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Web standards

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Title: Web standards  
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Web standards

Web standards are the formal, non-proprietary standards and other technical specifications that define and describe aspects of the World Wide Web. In recent years, the term has been more frequently associated with the trend of endorsing a set of standardized best practices for building web sites, and a philosophy of web design and development that includes those methods.[1]


  • Overview 1
  • Common usage 2
  • Standards publications and bodies 3
  • Non-standard and vendor-proprietary pressures 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Web standards include many interdependent standards and specifications, some of which govern aspects of the Internet, not just the World Wide Web. Even when not web-focused, such standards directly or indirectly affect the development and administration of web sites and web services. Considerations include the interoperability, accessibility and usability of web pages and web sites.

Web standards, in the broader sense, consist of the following:

Web standards are not fixed sets of rules, but are a constantly evolving set of finalized technical specifications of web technologies.[8] Web standards are developed by W3C specifications, the highest maturity level).

Common usage

When a web site or web page is described as complying with web standards, it usually means that the site or page has valid HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The HTML should also meet accessibility and semantic guidelines. Full standard compliance also covers proper settings for character encoding, valid RSS or valid Atom news feed, valid RDF, valid metadata, valid XML, valid object embedding, valid script embedding, browser- and resolution-independent codes, and proper server settings.

When web standards are discussed, the following publications are typically seen as foundational:

  • Recommendations for markup languages, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and XForms, from W3C.
  • Recommendations for stylesheets, especially Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), from W3C.
  • Standards for ECMAScript, more commonly JavaScript, from Ecma International.
  • Recommendations for Document Object Models (DOM), from W3C.
  • Properly formed names and addresses for the page and all other resources referenced from it (URIs), based upon RFC 2396, from IETF.[9]
  • Proper use of HTTP and MIME to deliver the page, return data from it and to request other resources referenced in it, based on RFC 2616, from IETF.[10]

Web accessibility is normally based upon the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines[11] published by the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative.

Work in the W3C toward the Semantic Web is currently focused by publications related to the Resource Description Framework (RDF), Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL) and Web Ontology Language (OWL).

Standards publications and bodies

A W3C Recommendation is a specification or set of guidelines that, after extensive consensus-building, has received the endorsement of W3C Members and the Director.

An IETF Internet Standard is characterized by a high degree of technical maturity and by a generally held belief that the specified protocol or service provides significant benefit to the Internet community. A specification that reaches the status of Standard is assigned a number in the IETF STD series while retaining its original IETF RFC number.

Non-standard and vendor-proprietary pressures

In the current Working Draft of the HTML 5 proposed standard document,[12] the W3C has a section entitled "Relationship to Flash, Silverlight, XUL and similar proprietary languages" that says, "In contrast with proprietary languages, this specification is intended to define an openly-produced, vendor-neutral language, to be implemented in a broad range of competing products, across a wide range of platforms and devices. This enables developers to write applications that are not limited to one vendor's implementation or language. Furthermore, while writing applications that target vendor-specific platforms necessarily introduces a cost that application developers and their customers or users will face if they are forced to switch (or desire to switch) to another vendor's platform, using an openly-produced and vendor neutral language means that application authors can switch vendors with little to no cost."

Nevertheless, HTML 5 contains numerous "willful violations" of other specifications, in order to accommodate limitations of existing platforms.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Mission - Web Standards Project". WaSP. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  2. ^ "W3C Technical Reports and Publications". W3C. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  3. ^ "IETF RFC page". IETF. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  4. ^ "Search for World Wide Web in ISO standards". ISO. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Ecma formal publications". Ecma. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  6. ^ "Unicode Technical Reports". Unicode Consortium. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  7. ^ "IANA home page". IANA. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, W3C Recommendation 5-May-1999". W3C. 1999. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  12. ^ "HTML 5 A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML, W3C Working Draft 12 February 2009". W3C. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  13. ^ "HTML 5 - A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML - W3C Working Draft 11 October 2012 - Compliance with other specifications". 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 

External links

  • W3C homepage
  • The Internet Engineering Task Force
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