Most of the web developers I talk to who are also web standards advocates are very conscientious people. They have a code—a set of best practices—and they try to live by it as best they can.

But being an advocate, not just a user, means speaking out—spreading the gospel. We do this on blogs, in forums, in conversations with other developers and, most importantly, when we’re talking to our clients.

Quite often, I’m sitting in a café, minding my own business, and I overhear a conversation between a web designer and their client. Not intentionally, of course—cafés are always abuzz with business conversations, because they’re a “third space” that’s neither home nor work. People can go there, relax over a coffee, and get to know one another. It’s neutral ground, and it provides an atmosphere conducive to compromise, discussion, getting things done.

Unfortunately, when the discussion is about web design, it’s rare that I don’t get the urge to block up my ears with cotton wool. All too often, so-called web professionals talk in terms of outdated techniques and the worst of bad practices. Layout tables, animated images, music, marquee elements (they call them tags, of course), spacer GIFs… the works.

Hearing these litanies of Dark Ages coding practices drives me a little mad: I get the urge to storm over to their table and tell the clients they shouldn’t be paying for this, that the people they’ve hired are ignorant charlatans, interested only in taking their money—not in doing the best job they can.

I don’t, of course; I sit there, seething silently, trying to look like I’m not listening in. If nothing else, I don’t need the hassle—and I don’t have the time to take on every website job I hear talked about. All I can do is the best job I’m capable of, on the projects I do work on.

Still, it doesn’t stop me feeling irritated when people start talking about layout tables, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

9rules member

People talking about AJAX are the worst, for me. I saw someone in a web development forum say that someone could do something with “either AJAX or PHP” - sorta like saying “you can have pizza or a laptop for dinner”.

Someone else in the same forum very proudly posted this atrocity.

/me shudders

I would like the laptop for dinner, please.

I feel that same way, hearing other people talk about TR and TD, and knowing that they’re speaking about particular layout techniques. Slowly though, things are changing. I think that in 2006, we’ll see more wide-spread adoption of standards, and a lack of tolerance in general for antiquated coding methods. It’s time for those who cannot adapt to find other outlets for their skills, going back to print, etc.

I totally agree with you.

Strangely enough, these are the people that get most clients when there are so many talented people out there that should deserve those clients instead of these so-called ‘professionals’.


Unfortunately, of course, there are lots of institutions out there which are yet to hear of the word or probably just too lazy to make amendments to their curriculum.


Paragraphs are added automatically. HTML is allowed; code enclosed in <code> tags will be automatically escaped.