Throwing standards out the window

September 24th, 2008 by exhuma.twn

This really seems to be a trend in software development. Especially on the Web. We have organisations like the W3C that continuously struggle to promote interoperability and standards.While developing I am trying to re-use as much of that knowledge as possible. Afterall, if someone already made the effort to solve a specific problem why should you rethink it again? And actively developing since the late ’90s I can safely say that I’ve seen my fair share of source code.

One thing I have realised is that in the past, developers seemed to care more about clean coding and standards.I have the impression that all this is seriously going down the drain since – let’s name it- the “Broadband Revolution”. Since then about everybody has an Internet connection at home and the number of wannabe web-developers skyrocketed. Now, if you google for JavaScript/HTML/whatever references you do not find one reference, you find hundreds. And about all of them seems to be written by somone who thinks to know better.

Why do these people re-invent the wheel by writing down on their web-space what’s already been written by domain-specialists? Are they trying to show the world just how “good” they really are? Are they looking for recognition on the web that they could not get in real life? Because, frankly, I would not have much respect for the work they do

Back to topic. About standards. Consider the following excerpt:

Note: The latest W3C method to connect an event handler to an event is to use the addEventListener method, similar to Java. However, this is not supported by Internet Explorer, and since Internet Explorer owns 96 percent of the browser market, we can ignore addEventListener.1

It’s statements like these that drive me up the wall. And it’s one of the first links I got back from google when looking into the ins and outs of event handling in modern browsers. I am all for education and educating new (web-)developers about how things should be done. And this simply is not the way! Stating that you should throw out all the standards, simply because the market leader does not support it is just wrong. With this train of thought, the standards will never be adopted properly. Now this is the special case of Web-Browsers and JavaScript support, but this example easily spans over other areas as well.

Having a text like this in the top google hits surely gives newcomers the wrong idea.

I am honestly curious to see how the web evolves in the next few decades. But maybe I’m just too pessimistic and it will all turn out well. Time will tell!


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