Karl Dubost writes about web standards in a professional context:
The only way to gain standards acceptance is to place them in a professional context. Certain professions live by and create today's and tomorrow's Web. These persons who create sites are sometimes little aware, if at all, or lack of a real culture of the medium. Additionally, the standards bodies lack of creativity. The Web is not just a question between users and software developers, but also amongst all other professionals along the chain. It is very important to get these people involved.
A couple months ago, I posted a short complainte titled Lost in CSSpace, on which Karl wrote: "let's make it less dramatic and have fun! Standardizing one's web site is not so difficult, if one measures the effort and understands what has to be achieved."
I promised a follow-up on that post, and this sounds à propos now, because the (perceived) dramatic tone was not a little drag but a real intuition of the task at hand, from an actor in the chain of web sites production who has the chance to look after pretty much all stages, from company guidelines to datacenters. What Karl points out makes absolute sense, but this refreshing above the box thinking has still some way to go.
Web standards Jedi Knights (sorry, I have to justify the domain name) are brilliant people. They have relentlessly pushed the envelope, taught the Good Things, deployed fantastic pedagogic talents to help padawan learners decipher the standards bodies' jargon or eat with their hands off the tables, and whatnot. But who do they talk to? Who do they efficiently influence? It started amongst web designers who, fed up with a nasty browser war, got browsers makers pay a little attention to years-old standards. When this battle was well engaged, they turned to web tools makers (at least the dominant one) to make them embrace standards and stop adding more and more proprietary tricks while playing a "bloatware" war that started to look strangely similar to the browsers war (on that aspect, I still expect the WaSP to shed some balance between Macromedia and Adobe). And, while all this was starting to make sense, they kept evangelizing their peers, the web designers.
Thanks to this remarkable work, the web standards are now a no-brainer issue to browsers makers, web tools makers and virtually any web designer who is not too autistic.
But what about the corporate front? If we look at the full spectrum, who are we missing? Webmasters, developers, editors, content producers, brand/marketing/PR/communication/knowledge managers, CIOs, CKOs, CFOs and, soyons larges, end users.
Do we start to see a bigger picture here, making the journey slightly more complex than learning XHTML+CSS that will bring us the pure semantic content, reader-agnostic dream in its full glory? I hope that Karl will now pardon me of having expressed a slight anxiety while I grasped the full task I'm going to face. While I realistically don't expect it to be an easy ride in every aspects, I intend to keep it fun. Count me in to evangelize web standards to the full chain of actors, that's part of my role in a certain corporation.
La suite au prochain épisode, don't hold your breath though.