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Understanding Web Standards

Sonal Panse,

What Are Web Standards

Web standards are the general markup language specifications and designs that are most commonly used across the industry. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and other web standard organizations formulated these to bring about a certain level of consistency in web design and web development. By having standardized web specifications it is possible to make different websites compatible with different browsers and thereby allow for convenient access to the websites.

What if you don't use Web Standards

If everyone created and used their own particular codes, things could get kind of chaotic and it might be difficult to find common and compatible platforms to share the work on. Websites that are not compliant with established web standards, for instance, are likely to be restricted to only specified browsers that they are compatible with, and will not show up well in any other browsers, and this will, of course, limit visitors to that site. This can prove to be detrimental, especially if you have a business website; you stand to lose potential clients/customers if they can't properly access your site from their browser. For this reason, it is important to make your site compliant to the existing web standards.

Understanding Web Standards

Now web standards are not set in stone. They keep changing and evolving along with new technological advancements and industry requirements. The ones that are widely used at present are:

HTML and XML: These are the most commonly used markup languages; markup languages are used to structure documents using tags. HTML uses a specific set of tags to describe a web page structure. The updated version, HTML5, is widely for creating web applications. XML(Extensible Markup Language) allows you to create and add your own specific elements to the website.

CSS: This is a style sheet language that is used to design web pages. CSS describes the presentation of the web page. CSS is separate from HTML, and this allows the page design to be fluid, adaptable, and changeable; if you want to tweak or change something, instead of sifting through the web page HTML – and there can be several hundred web pages - you only have to make the changes in the CSS and that's it.

JavaScript: This is the client-side programming language that is also used in server-side programming. It allows for programming interactivity; you can build interactive websites and applications using JavaScript.

Benefits of Web Standards

Standardized coding makes website creation and maintenance easier; the same web design rules apply across the board, and so different developers can work on the website or update it as required.

The website can remain accessible on different browsers and devices, existing ones as well as forthcoming ones.

The site can be made navigable by touch, mouse, and keyboard, and can use read aloud technology and resizable fonts, thereby making the site accessible for people with disabilities.

Well-structured web pages – with the proper title, description, navigation, headings, content sections – are more easily found in search engine searches, and this, of course, can give the website a higher visibility profile.