick Elward replied:

Thanks for the hard work and for guiding all of us!

#38 On March 1st, 2013 5:48 pm Alex replied:

Thank-you, all. The Internet owes you a debt of gratitude, I’m sure.

#39 On March 1st, 2013 5:59 pm Thomas replied:

Thank you all for your thoughtful work and all the besteht for the future.

#40 On March 1st, 2013 6:09 pm Dale Moore replied:

Thanks for your hard work, WaSP. Without you I wouldn’t be doing what I love for a living today.

#41 On March 1st, 2013 6:36 pm Jeremy Carlson replied:

Thank you so much. Your work has inspired me and enabled my work in so many ways, and has been greatly appreciated by me and countless others.

#42 On March 1st, 2013 6:36 pm Chris replied:

Many, many thanks to all who contributed to the cause.

And’s so good that you are able to declare that your “Work Here is Done!”

#43 On March 1st, 2013 8:11 pm Vitaly Friedman replied:

Thank you. You made a difference.

#44 On March 1st, 2013 9:52 pm dez replied:

You have my gratitude and admiration for your amazing work. This news is bittersweet and my feelings are mixed. But you are right, it’s up to all of us now. To all those WASPers past and present, I salute you!

#45 On March 2nd, 2013 2:01 am Chris Kaminski replied:

Nigh on 15 years ago, a guy named George Olsen sent an email to an Apple web authors mailing list asking if anyone was up for pressuring Netscape and Microsoft to play nice. I said I thought it was tilting at windmills, but I was willing to grab a lance.

Best decision I ever made.

Thanks, all. It’s been fantastic.

#46 On March 2nd, 2013 4:23 am Paolo replied:

You changed web design theory and practice: just thank you all.

#47 On March 2nd, 2013 5:39 am Tobias Horvath replied:

Thank you.

#48 On March 2nd, 2013 6:08 am Tony Kavadias replied:

Umm… your work isn’t quite finished yet—Adobe Flash still exists and is making a mockery of the Web.

While Flash is a completely different and proprietary technology with a different utility and purpose to the Web standards which Flash relies on for Web delivery, it is the only remaining reason why accessibility of content continues to be an enormous problem for users. The presence versus absence of Flash on a user’s preferred platform is what remains the sole contributor to problems relating to information access, excessive consumption of bandwidth and processing resources, and the security of both.

The extraordinary work of the Web Standards Project is still under threat of being undermined thanks to the continued deployment of Adobe Flash Player as an inefficient mechanism for delivering information to users where the use of standards laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium could have been used instead.

“The game’s not over.” –Khan.

#49 On March 2nd, 2013 8:46 am Gridlock replied:

This website is best viewed in any browser, at the screen resolution of your choice.


#50 On March 2nd, 2013 8:59 am Darim replied:

Thanks for all the work you have done to keep the web free and open and standards compliant. But I must disagree with you that the fight is over and that the sites like this are not needed anymore. Increasingly old-fashioned corporations (like Microsoft and Apple) try to close down the web. Mostly by trying to sneak in all kinds of restrictions like HTML5 videos that are trapped in closed, non-free and patent-restricted video formats, instead of making it part of the standard to use only truly free and open formats like Off Theora or WebM. Then there are increasing pressure from those same companies to sneak in DRM (digital restrictions management) into web standards. And there are other tendencies like that which are increasing these days. So I think the fight is still on and free and open web still needs much defending and education of web developers which are unfortunately far from being aware of these threats to free and open internet. So yes, maybe your original goals don’t need to be worked on but there come new threats that still need much work.

#51 On March 2nd, 2013 9:13 am Kurt Krumme replied:

Really, really glad you were here.

#52 On March 2nd, 2013 11:58 am Skyline replied:

How the hell did you get “WaSP” from “Web Standards Project?”

#53 On March 2nd, 2013 10:09 pm Diane Vigil replied:

Surprising, but it’s time, I guess. Thanks for all your work. :)

#54 On March 3rd, 2013 1:26 am Tony Kavadias replied: has a while to go if it is to convince Web developers to adopt the very HTML5 and CSS3 standards that they have been fighting for, which are currently being overshadowed by the use of Adobe Flash and other technologies as unnecessary and obstructive replacements.

This is not a case of incompatible browsers anymore. This is a case of Web developers using the right tools for the job… a case of technology awareness. Adobe Flash is currently the leading cause of information inaccessibility, poor system utilisation, and at times, security, and most often, Flash is being used in places where HTML, CSS and JavaScript could be used for exactly the same tasks purposes with better results.

“The game’s not over.” — Khan.

#55 On March 3rd, 2013 9:04 am Joe the MacTexan replied:

Thanks to all your hard work, terrible tech like ActiveX and AoL are relegated to obscurity where they belong. Although not perfect, the web is now virtually platform independent as it should be and our task lists as developers have been greatly reduced. GREAT JOB!

#56 On March 3rd, 2013 9:35 am Catherine Roy replied:

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Thanks so much for everyone’s contributions towards a better Web for all.

#57 On March 3rd, 2013 10:27 am Larry Kyrala replied:

I’m saddened to see this project close and more-so because in your farewell above you fail to comment on your biggest contribution to stability of the web: ACID compliance testing for browsers. The backbone of any standard is compliance testing (e.g. see Postscript, OpenGL, etc etc.) and while the W3C has an admirable suite of data validators, it has never shown any interest in presentation-layer validation or compliance testing. Your ACID tests literally changed the world. Suddenly, browsers had an objective benchmark against which they could measure presentation-layer standards compliance. No one did that before WaSP and no one has done it since. Perhaps the best site to follow your lead is, however it simply packages the tests that you innovated. IMHO, your work is far from done. Who will lead presentation-layer compliance testing once you are gone?

#58 On March 3rd, 2013 1:18 pm Kent Brewster replied:

Well done, all. So long, and thanks for all the rounded corners! :)

#59 On March 3rd, 2013 6:02 pm Christopher Hart replied:

Thank you very much!

#60 On March 3rd, 2013 8:38 pm Tim Berners-Lee replied:

Well, I’d like to add a massive thank you to everyone who worked on and with and in the WaSP. The pressure developers to stick to the standard, and make everyone’s cake larger (rather than frying to get all of the cake — when it is needed is essential. Great to see such confidence that interop will be the name of the game in the medium future.

Of course — there re other things to watch, including the power of massive governments, massive corporations, not to mention the “government-industrial complex”. So lets all keep an eye out for misbehavior, such as, blocking and spying on the net. There is much to keep track of, and I know that you all will be ready to come together in some form or other whenever the time calls for it.

Thank you for starting WaSP and running it. The world is a better place as a result.


#61 On March 3rd, 2013 10:23 pm sun replied:

Most of us wouldn’t know what to do today without your stellar efforts.


#62 On March 3rd, 2013 11:17 pm Juan replied:

Thanks. I owe all of you a lot!

#63 On March 4th, 2013 9:21 am Simon Griffee replied:

Thank you, WaSP!!

#64 On March 4th, 2013 9:48 am Ben Barber replied:

Cheers and thanks to you all! You made the world a better place.

#65 On March 4th, 2013 11:04 am Moorey replied:

Used to follow A List Apart like a Bible thanks to you guys! Great job!

#66 On March 4th, 2013 11:45 am Tara Windwalker replied:

Thank you for your successful efforts to set standards for Internet accessibility. 15 years of work … wow, the words “thank you” lack what my heart wants to say. Bravo. Well Done. hugs

#67 On March 4th, 2013 2:29 pm Julian Apatu replied:

I salute all the essential and active work of WaSP, the many thoughts and ideas that were forged here and hope that the work continues to push users and businesses towards better understanding of and alignment to open web standards.

#68 On March 4th, 2013 3:51 pm Oussama Bougnouch replied:

Thank you and keep-on working.

#69 On March 4th, 2013 5:10 pm Oskar Boethius Lissheim replied:

Thanks for helping make the internet a level playing field. Dark were the times of the IE Death Star. Bright are the times ahead.

#70 On March 4th, 2013 6:12 pm Andi Smith replied:

Thank you for everything WaSP!

#71 On March 4th, 2013 6:12 pm Euro2cent replied:

Pay no mind to the rotting body of XHTML dumped back of the shed.

#72 On March 4th, 2013 10:58 pm Paul Gobée replied:

The Web is a major step in human history. We, web-developers, and the world are highly indebted to you for making it open and working. We should remain alert that fragmentation doesn’t slip in again and undoes your great work. Thank you!

#73 On March 5th, 2013 5:36 am pip010 replied:

I hate HTML
I hate You
I hate when people hear Internet they think of browsers :(
hat it hate it
and it is old, old old old tech

#74 On March 5th, 2013 1:26 pm Oskar Lindgren replied:

Thank you for makeing the web and keeping the dream alive!

#75 On March 6th, 2013 1:29 am Dan Anderson replied:

This is a really classy way to end a project. Respect.

#76 On March 6th, 2013 2:41 am Dan replied:

You guys made the best browser tests… but will there be an Acid4 test one-day?

#77 On March 6th, 2013 1:20 pm Adam replied:

Thanks for all your hard work over the years! I don’t think there are words to express the gratitude I feel towards WASP and all those groups and individuals who fought for web standards.

#78 On March 6th, 2013 4:48 pm Vacilando replied:

Hats off to everybody who participated in this noble project!

#79 On March 6th, 2013 9:29 pm Will Hacker replied:

Thank you one and all. As a mobile UX designer I know we wouldn’t have the device-agnostic web of today without your efforts. Your contribution to web has been amazing!

#80 On March 7th, 2013 7:31 am Dan replied:

Thank you WaSP for all you did.

* Doffs hat *

#81 On March 7th, 2013 12:01 pm Mik replied:

Thanks for everything guys. Has been a blast – TBH I’m still not the worlds best coder but if the browser wars had continued I’d be even worse than I am these days. Have fun and take care.

#82 On March 8th, 2013 4:51 am Sam Cavender replied:

Having built sites since the late 90s, I can honestly say the impact of the noble W3C/wasp initiatives over the years has been profound.

Part of me misses trying to get flash to control java applets in separate framesets … but not a big part of me :)

#83 On March 9th, 2013 5:27 pm Carry2Web replied:

Thank you WaSP team for seeing and repairing the cracks and holding the web together before it could break!

#84 On March 12th, 2013 9:21 pm Zack replied:

Thank you for everything.

#85 On March 22nd, 2013 3:18 am mahemud desai replied:


#86 On March 22nd, 2013 1:00 pm mark replied:

Great work. Very informative!

#87 On March 25th, 2013 9:18 pm Matthew Edward replied:

Thank you for all the work that has helped give Web developers–and users–a more stable playground.

#88 On March 26th, 2013 7:26 am Webtex replied:

Thank you guys! Your job is beyond all praise!

#89 On March 27th, 2013 7:19 am Coherent Solutions replied:

Thanks for your work. It deserves respect!

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