HTML and CSS Reference
Limited Standards Support in Machine-Generated Code
Server-side technologies, such as PHP, ASP, or Ruby on Rails, are popular because of their powerful assistance
in creating dynamic web sites and web applications. While powerful, server-side technologies and Content
Management Systems often produce markup without proper structuring and semantics that would make web sites
work better .
Nonprofessional authors using WYSIWYG software, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, produce a large share of web
sites. Until recently, many of them provided nonstandard output. Modern versions of web development authoring
tools support W3C standards. The same is true for open source environments providing dynamic content such as
social networking sites, blog portals, and so on.
Still, these software tools are responsible for billions of web sites published on the Web without considering
standard compliance. Users often try to modify or extend the template code creating nonstandard code even if the
template was originally standards-compliant (which is not always the case).
While most software tools do not reach full standard compliance, web standards implementations are constantly
improved. Some content management systems support not only core standards but, like Drupal, not fundamental
standards such as RDFa 10 .
The standard compliance of markup and styles provided by WYSIWYG authoring tools is extremely important
because of the large number of authors applying them. However, even standard-compliant markup and style sheets can
be easily messed up with incorrect code by those content authors who do not understand the principles and coding.
Similar to documents, books, or movies, web sites that meet all criteria and user requirements cannot be
created—what's suitable for one audience might not be for another, and even if you try to adhere to every relevant
standard published, you will find that certain standards cannot be used in combination with others. Web
designers should still strive to comply with the core web standards, which contributes to code quality . Fulfilling
the fundamental requirements for standard compliance leads to best practices. Standardized web sites provide
satisfactory and predictable functionality and behavior, usability, stability, and optimal performance.
While best practices are widely applied in programming, web developers and unskilled content authors do not take web
design best practices seriously. “It works this way—why bother with standard compliance?” This is the approach serious
web developers would be best to forget. Bad markup including, but not limited to, browser-specific code fragments,
heavily nested table layouts, structure mixed with layout, locally applied style attributes, attribute minimization, missing
attribute values, and other anomalies significantly increase code length, complexity, download, and rendering time.
Lack of Support
Web standards support is unsatisfactory. There are no ultimate practical guidelines on web standards for the less
experienced. While most web standards are freely available, most people find them too difficult to understand and
implement in real-life applications.
Where standard compliance is an official requirement, such as on government portals or EU project web sites,
the best solution is to hire web standardistas to develop suitable web sites. Web designers often focus on appearance
rather than code quality while managers and directors concentrate mainly on the content. Most people cannot realize
that standard compliance could be the only solution for many of their problems, such as browser-dependent web
pages, incorrect rendering, or poor functionality.
10 From version 7.