Introduction to Web Standards

  1. Formal Standards and Technical Specifications
  2. Best-Practices for Web Design
  3. Advantages of Adhering to Web Standards
  4. References & Further Reading

Broadly speaking, when we talk of Web standards we are referring to a philosophy of Web development practices that adhere to...

  1. Formal standards and technical specifications
  2. Best-practices for Web design and development

Formal Standards and Technical Specifications

The formal standards mentioned refer primarily to the recommendations set down by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C. The W3C is the main international standards organization for the WWW, consisting of a number of member organizations collected as a consortium to advise and determine the best practices for use of Web languages and Web page development. The W3C is headed by Tim Berners-Lee.

Of greatest importance to us is the fact that the W3C is considered the authoritative body for determining the syntax, semantics, and usage of XHTML and CSS.

For example, the W3C determines which elements are included in XHTML, what they mean, how they work, and how they should be applied. They recommend to Web browser developers how CSS should be rendered, and what rules can be applied to control appearance.

Best-Practices for Web Design

Web standards as best-practices for Web design are somewhat subjective, but often include adherence to the following:

Advantages of Adhering to Web Standards

While there are many other facets to Web standards, these are the points we need to be concerned with at this point. All modern Web developers should practice Web standards. Adhering to Web standards makes our Web sites more flexible, meaning they can be quickly adapted to new designs without a lot of re-coding, less bulky and difficult to read through, and faster to run with less load on the Web server. Web standards also help us guarantee that our information will be found by our target users, and that the content will be available to the widest spectrum of users.