UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for June 14th, 2007

Open Standards – Are We There Yet?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 June 2007

When will all the open standards we need be finalised? What will happen when that day arrives?  And are we there yet?

Daft questions, you may be thinking.  But if that’s the case – and we’ll never arrive at a position in which the open standards we need are all done – what does this mean for the development community?  Is the seemingly never-ending development of standards simply a way of providing ‘jobs for the boys’ – so that software developers and standards developers will be guaranteed of a job?

Or, to ask a related question, are the standards which are available today good enough for most uses.  Andy Powell, in the eFoundations blog, raised this issue recently when he commentedI’m very mindful of the tension between the relatively complex … and the relatively simple, tag-based, approaches taken by Web 2.0 repository-like applications such as Slideshare and Scribd.

Andy went on to admit that “Unfortunately, I lean uncomfortably in both directions!”  I think that many of us involved in development work would admit to similar doubts – and perhaps those who have no doubts are those with a blinkered vision who were responsible for leading the UK HE sector down the cul de sac of Coloured Book network protocols in the 1980s.

What should be done?

Posted in standards | 1 Comment »

Tim Berners-Lee, Order of Merit

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 June 2007

An email I have just received:

It is my pleasure to inform you that Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State of the UK, has appointed Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web, to be a member of the Order of Merit.

Founded in 1902 by King Edward VII, the Order of Merit [1] is conferred by the sovereign of the United Kingdom to “such persons, being subjects of our Crown, as may have rendered exceptionally meritorious service in Our Crown Services, or towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature and Science or such other exceptional service as We see fit to recognise.”


Some other points to note:

  • The OM is one of the few British honours that is in the personal gift of the Sovereign as opposed to her government.
  • As well as being the personal gift of the Queen, only 24 living people are allowed to hold the OM.
  • Previous holders of the OM include Florence Nightingale, Edward Elgar and
    Winston Churchill.

It’s good to see this honour being awarded to the person responsible for a great British invention which changed the world; no, not football or cricket, but the World Wide Web:-)

PS The joke going around the W3C (coined by TV Raman) is:

Q. Why doesn’t the Queen use the Web?

A. Because it’s a royalty-free Web.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »