Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

WaSP Expanding Scope of Its Collaboration with Adobe to Advance Web Standards

Released: 10 March 2008 | Author: Stephanie Sullivan on behalf of the Web Standards Project

Having successfully completed its initial goals for assisting Adobe’s Dreamweaver team in supporting Web standards, the Web Standards Project’s Dreamweaver Task Force will be renamed the Adobe Task Force to reflect its 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.

Founded in 1998, the Web Standards Project (WaSP) has been the most effective and influential collective voice championing standards on the Web, working with browser companies and makers of authoring tools, as well as Web designers and developers around the world.

Today, Adobe Dreamweaver boasts the largest installed WYSIWYG tool in the industry. The Dreamweaver Task Force (DWTF) has been working with Adobe (originally Macromedia) since Dreamweaver MX. When the original Dreamweaver Task Force was created in 2001, its main aim was,

[...] 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 Task Force’s other goals included working within the very active Dreamweaver community, providing materials and promoting Web standards among their peers.

The DWTF, spearheaded by Rachel Andrew and Drew McLellan, worked closely with Macromedia for the release of Dreamweaver MX in 2002, and a report on the final product is available on the WaSP website at Subsequent releases have continued to improve the product’s ability to create standards-compliant documents, and Task Force members have been involved in the Beta process for every version of Dreamweaver since the Task Force’s inception.

“I’ve been working with Macromedia, and now Adobe, on Dreamweaver since Dreamweaver MX2004,” said Stephanie Sullivan, current lead of the Adobe Task Force. “Quite honestly, the product managers and engineers have been a dream to work with. They’re highly responsive to our input–even when it’s criticism — whether turning accessibility preferences on by default, consistently moving the Design View rendering towards standards, or including heavily commented CSS layouts as standards-based quick starts for Web pages. They share our goal to make Dreamweaver easy to use to write clean, semantic code styled with CSS, not only for people that love code, but also for people who prefer the product’s Design View.”

The DWTF has decided that the time is right to become involved with the development of other Adobe products, many of which produce output for Web. Thus, the Dreamweaver Task Force will now be known as the Adobe Task Force (AdTF). The AdTF will lend its expertise and support to Adobe to meet the challenges posed in making a wide range of products standards-compliant and able to conform to best practices, whether they produce Web sites, Web applications, or documents that are more accessible and compliant with Section 508 guidelines. Additionally, the Task Force aims to focus even more on outreach and education, including developing best practices documents for developers.

With the increased breadth of involvement, new members have joined the Task Force to add their expertise, including Zoe Gillenwater, Niqui Merret, Veerle Pieters and Monir Elrayes. Other experts are expected to join in the near future.

While the main focus will be on products such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop, InDesign, Contribute — all of which export HTML — other products such as Flash, Captivate, Connect, Director, and Flex have best practices and accessibility issues. “We are creating testing suites for these products,” says Sullivan, “and there are also important issues to look at with ActionScript, Adobe Media Player, and AIR (especially since ActionScript 3 in Flash is based on ECMAScript, a sister language of JavaScript).” There will also be attention given to Acrobat, and products that output the PDF format, to be sure they conform to the ISO standard for PDF accessibility which is being developed.

Widened collaboration between standards experts, who are also product experts, and Adobe is an exciting step forward in the maturation of the Web.

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