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The Halcyon Days of Web Standards

While it admittedly still has a long way to go, the web standards adoption rate is growing by leaps and bounds. For those of us that came from non-semantic web design traditions (laying out pages using tables, for example), the contrast between our old, backwards methods and the much more reasonable standards-based way of doing things is profound. This perspective strengthens our understanding of exactly how good of an idea web standards are, and makes us emphatic about utilizing them correctly and evangelizing their adoption.

As web standards crawl towards actual standardization, though, I wonder if the current level of attention to detail won’t begin to falter. The less insular the standards community becomes, the more open to interpretation its ideologies will be. In another ten years, the underside of the web at large could be just as murky as it was in 1998. What do you think? Is this a valid concern, and if so, what can be done to prevent it?