Simon Willison’s Weblog

Quotations tagged standards

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HTML has always been a conversation between browser makers, authors, standards wonks, and other people who just showed up and liked to talk about angle brackets. Most of the successful versions of HTML have been “retro-specs,” catching up to the world while simultaneously trying to nudge it in the right direction. Anyone who tells you that HTML should be kept “pure” (presumably by ignoring browser makers, or ignoring authors, or both) is simply misinformed. HTML has never been pure, and all attempts to purify it have been spectacular failures, matched only by the attempts to replace it.

Mark Pilgrim # 3rd November 2009, 7:20 am

Someone asked for onbeforeunload, so I started fixing it. Then I found that there was some rot in the drywall. So I took down the drywall. Then I found a rat infestation. So I killed all the rats. Then I found that the reason for the rot was a slow leak in the plumbing. So I tried fixing the plumbing, but it turned out the whole building used lead pipes. So I had to redo all the plumbing. But then I found that the town’s water system wasn’t quite compatible with modern plumbing techniques, and I had to dig up the entire town. And that’s basically it.

Ian Hickson # 19th December 2008, 1:58 pm

The ISO are now calling a “standard” the Microsoft Office format [...] What is interesting is that TeX, LaTeX, OGG/Vorbis, OGG/Theora, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, OCaml, are not standardized by any organization. [...] This shows that standardization organizations are no longer relevant in the software field. What really matters is free full documentation, free full implementation source code, and of course the absence of any patent risk. [...] In other words, what matters is evidence that any independent third-party can create and distribute a fully-conforming implementation.

Benoît Jacob # 2nd April 2008, 8:30 pm

For the record, my site is valid HTML 5, except the parts that aren’t. My therapist says I shouldn’t rely so much on external validation.

Mark Pilgrim # 10th March 2008, 2:01 pm

Boxing Day toy discovery: Mega Bloks not compatible with Duplo! See, Alex Russell? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU INNOVATE AHEAD OF STANDARDS

Yoz Grahame # 26th December 2007, 5:58 pm

To get a better future, not only do we need a return to “the browser wars”, we need to applaud and use the hell out of “non-standard” features until such time as there’s a standard to cover equivalent functionality. Non-standard features are the future, and suggesting that they are somehow “bad” is to work against your own self-interest.

Alex Russell # 16th December 2007, 11:33 pm

I think it is well established that HTTP Authentication needs a major kick in the ass and OpenID and OAuth may get us most of the way there. However, until I see RFC#s attached to both I’m hardly going to consider them to be complete. I propose the creation of an IETF WG on Identity and Authentication. The WG would be chartered to produce two RFCs covering each of the two areas. OpenID and OAuth could be used to seed the WG effort.

James Snell # 18th November 2007, 12:15 am

My own favorites were Cuba voting “yes” to the fast-tracking of OOXML, even though Microsoft is prohibited by the US Government from selling any software on the island that might even be able to read and write the new format, and Azerbaijan’s “yes” vote, even though OOXML as defined isn’t able to express a Web URL address in Azeri, their official language.

Jeremy Allison # 15th September 2007, 10:40 am