[Fsf-friends] [Fwd]: please comply with standards

Harish Narayanan harish@gamebox.net
Thu Jun 10 12:28:22 IST 2004

Mahesh T. Pai wrote:

>We  lawyers have  a  saying to  the  effect that  we  cannot go  about
>breaking open peoples' heads to find that what they intend. We need to
>gather intentions from words acts and deeds.
And technologists _needn't_ be the most articulate. Unfortunately, 
that's just the way it can be. The rest of the world will have to deal 
with it.

>And javascript removes  control from my hands. I  want only one window
>open  at a  time;  and have  twenty  or thirty  tabs  open in  Mozilla
>firefox  at a  time.  It is  irritating when  a  page opens  in a  new
>window. I have disabled permission for pages to open new windows.
Java and JavaScript are in no way related. Java is an object oriented 
programming language created at Sun Microsystems. JavaScript is an 
object oriented scripting language commonly used in websites. It was 
originally developed by Netscape.

> > This is where  I have a problem. W3C  standards compliance does not
> > necessarily imply ease of use, accessibility or anything like that.
>W3C standards is  not merely HTML 4.01. It goes  much beyond that. W3C
>has standards for  CSS. CSS prescribes standards for  visual and aural
I didn't say HTML or any other specific standard. I said "standards 
compliance". I repeat, you can find W3C and other standards compliant 
((X)HTML, CSS, 508, aaa ...) sites that are absolutely horrendous to use.

>That is a human error. For example, look at the fsf.org.in pages. They
>are  W3C html compliant.  But use  tables to  control layout.  That is
>deprecated by the  W3C. W3C recommends that people  use stylesheets to
>control  layout,   and  suggests  that  tables  be   used  to  display
>data. FSF's  pages pass  the html 4.01  `strict' dtd when  run through
>W3C's HTMLtidy;  but, the trouble comes when  people with disabilities
>try to use them. 
Explain to me how css based positioning is easier on people with 
disabilities than table based positioning. Unless you're suggesting 
everyone (with vision or other problems) strip every site of all its 
design, and replace it with a custom stylesheet with huge fonts and 
extremely contrasted colours. Overriding the site intended aesthetics is 
the only place where I can see relative positioning and relative font 
sizes winning over hard coded tables. But technically, there is nothing 
preventing something similar being done for tables also.

>But would this lead to multiplicity of standards? 
Standards are good and important and we all know that. And yes, 
multiplicity is not good. It's just, when the people who are really 
responsible for the technology have needs not always met by the 
standards or when the standards body fails to keep up with current 
technology I fail to see the point of those standards. Eventually, 
through a survival of the fittest scheme, the relevant one will survive.

A tidbit related the whatwg site I linked in the last reply.

"Another reason for working outside the W3C could be the rift between 
Mozilla/Opera and other W3C members over what technologies Web 
applications solutions such be based on: Mozilla/Opera favour a 
backwards-compatible HTML-based standard, others are looking towards to 
XForms and SVG. It will be interesting to see if any other browser 
developers jump on board WHATWG."

>Got the point?
Of course I did. All I was trying to say is, chide them for the 
obnoxious ad, or how inconsiderate they seemingly are to people with 
disabilities (or those that run much larger font sizes than they 
originally intended). Don't make this about "standards compliant". 
Because they can very well be (W3C) standards compliant and still be 
"evil" in all those respects you seem to find wrong with them.

My point in all of this being, a good site is a good site, and a bad 
one's bad. A fully standards compliant one has a better probability of 
being good, that's all. Breaking something small (for instance XHTML 
fails to validate on <br> but is fine with <br />) is not always a 
horrendous crime, considering the standards and current technology (and 
the people behind them) needn't always be in sync.


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