UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

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?

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One Response to “Open Standards – Are We There Yet?”

  1. AJ Cann said

    Pick the right tool for the job, based on evidence of what works. Some lightweight tools will perform well for some tasks, other jobs will need more complex software. Software diversity good, Microsoft/Google bad! When was the last time Microsoft produced an efficient lightweight tool which did not require significant user training?

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