’m a fan of web standards. I remember the “Best viewed in Internet Explorer” that used to appear on so many sites and I’m glad there were people like Jeffrey Zeldman that convinced everyone that every browser should display everything the same. But I think now the web is a better place because designers and developers take the time to make sure their work looks and works the same in most, if not every, browser. Libraries like jQuery allow us to add dynamic elements to a website and know that it’s going to work in IE7 just as well as it does in the latest Chrome release. This didn’t happen because a working group at the W3C recommended it be like that, it was because of people like John Resig at Mozilla created jQuery.
Now the W3C has apparently said that developers should hold off on using HTML5 because it’s not quite ready yet. It’s a little too late I think. Especially considering companies like Apple and Google have been pushing HTML5 for a while now. The reason for the W3C warning is interoperability between browsers. True, this could be a big issue, but as we’ve already seen, if there are any problems, I’m pretty sure there are people out there already working on a solution to it.
I think another reason for the W3C wanting people to hold off can be seen in the changes made to the aside tag. When I first read the HTML5 spec and after understanding the aside tag semantics, it seem to me that it was going to be a little used tag and I was wondering why there wasn’t a sidebar tag since the aside spec was so explicit that it wasn’t to be used for that. But it seems that the developers didn’t accept this and now the spec has been updated to make the aside tag more useful for a web designer. Now, who knows what other tags might change to suit the needs of web developers and designers.
Maybe the big issue here is this: the W3C came up with the spec for HTML5 and has released it to the world but they don’t own it and can’t control it like a proprietary technology like Flash or Silverlight. Once it’s out, it will evolve and be changed to suit the needs of the people using. It’s the whole point of open source.