A collaborative effort between Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, HP, and others was announced this week that could impact virtually every aspect of your experience on the Internet. WebPlatform.org promises to establish a set of basic standards and resources that bring all the competing standards together in one place in order to iron out wrinkles and build a consistent Web experience for everyone.
This doesn’t just impact developers. This could mean very good things for you as a user. Imagine a Web where the majority of the big players are on the same page in terms of technology and standards compliance. You could enjoy the same experience on one browser and/or platform as you would on another. Pages would no longer require line after line of code to comply with differences between the platforms, and more would get done in less time.
That might sound like a utopia to some of you, but it could be possible thanks to the efforts being taken at WebPlatform.org. So what does this mean to you?
Consistent Browser Compliance
Over the past two decades, the Internet has been a wild west of competing businesses each vying for control over what they believe to be the best investment of time and code for their users. Because of this, you had some browsers that worked with some standards while others would pick and choose aspects of a given standard to support. Not only that, but one browser’s interpretation of a specific line of code didn’t always match up to the interpretation of another. The result was a restrictive Internet that required developers to add special lines of code to make their pages look the same from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome.
It’s a nightmare, as any Web developer could tell you.
There was a time when Microsoft attempted to create its own standards for development apart from its competition. Firefox has even been slow to adopt some changes. Just head over to HTML5Test.com and see what I mean. Some browsers score higher, and some browsers score lower.
Better Tools for Development Means Better Sites
If more developers have easy access to the latest and greatest tools out there, then more will get done. There are sites out there designed by the greatest of the greats and others that are based off information that is years behind the times. Being updates on the latest technologies is a struggle because not every company shares the same basic information. This effort would put common resources in a centralized space that is freely available to everyone.
A resources that is recognized by both Microsoft and Opera is valuable indeed. That means the tools made available through it will run the same on both Microsoft and Opera’s products — at least in theory.
The Web is More than Just Sites
Web development is more than just building websites. There’s a lot of technical know-how that goes into modern cloud-based applications and the communication that goes on between clients and servers is critical. Settings standards is an important part of making sure that every developer is armed with the tools they need to get the job done.
Building a Web-based version of productivity software is a complex process. If something doesn’t work right across a number of different platforms, the backlash can be brutal.
A happy developer is a productive developer, and nothing makes the developers I know happier than knowing the documentation they need is available in one, centralized location. This hub is readily available and promises to deliver the most updated and comprehensive information needed to design the sites you’ll be using in the future.
Even if you aren’t a developer, this is certainly a collaborative effort worth supporting. It could translate to a much more productive and bug-free experience for all of us down the line.
What do you think? Why is WebPlatform.org important to the average user?