Below Standard

Published 12:30 on 10 May, 2005

Whilst exploring Muffin Research Labs, the website of my good friend Stuart, I read a rather interesting blog entry about web standards at work.

We currently both work full-time in the 6 man web development team of a large FTSE100 company. Thankfully, our employers allow us quite a lot of freedom in our development and, as a result, we have been able to push web standards forward in a big way. This has resulted in all recent sites being developed in good clean XHTML and CSS where ever possible. However, not all our sites are being developed this way.

The problem with moving standards forward in our department is that EVERY member of the team needs to understand and use them. To acheive this, learning time is needed and, unfortunately, it’s not something we are currently given. The three members of the team that have developed proper standard compliant coding skills have done so in their own time, working on the many projects we do in our personal time. Those that don’t develop outside of work, don’t develop an understanding of the need for standards nor do they develop the skills. This means that pushing standards forward not only requires us to teach the skills, but to outline the benefits of the whole web standards movement. This is a long and difficult process considering we are simply developers and not development managers.

The root of these problems, I believe, are as follows:

  • There is a lack of understanding of web standards amongst management, teachers and new developers.
  • Most readily available web development books teach outdated methods.
  • Most university and college courses also teach outdated methods.

I guess the point I’m making is that web development should be a passion, not just a job, otherwise you lose touch with current technology.