Important reasons for using web standards

For web programmers who are already using web standards, this list may come in helpful when you want good arguments and feel free to add any extra benefits you can think of. If you’re new to the idea of web standards and are unsure on whether you should spend the time to study all about them or not, here are some of the most important reasons for doing so.

Get better search engine rankings
Well-written content delivered through clean, well-structured, and semantic markup is delicious food for search engine spiders and will help our rankings. This will lead to increased traffic, which is what most website owners want.

Maximize website visitors
You don’t know which browser visitors will use to access your site. The only thing you can be logically sure of is that they are using something that can parse HTML. By using web standards properly you make sure that you have completed your job in making your website work with the largest possible number of browsing devices.

Faster page loading
Clean and well-structured HTML that separates structure and content from presentation will be smaller and faster for visitors to download.

Accessibility
Web standards do not guarantee that all features of our website will be accessible to people with disabilities, but it is a very good start. Make sure your html documents are valid, well-structured, and semantic, and you’re well on the way towards having an accessible website.

Make our HTML easier to maintain
When we need to update our website then we will like to browse through a clean and well-structured document. Using CSS to organize layout also makes it much easier to make overall website design changes.

Look professional
Our colleagues, competitors, friends and potential employers will be able to look at our work and know that the person likes to keep up with changes in technology and make sure that his knowledge and skills are always current. It will make us look like a real web professional.

Making our clients feel good
Use web standards combined with best practices for accessibility and give your clients a chance to talk about how they cater to all people, and how they find it important that everybody can use their services or find information about their products. You will also avoid the bad publicity that can be caused by shutting out visitors like disabled people, Mac users, and mobile phone users.

Future-proof content
If we separate content from presentation and use current web standards, we have done the best we can to ensure that our website content can still be read even after fifty years or hundred years.

Good business sense
Any business owner will like to have more visitors, a faster website, improved search engine rankings, potential good publicity and it does make sense to do so.

Accurate way to do things
Web standards provide the way to build the web from the beginning and now that we can surely do something the right way and have a really important reason to feel good about ourselves.

Using Web Standards in Web Pages

WWW is a common space where users can share information to work together, play, and socialize. But in this period of tremendous growth, the Web needs guidance to realize its full potential. Web standards provide the necessary guidance and help to ensure that everyone has access to the information we are providing, and also make web development faster and more enjoyable.

Standards compliance makes it easier for the people with special needs to utilize the Web to its fullest. Blind people may have their computer read web pages to them. People with poor eyesight may have pages rearranged and magnified for easier reading. And people using hand-held devices can browse the Web just as easily as those using high-end workstations.

W3C standards

HTML 4.0 – HyperText Markup Language
XML 1.0 – Extensible Markup Language
XHTML 1.0, 1.1, and Modularization
CSS – Cascading Style Sheets
DOM 1 – Document Object Model Level 1

HTML/XHTML as a standard

HTML has evolved during its development, and is available in several versions. All of these versions are standards, and you can select one that meets your requirement. Most of the time, the latest version will be the best choice, unless you target a very specific audience, or older, broken browsers. The version you choose defines the elements and attributes you can use.

For example, in HTML 4.01, you will find the list of elements and the list of attributes you are allowed to use in your pages. You can edit your pages manually, a means usually referred to as “hand-coding” or “writing the source”.

List of elements:

http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/index/elements.html

List of attributes

http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/index/attributes.html

Advantages of Using Web Standards:

  1. Greater visibility in web searches.
  2. Gives opportunity of validating your page with a validation service.
  3. Compliant documents can easily be migrated for devices such as TVs and PDAs.
  4. Enables Kids to enjoy the web surfing using graphical browsers used to enhance high-end graphics and animations views.
  5. Enables people with disabilities (using Braille or voice browsers) to browse the Internet with ease.
  6. Compatibility with the future browsers.
  7. Cross browser compatibility.

Structuring Web Pages Using XHTML

XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) is similar to HTML. If anyone knows how to create Web Pages using HTML, then he already know most of what he need to know about creating Web pages using XHTML. Although HTML can define both the appearance and the structure of a Web page, XHTML defines the structure of a Web page while relying on other technologies, such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), to state the formatting information. XHTML is a markup language like HTML, but was made to conform to the XML standard. XML is a widely used industry standard. XHTML was an attempt to create a language for constructing Web pages that conforms to the standards and principles of XML. You can think of XHTML as an effort to revise the HTML language using XML.

HTML Vs XHTML
There are some differences between HTML and XHTML the most well-known being that, unlike HTML, XHTML requires all tags to have a closing tag. Most HTML tags have a closing tag; some do not, such as the break tag <br>. But in XHTML these tags must have a closing tag. If the tag does not enclose any content, such as the <br> tag, you can add a forward slash (/) preceded by a space to the opening tag instead of using two tags, as in <br />. The tag <br /> is the correct XHTML version of the HTML <br> tag. All tag names are lowercase in XHTML. So, the HTML tag is only valid in XHTML as <body>. All attribute names in XHTML must also be lowercase and all of the values within tags must be with in quotation marks.

Standards in XHTML
XHTML is a single language; it consists of two major standards: XHTML Strict and XHTML Transitional. XHTML Strict requires XHTML code to strictly follow the rules of the XML standard. XHTML Transitional is not as strict as XHTML Strict and it was intentionally made to be less strict to help bridge the gap between the loose, more forgiving HTML standard of yesterday and the stricter, less forgiving XHTML standard of today. XHTML Transitional was made to be just that – transitory – so it is not a good idea to standardize on XHTML Transitional. XHTML Transitional is more like a short-term resolution for quickly recreating existing HTML.

Limitations
Because XHTML is stricter than HTML and requires the use of other technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to create Web pages, creating Web pages using XHTML will initially take more time. XHTML is also less forgiving than HTML when a Web page’s code contains errors. Many of today’s Web developers use specialized tools to create Web pages. Any of the tools that are more than a couple of years old may not be able to create valid XHTML Web pages without upgrading or replacing the software. Because XHTML uses CSS to format Web page elements, users must also learn how to implement CSS if they want their Web pages to resemble those created with just HTML.

Using XHTML
In general, if we want to create Web pages that will stay alive on the Internet for a long period, we should use XHTML to ensure that our Web pages will be compatible with Web browsers of the future. If we are simply creating a Web page for short term use, we can use HTML instead of XHTML to structure and format our Web page.