It’s great to have standards so everything can play together nicely. I’ve even heard IE8 should pass the Acid2 test with “Web Standard Compatibility” mode turned on, and it has been confirmed for a long time that FireFox3 will (finally) pass it. Microsoft, of course, has a bit of a problem with backwards compatibility when everyone had to use hacks in the past to “conform” to their old IE software, which was, and still is, filled with bugs and errors; and with IE version upgrades, they need to not break those old websites. This really technically shouldn’t be a problem if people properly mark their web pages with compatible versions of HTML, XHTML, etc, but who wants to deal with that? Compatibility testing and marking, especially in the web world, is a serious pain in the ass, which I can attest to after working with web site creation for many years, something I am not very proud of :-). I am a C++ advocate, and Java/.NET hater, and yes, I’ve worked heavily in all of them.
Anyways, some new web standards even break old ones, for example:
is no longer allowed. Non nested (ending child elements before the parent) is no longer possible in certain circumstances in HTML
4, and definitely not allowed in XHTML, as that would be specifically against what XML
was designed for. This was one of my favorite parts of original HTML
too, in that you could easily combine formatting elements in different sections and orders without having to redefine all previous formats each time. Though CSS
does help with this, it has its own quirks too that I consider to be a rather large failing in its design. I should be expanding more on that later on.
And then there’s this one other oddity that has always bugged me. Two standard HTML colors are “gray” and “lightgrey”... if that’s not a little confusing... and for the record, “grey” and “lightgray” do not work in IE.
Further, XML, while it has its place and reasons, really really bugs me. Just the fact that it really slows things up and is overused where it’s not needed because it is the “popular” thing to do. Come on people, is it that hard to create and use interfaces for binary compiled data? Or even ini-type files for crying out loud... Until we have specific hardware designed and implemented to parse XML, or better text parsing in general, I will continue to consider XML a step backwards, a very unfortunate reoccurring reality in the software world.