Standards-Compliant Web Design and Valid HTML/CSS
The Importance of Being Earnest: Use Real HTML!
One of the key behaviours of product "wars" with collateral impact for consumers, is market segmentation. This is where one manufacturer will attempt to prevent their customers from using their product to access content created for a competing product. In the case of the World Wide Web, browser wars saw browser manufacturers writing to separate mark-up standards, vying for ever more advanced and complex web browser API. Leftover relics of this browser war include key differences between DHTML and HTML such as;
- Reverse application of "fixed" and "absolute" position attributes in DHTML.
- DHTML's extended lower padding of nested objects with a "block" display attribute.
- HTML's failure to separate hover characteristics of a cell from a table and/or its cells nested therein.
Such examples continued to plague developers even after the introduction of international mark-up standards because existing technologies, (such as the DHTMLEdit control and TriEdit component of the Internet Explorer API) were adapted to process standard HTML without substantial changes to their behaviour. Most of the glitches were picked up in the modified Document Object Model, but key compliance features were neglected in the external access model of the API. This is why the DHTMLEdit control (of VB5 and VB6 fame) cannot be coaxed into producing compliant mark-up without workarounds so cumbersome that key performance factors of the control fail.