Standards-based Design for Future-proofing your Web Site


Standards are the key to future-proofed Websites. Unfortunately, the real world is not ready for complete adoption. The reason for this is that many people are not ready to use standards-compliant browsers.

An analogy may be the use of hybrid vehicles on our highways. Hybrid vehicles may be a step toward hydrogen-fueled vehicles, but the change over to a hybrid vehicle is costly. There will be some lag before every vehicle on the road is a hybrid vehicle.

High definition TV offers another analogy. New equipment that can take advantage of the new standard is expensive, and converting existing broadcast facilities to high definition also is costly. Therefore, the change over will take years.

Web standards? Ditto.

The issue isn't whether Web standards will take over, or even if Web standards work. The issue is how long we want to support the installed base of old browsers.

Certain standards-compliant browsers already support Web standards. So, what's the problem?

The standards-compliant browsers account for only about 10% of the browsers in use. However, this ratio will change, and once Microsoft releases Internet Explorer™ 7.0, the equation will tip rapidly in favor of standards-compliant browsers.

Basically, if you build your site with CSS, your site will be ready for the changes that are required in the near future.

One additional benefit is that your site will also be ready for viewing by all sorts of other devices and terminals. Here the big players (no pun intended) will be: cell phones, personal digital assistants, and maybe portable digital player such as the video-display iPod™. High definition TVs hold potential for some types of Website applications, maybe Web TV will catch on this time. (Note: It was probably the low cost of computers more than anything that stemmed the tide of Web TV)

Link to additional CSS information on this site.