The web's full of talk this week about web standards and mark-up validation. I think this was triggered by ABC news switching to a CSS layout, which obviously everyone applauds but which doesn't validate. The fact that it doesn't validate has had the Standards Nazi’s foaming at the mouth, whilst more moderate elements of the Standards movement have been saying that it's not as important as the fact that they're moving in the right direction. I feel I must swing into the argument on the side of the more moderate debaters. Sadly, the web is not yet a perfect place nor yet is the technologies we use to build it. Take for instance the use of Flash, if we stick religiously to standards we cannot reliably embed flash in our pages (yes, I know some Standards people will now go on a rant about Flash but I believe Flash has it's place on today’s web). On a small personal site like this one it's fine to use slightly flaky code to embed Flash (which is exactly what I do, using the "Flash Satay" method from ALA) but on a large commercial site like my employers it would be madness to accept the code failing on a percentage of visitors. But what is important is that sites move in the right direction, that the general movement of the web is towards Standards and away from poor, inaccessible mark-up. The more sites that make ABC's move (whether they entirely succeed or not) the more momentum we as Standards people gain on the net. Surely complete validation is a detail? Of course I love it when my site validates, that's a lovely feeling but at work I have to accept real world situations...
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