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99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete : Comments

By Jeffrey Zeldman

September 4, 2002

Comments

Andy

February 2, 2005 6:56 PM

Gotta love the Zeldman.

Vic

February 8, 2005 11:41 PM

I wonder if Zeldman’s reached his nirvana, now that standards, css, and other new developments have taken place over the last few years.

Thomas

March 18, 2005 10:00 AM

It’s just like a developer to think only in development terms. While you wail against business for their errors and ask why would they do things that possibly exclude up to 25% of their audience, just look at the title of your own article. Why would any developer of any browser want to so strictly enforce standards that 99.9% of their audience would be excluded?

This article has the same tone as thousands of conversations I’ve had with developers in almost every technical and corporate environment around, in that you arrogantly presume (1.) everyone should be a developer, (2.) developers don’t make mistakes, (3.) you think it reasonable that even non-developers should know almost as much as you do abou technology and most hilarious, (4.) how the technology was INTENDED to be used seems to be more important than how people are ACTUALLY using it.

Here’s the short of it: 99.9% of the PEOPLE who build websites have nothing to do with any corporate environment or business, or they cannot afford to pay a developer $500 per day to build something for them online. They’re just people who buy or use some product that will help them get their family photo-album or some basic business information online.

Right now, for almost everyone, XML and advanced CSS is simply not an option. Period. There’s a perfectly good reason for that, but people like you are totally missing it. While you’re espousing the need for strict enforcement of standards in web browsers which would effectively render 99.9% of sites “obsolete”, you’re not only doing things that are hurting the very people who are using the Web now, but you’re totally missing an opportunity to help them later.

Oh, and let’s not forget the people who like to “tinker”, learn by example, figure out code by looking under the hood. Used to be a time when you could learn all about the technology under every webpage by simply viewing source or getting a copy of the Perl script from a buddy. Believe it or not, there are people who like building more complicated things for themselves just because they have a fairly decent technically aptitide, but they’ll NEVER go back to school to get their CS degrees.

Essentially, if you want some standards to be adopted and more strictly enforced, then you should provide PEOPLE with the WYSIWYG and code tools they need to build “compliant” sites and features, provide the technical “tinkerers” with drag-and-drop code editors or very detailed error messages that tell them exactly where and WHY their code went wrong (and HOW they might resolve it).

But no, you’d rather continue thinking that all of life’s little problems are solved by those with a Computer Science degree. Arrogant and ignorant all at the same time.

I’ve had conversations with people in charge of the evolving CSS standards. I inquired once about adding some design-related options so the AVERAGE person could more easily handle some complicated image and table border effects with basically one tag. I proposed a single tag that allow someone to do the same thing that would otherwise have required a complicated table structure, HTML coding and experience with graphical design programs – but the reply I received was sadly all too typical. To them, that complicated approach seemed just fine for THEM, so why should they bother to use other tags or changes to the CSS standards to allow for more design-related control, when anyone with programming and design experience could handle that for you anyway? Idiots.

Here’s another exaple of how silly your proposition is. Three paragraphs ago, I put a word in quotations, closing the quotations before a comma. I’ve also used improper sentence structure in a few places above, with run-on sentences, a few typocs and some bad grammar too. If the people of the editorial world were able to weild the same amount of draconian influence as you espouse for your developer friends, they’d most likely produce an error when browsers encountered any of these textual or grammatical errors, simply rendering a blank page or a message that doesn’t in any way help the producer of the content to correct or learn anything.

In the end, I was just trying to use the Web to share a thought or to say something, just like most people. Which is more important to you people? – allowing the Web to be a mechanism for people to easily share that information, or enforcing strict compliance and standards that, in the absense of any useful tools the public might use, would make it impossible for most people (99.9% by your calculations) to share anything?

mem

November 1, 2005 6:01 AM

who cares if websites codes are obsolete? contents and utility is important

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