TPAC 2007: Session 2: View from the Outside: Real World Perspectives on the W3C
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Steve Bratt: All right, let me go on and start the real meat of the day. It's my pleasure to turn the floor over to Molly Holzschlag, to my right here. One of the things we want to do is build the community of designers and developers and we've asked Molly to organize a session from people who have not spent their lives working at W3C. She is an excellent candidate to do that being an independent education and outreach expert. She translates the work that you do into language that the people out there, actually developing and designing Web sites. I turn the microphone over to Molly.
>> How are you doing today? Everybody got a good night's sleep? As Steve said, I am Molly Holzschlag. I am very honored to be here today for the very reason that Steve is describing. I think this particular event is a historic one. We see an incredible shift in the wind. I feel that for the last several years, we have noted in the industry at large an opening up of businesses, of organizations. Everything the Web touches it seems to force a paradigm shift. If the web touches a corporation that corporation must shift in order to change and accommodate the way we work. We work differently than the old [indiscernible ] of that nature. One of the exciting things is being in the W3C which has often been received as the ivory tower of the Web. Insiders who are creating specifications for who? Perhaps the implementers perhaps the authors. There has been a disconnect between what W3C has been doing over the years and what people really want, need and are concerned about that are working on the ground. I don't know -- we do not have any VGA? One of the things that I kind of am looking at metaphorically what is going on. I don't know if anyone is familiar with cabbalistic beliefs, but this is something that has interested me since I was young. This is a card from the tower. It goes in with that perception of an ivory tower. What this particular card signifies, according to some of history, psychologist, and other people who have studied visual ideologies that have been expressed as the cabala, this is a passage in time in people or industrial history and where a shift gets made. Where if something brings the wall down, something brings the ivory tower down. While it looks dramatic and painful and it is often change is difficult. It is often too difficult change. The message is when we get to that process we can begin to rebuild the foundation and therefore, much more strongly. I think we are in a very fascinating time. This is the time, the time of opening. A more wonderful time could not exist in W3C for that to happen. You will hear others talk about that during the day the openness, the transparent process and how that can be a great advantage to W3C and the people that it serves. I would like to -- I have the panel join me. I'm very honored, various people from different walks of the Web world. I'll have them individually introduce them selves. We will start with Aaron.
>> I have my own consulting company. I do a lot of work for the Web standard project. I am a member of the CSS 11 which is a group of designers and developers who help clarify some of the specs. I am very excited to be here and thankful that you all are interested in hearing outside perspective on what we think of the W3C. I will be coming from both the designer/developer perspective and also an educator perspective because I do a lot of training for corporations and a lot of public speaking.
>> I am Patrick. I work at Harvard University and work on course and department sites throughout Harvard. I do most of the design, HTML development. That is why I am here.
>> Of course, me.
>> My name is Matthew and I can't press the green light. I currently work at the math works. I focus on the Web and do a lot of user community. I have professionalize mostly in large corporations and design and usability and Web application. So if you didn't hear the first part, it was really great. That is why I will wrap it up with
>> My name is Stephanie Troeth. I work in an interactive Web agency in Canada. We cater for helping companies establish the interactive strategy on line and help build sites.
With that, what we decided to do we sat down and began to drill down on some ideas and thoughts and concerns we had, as working developers and designers and manager of real world web sites, many of them very large websites. We came up with a number of questions to discuss here. Offer possible solutions, too, and open it up to the wider discussion here in the room by Q&A. This is a topic that interests you. We will have time at the break to continue questions and answers and we will have a birds of feather table lunch today. If you are interested in continuing this conversation, feel free to join us at coffee and at lunch. What I would like to do is talk a bit about what the role of specification, Web standard really is. I think some of the difficulty that we see, some of the gap that needs to be bridged in what language comes out of W3C and what resources are needed by designers and developers. There is often a difference in language, and vocabulary that is used. Anybody want to jump in on that?
>> I can jump in first. There are multiple things working -- at work in terms of how the specs are interpreted by us in the real world. First of all, it comes down to knowing who your audience is and who it is you are writing the specifications for. A lot of times it seems like the specifications are written for the implementers so people making the browsers, which is great, but unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, a certain ambiguity within the specs lead to different browsers doing different interpretations of CSS properties or only implementing certain elements and avoiding other elements. That is kind of one of the problems. The other problem is from a developer perspective trying to learn about CSS or HTML, it becomes very difficult to grasp the language of what is going on because the word choices, the nomenclature is not always immediately apparent, what exactly somebody is trying to express. I imagine it can only get worse, which is not your native language. That is certainly one thing from our perspective that we see a lot, people trying to read the specs and get frustrated or falling asleep.
>> Stephanie, you're bringing up a situation as well in terms of this very issue over breakfast where the language is a considerable concern?
>> One of the favorite examples I use is those of us who work – and if you come from a culture whereby the two are already out of context and trying to CSS, I do often get into conversation with folks who say why is it so hard for other countries?
>> Very good point. Matthew, you were talking a bit about the nomenclature this
morning. I thought it would be appropriate to perhaps retell?
>> I made a lot of jokes this morning.
>> I only heard one.
>> I just wanted to back up a little bit. When we were having our discussion in preparing for this, and one of the questions Molly asked was how do web standards affect you, and my answer was "they don't really because a lot of people I work with barely know how to use them." There are a couple of steps beyond using font tag, but not that far,
because there are developers who didn't grow up in the web world. They are struggling with them as well.
>> I think that is a very common issue. You're talking about words, and Matthew spoke over breakfast and the last seven words is that I don't understand.
>> I thought here it was a very good metaphor.
>> In talking with the panel, they have used a lot of words I am not used to using because I am not really involved with the technical aspect of the Web as much. I know enough to talk to developers. I know enough to know what code looks like, good and bad, but I don't really use that kind of language. I approach a lot of this usability standpoint, but really from a business standpoint and how to implement this and negotiate with people to do things properly. The different language barriers that exist within the different groups that have to deal with standards is something I have to work with every day, and it's one of the things that is always a challenge.
>> Then, you would have to say that standards do affect your work?
>> Standards absolutely do affect me It seems sometimes they are non-existent.
>> One thing I'd like to add that popped into my head is Matthew was talking.
The language really does have a cost. By developers not being able to understand the specs, that takes them over to understand what it is they are supposed to be doing with them, and it ends up costing their companies more money and they have to have more training, the lack of clarity from a developer's perspective ends up costing the employer more money and that is not a good thing.
>> I think that is a very good point. Patrick, any issues you'd like to discuss?
>> I find myself in the book that Matthew is in. I come from more of a design perspective, not much from a development perspective. Technical words, like he said,
there's a lot of words this morning that I don't hear very often, such as intrinsic.
[ LAUGHING ]
>> Nomenclature, for example. I work with the -- the developers, I work with very closely, but I don't have to worry about that sort of thing. So sometimes I find
myself trying to understand things a little bit more than I would like to understand and get to my job.
>> I am in a different position.
>> They are having trouble hearing somebody. They are having trouble hearing me?
[ LAUGHING ]
>> That may be a first.
>> I am wired. They need to turn the volume up. Is that good? Stephanie?
>> I have to remember what I was trying to say.
>> Can't hear you, either.
>> Is this any better? No?
>> Can you get more volume on that, please?
[ LAUGHING ]
>> There we go.
>> I have to remember what I was trying to say. I am in a different position. I am able to read specifications and implement them, but at the same time, I have a bunch of junior
developers I have to help train. The cost is there as well, not because in the training itself, but just for them to reach the level whereby we once achieved. For example, let's say we make web standards or comply on code. As part of what we produced the cost that goes with that to the company, the client, that is actually a discouraging factor. It takes a lot of pressure to push management to say, you need to get this out there. Things have to be valid. Things have to be accessible.
>> It is a huge struggle. I know from my own experience where you have a situation like a big company where somebody does want to move things forward and they have to become internal evangelist. Which is probably one of the hardest jobs. Being an external evangelist is actually easier because we can say what we want. We are not risking our jobs. I have seen so many people in a position to move standard forward and even people in this room where people have said that harms them in their work. I think it becomes important to look at that and see how we can better articulate together the core value and of not just the idealistic value to the core value to adopt better practices. This is really a big concern world wide. I definitely feel the pain that Stephanie is in.
>> One of the things to build off of what Stephanie said is often difficult. In some way these standards and specifications are the management in these corporations that I have experience with are an audience member. They maybe not the primary target that you want to reach, but there is someone who writes the check that says "yes, this can't continue." We think this is important, and typically they are only willing to do that when they are signing for it. When is someone like me, who doesn't have the language yet, but who is very good at translating, my life is spent in between business people and developers so I get good at translating. It becomes a challenge, but I would like some help.
>> I think it goes back to that articulation. You forget when we are building specifications it turns into money, human resources issues for businesses. Let's move on to the next question so we can move along. One of the things that we thought of was there were concerns about where competition occurs. Maybe there is a little bit of incorrect perception of where people are competing in terms of the implementation world. Something I talk about a great deal, I like to talk about how standards in W3C and the fact that if you are buying a car, you buy an automobile in the United States, you have a warranty by that company that a certain standard of safety has been addressed. Now, you can determine as that company determines which features to compete on, style, look of the car, all of those types of things. You can also further expand upon your safety, but you all have to adhere to that 1 level of safety standard. Our products stick without that kind of quality assurance. It becomes a real curious question where is it appropriate to compete? Why don't we move to that, folks?
>> I'd really like to see browser's not competing on standards. I'd like to see them competing over browser features, security is a major issue. Browsing was a big thing everybody wanted. Those are the areas I'd like to see innovation coming from browsers and the competition coming from. I'd like to see us get from a base point with browsers where every browser is supporting CSS 2.1, or at least certain aspects, so from a developer perspective we don't have to worry about whether something's going to work in one browser versus another browser to get that taken care of before people start applying bits of CSS, because that is where you are --
>> I actually said that to people.
>> I don't think it stops innovation. I think the reason we have all the innovation that we do on the web, especially in the Java script world, is because we have the firm foundation standard. Without that solid base line we would not be able to be where we are because I'm sure most of you remember the dark days of HTML and having the right Java, you ended up with lots of code. It wasn't fun. I think that was why I hated Java for a number of years and I started to come back to it once I realized I had this nice semantic rich script and that fuels' innovation and allows us to create more interesting stuff on the Web. I don't think we would be where we are today with out web 2.0.
>> I think what we need to understand in that conversation is what are we trying to innovate? Are we looking at innovating the platform? What are we innovating on? Are we looking at trying to evolve the platforms, or are we here to facilitate the rest of the information to the rest of the world? If we are thinking of being stuck on innovation just on the platforms, I think we are being short-sighted. We are trying to build technology so that everybody can have access to information.
>> I think that is very true. There seems to be a misperception, if anybody has a different opinion, let me know. A misperception that the standards inhibit innovation. It seems to me the Web at this point in history is very untrue. The adherence to specifications gives us the platform that Aaron is alluding to in order to go beyond the limitation of that platform. Anybody have a comment there?
>> I have a quick comment. I kind of agree with the fact that. I don't know how many people work with CSS every day, but there are a lot of times I have to pull back on what I might want to do on the design because I know it might not work in a certain browser. I think the lack of a baseline like Aaron was talking about causes me to. I can't do what I want to here so I will just go back to this typical design and not try to innovate further. >> Limitations and not being able to push the envelope because of inconsistent limitation?
>> From my background in large corporations, they are very cold. Mostly they are not trying to innovate on the Web. The Web isn't their core product, the core way they interact with people. They see it as another channel to get to their customers and pretty much all they want to be able to do is take all of that data on what previously was accessed character based UI and was programmed in COBOL and pushed all that stuff out through Web application so that people can use them and basically they're just trying to keep another channel open to their customers, they're not trying to innovate specifically for the Web.
>> Can't they see it will come to a halt and not be able to serve them beyond a certain period of growth?
>> No. I think they do see it to some extent now, but when they started basically it was hey, let's go make that web thing. If we can go make money on it we can do that. As far as innovation, they're looking to get the data through people so they can make decisions so they can pay their bills, buy insurance.
>> They are not in it for the love that they are doing, that is not their primary goal? How do you feel -- how that makes you feel and what can you advocate what can you do to help people understand the way things are going through W3C? How this can enable them and not keep them disabled by that?
>> I have to talk in terms of if we coded this differently, the page wait will be less so it will be serving faster Web pages which will make your customers happy. Sending less data over the Web. I know at this point that's not a big deal between a 30K and a 50K page for a lot of people in the U.S. But it adds up over time and it costs money. That is how I frame the discussions with these people, is how can I save you money and how to make you money. When I start talking in terms of money and think that's when they'd start looking.
>> I experience that as well and I think other people have, too. Especially with companies -- people on the grounds of the technology. I want to understand it better and how to do their job better and make life easier on themselves. It is interesting. I think there is a cultural shift as I was saying in the opening remarks. And now, it is coming from the bottom up. When the web touches something, it forces a shift. It seems like where we were coming from the top down, the hierarchy of business organization, now there seems to be a bottom-up phenomenon where people on the ground are having to fight their way to get what they need to keep the companies running. It's a fascinating, very difficult problem in the industry. It's a good place to be talking about this because it relates to what I believe is the gap between the articulation of what we have with technology and how that works in the world. Any further comments on this question?
>> Jump in quickly. I actually had a conversation with Alex Russell who is [indiscernible]. He did an interesting session earlier this year. It was called the standard heresy. The reason is because he feels like the innovation is not there from the Web Community. He put together the timeline of when things happened and is very disheartened by the massive gaps. One point to him, and some of you may disagree philosophically, but the tools are there to enable innovation by outside people. If the dojo tool kit wants to innovate and add an element, add an attribute to the page, they can do that using HTML. Same thing goes with CSS. If people want to put in CSS properties that are not part of the standard there is a way to do that using the extensions within CSS. You can do that and pick up that sort of stuff with Java script. If it ends up being something that people actually want to use, maybe that ends up coming back full circle and W3C puts it into the spec. Innovation not necessarily coming from a browser vendor, but somebody in the community and interested in creating new widgets or what have you, can actually do that sort of thing.
>> That's very interesting. Alex Russell has an interesting take on that. The next question is process and the W3C. As we are all sitting here today we realize there is a shift occurring in the way we work. ICD HTML, the phenomenon that has occurred with HTML, and it is transparent and anybody can become involved. You have a real shift about how the working group is handled. So I think that improvements are already in place. There has been from the community in general, a lot of difficulty when specs -- it is like the specifications and implementations are completely out of sync with each other. 2.1 is a candidate recommendation, so what do browser's do? Do they do draconian error handling? Do they follow 2.1 at this point? Do they start adding stuff with CSS? It comes difficult from an implementation standpoint as well as from a development standpoint. One of the things we discussed is how the process can be improved and I am a strong advocate of opening up the process as much as possible. Of course, even in that environment there has to be moderation and control. I will start on this one. I think there is a fair amount of openness in the process that is not very well communicated. The perception when maybe two or three people -- the notion is where are the other people? Where do we start speaking? Some it is hard to find. You already know how the process works. Which is not unreasonable. Perhaps the timeline would be for the faster moving corporate world but it is mostly that communication problem I think we have.
>> Coming back down to the articulation of communication, the education and outreach has always been. I think there might be historical -- if we can clarify, there has been a historical issue that the W3C may not have been prepared or interested at the point of its emergence in doing that outreach, like the Web standard project or educationally related groups would take on that role of bringing that information to the masses. The problem is that hasn't really worked. Right now, you are all in space surfing a website that you have never been to before. How many people are going to see a valid page that is accessible and following best practices?
>> One thing -- audio technical difficulty -- one thing that was brought up the first day is the working group is not marketing. To advocate on your behalf. I think it is interesting and it is kind of a conundrum. How people from an academic background deal with a chopping [indiscernible ] -- There hasn't been a whole lot of communication with the outside world in terms of what is going on, what development is taking place. I am encouraged because I see that stuff starting to change, push the working groups a little bit further. That is encouraging. Trying to have the CSS blog and that sort of thing is encouraging. We were talking about ways to bring in communications from outside of that particular core group to actually start having more conversation with the development community.
>> I am not sure it belongs to this question or later. In software development, we've got about 34 years of history there, often in the more flexible interactive days as we call it the waterfall model doesn't work. What you have is a new wave developers. You set your goals to be more short-term. I had the privilege of working on such a project where week by week review, that way, you end up not trying to create a perfect product out of a box but it evolves. That is sometimes frustrating because it seems to never end, but at the same time it means that your team and people say we've done something this week. It is more responsive and, for example, it needs a change. You have the means to adapt because you have not planned out all of your Phases three months ahead.
>> One of the things about the process is they're a frustration. People will tell you what the heck is going on? CSS 3.0, will we ever see these things? They begin to doubt very seriously, because of the lack of perhaps agility that exists in the process. The other side of that argument is the process was written in such a way as to insure that everybody gets their say. There's got to be some way to mitigate that. I don't know that any of us have the answers but certainly take a look at the issues. Any other comments or ideas on that? I am a strong advocate on the evolution. Bringing those kinds of ideas to the working group --
>> At the end of the day, we have to give ourselves that leverage we are human.
>> One of the things that is kind of interesting to me and I am speaking from the outside, I think there is a real question within at least that working group and probably some of the others as to where should innovation be driving and what is the general vision? Where is it we want to go and a lot of times working groups don't take the pulse of the development community at large and you kind of run the risk of involving academic exercises which are not very useful to the developing community as a whole. It's important to get a sense of vision, or at least every now and then run a question out there and say, "what do you guys want to see?"
>> I think that is something, talking about with various members of the W3C, I myself have had that conversation. I would like to see more of that personally. Take the temperature of the working world. Take it before each product is made and I think that would be very helpful as well. Testing.
>> I think used cases even more so.
>> Test, challenge by that all the time. It is interesting. I think that overall, there is a perception among the working web designers who are at least paying attention to what is going on in W3C, they are seeing there is a shift in process. I think that, again, bringing a perception of the powers down, by the community at large. A closed group that has not been transparent, that is the perception by and large. Changing that perception is a very important first step. One thing that consistently bothers me when I'm doing test cases is that I come across a great example directly. I come across browsers, defaulting to whatever spec they are following or choosing their own way of handling an error so that different browsers will get different results for a different error. One of the problem is that as people work on the web, because there is a lack of education, the working Web developer-designer begins to get highly frustrated because he or she is seeing results that are inconsistent and they begin to blame technology, blame themselves on the fact of the matter is there is a fundamental lack of coordination that is nobody's fault, it is just the nature of an evolutionary and revolutionary technology.
>> Speaking from a usability perspective again. I watch people try and do things on the web quite a bit. When they can't do something or they don't understand something they don't blame the W3C. They don't blame the technology. They blame themselves, and they feel stupid. So it is, hopefully, my job to feel empowered and not stupid. But a lot of that is outside of my control and outside of my influence because of the realm that I work in and I would like to see common goals and priorities as well to help the end user get through their day without feeling like an idiot.
[ LAUGHING ]
>> People said there if anyone has ever seen the usability test for being involved in one, the participant just begins to loathe themselves for something the UI isn't doing or the browser is incapable of doing or is inconsistent with how it communicates and I feel bad when that happens.
>> I think one thing that is interesting to think about is how much time we as developers try and get the CSS to work across all the browsers and how that time can be put to use actually doing usability test so people don't feel stupid when using our website. That would be a good trade-off to get browsers on a baseline and fairly consistent results across browsers, then we can focus on making the experience much better.
>> I think that is a strong point and key issue that is missing is there is no consistency in test cases. I saw something very interesting. I was over in London and visiting Dean Edwards. He is a very fine Java scripter. What he had done in the interface he was working on specifications for a Java library and the interface he had all the spec details in the left hand and on the right-hand was the actual rendering and behavior. To me that was like what if we did that with specifications where suddenly you not have the wording, but you see the way that the implementer should be implementing? That was a revelation to me. We don't have that intermediary step where everybody is sitting down perhaps outside of W3C that says "okay. Now that we've got these specifications, how are we going to deal with error handling?" How are we going to make things work? It is not only a flaw in software development. How do we help alleviate that pain. We would be in a better position if we can begin addressing that.
>> Very quickly. You mentioned something about error handling and how their browsers do it differently and sometimes just make up something. I've heard many times and have actually heard this sentence said, "it's a standard we've adopted to fit our needs." Which means it's not a standard. But they still consider it we're calling it a standard. We just tweaked it to what we are trying to accomplish. Maybe they are -- potentially not, because there is the use case. Do we know what all of the use cases are?
>> This came about, we had a conversation in Paris in April and there were a lot of W3C folks there and Microsoft, a number of folks. We were having a discussion and Nokia was there and they were talking about how they do third-party testing in the wireless community and that was a very interesting model, something that should be looked at by the W3C how to get some consistency. The last question we are going to look at today is how we address what all this comes down to is the critical challenge of outreach and education. W3C is not a marketing facility. It is meant as an organization to create specs and have the ideology of moving the Web forward. That is part of our call to action. How do we as people working inside of the education and outreach, how do we get empowered? I'd like to take a look at that issue as well any comments on that.
>> One thing I want to mention coming from the University background, I've been working for just over four years now, most of the university is very decentralized, so it's hard to get different departments to work with each other and what is difficult for the university to talk to each other, you have things like specifications you can't decide on, it is even harder for all these different groups to decide how should we implement a standard across all the web sites? These groups don't talk in the first place. It makes things more difficult, I find.
>> Aaron, you've been involved in a great deal of training?
>> I will say this, I think the W3C -- is an advocacy for the W3C Act is suffering from a crisis development. The Web developing community at large is somewhat dissatisfied with seemingly glacial face which is suspect and moving. Which I say seemingly, because I know there has been progress, but it hasn't always bubbled up and been apparent to the community at large. I think there are ways as I talked about the CSS working group starting to do more blogging going on certainly being more open. I think those are all good steps. I am really encouraged by the fact that CSS working group is interested in working with organization, and even ad hoc organizations like CSS 11, I think that is all very good and I would like to see more of that and see more of a conversation. It's good to see some of the list opening up and communication with the outside world and I think the more of that the better, certainly.
>> Is there a final comment?
>> I actually have one comment. It is about whether specifications have to be a particular level. Do you have to have a level of technical competency? It is fascinating to me from the very start of the session we were talking about nomenclature and vocabulary. I don't think it is necessarily about whether someone is at a competency level to understand what you are writing. I think being able to write that information and also that all the different organizations involved in making this specification happens, the Web developer, the browsers, everybody understand and be able to pass the information on. If people believe in what you are doing, they will cheer for you.
>> I think there is another problem that I am just going to touch on. I think the tag group -- there certainly seems to be a lack of continuity between various specs. For example, we were talking in this meeting about nomenclature of vocabulary, and how we -- there's an ideology that we want a keeping that's intuitive and consistent as possible. I think there doesn't seem to be any overarching group. There was the quality assurance, that is gone. It seems like there is something in there making sure all the working groups are not just working on their own, generally more cohesive and collective. That is one of the things that come to my mind. We will wrap up and then important Q&A. We have to clarify in order to make them more articulate to the people that [ indiscernible ]. Transparent development cycles. This can help with the agile and open process and give people a better sense of when and where to begin implementing or pushing the envelope or when you can begin to innovate beyond a certain point. Keeping an open dialogue with the community. That's one of the things I often say to companies, teach each other what you know, all of that. Finally, compete on the user interface and features but not on the standards. I'd like to open the floor to Q&A at this time.
>> I have a couple of questions.
>> Please, if you would like to come up and ask a question there are microphones. If you don't want to come up to the microphone and don't like the sound of your voice, you can send it directly to me on the IRC chat. How much developer designer frustration is related to implementation not keeping up to standard and how much to the actual spec?
>> Read it again.
>> How much of the frustration is due to the spec and how much is due to the implementation not actually keeping up with the spec?
>> From my background it is the implementation. I would be suspect if anybody I've worked with in the past 10 years has read the specs. They have tried.
>> Can we say thanks to these folks for coming, first?
[ APPLAUSE ]
>> I think we can all do a better job of managing expectations around CSS and stuff like that. I am co-chairing the group with Microsoft. We're certainly going to have a conversation on Saturday about how this is a 20 year effort. I have been saying I'm out of here in 18 months. Absolutely. The organizations are about making the progress predictable. The company has early access to the change end users want to have rallying and they want to wait a certain amount of time, but not too much time, and you can renegotiate expectations things like that. That is all near and dear to my heart. The other thing is storytelling and test cases. I guess there will be some kind of voting mechanism later.
>> I want to point out very strongly to everybody if there is a criticism in this conversation it is meant to be constructive. We're not here to be battling. We are here to be working together. If you are hearing negativity, it is not that we ourselves are negative. We are representing a truly frustrating group of people. If things change we will all benefit. There is some IRC. Let's do a IRC question.
>> The words web standards ensure hand me [ indiscernible ]
>> I think it is both of those things. Clearly there is problems in the process. The time frame issues as well as the fact we speak to this issue of there not being a huge gap in education. There are really nightmare stories out there of people who end up in college and they're taking a class in web design and the instructor is teaching them how to use Dreamweaver. And the instructor says file, new, insert table and there is actually a case where a woman had been doing studies of the standard and developed a web site for the course. She wrote the web site in accordance with standards of practice and good Java script and she failed the course because she didn't adhere to the fact that she was supposed to build the site and tables the instructor had no idea what CSS was. These stories exists. We have a situation in education that is very, very serious until we are able to prove that these are going to -- it's a hard time.
>> Fortunately, a lot of university and high schools that have stuff like that, they are teaching tools, they're not teaching technology. I was thinking of the story about driving through the desert and driving with the top down and all of a sudden her car overheats has no idea -- pretty soon she is going to become buzzard food. It's a good little analogy for the fact that people spend so much time in Dreamweaver when something goes wrong they have no clue what exactly they need to do. That ends up costing the business more money and all comes down to people teaching specifically as opposed to teaching technology. It comes down to the fact it's hard to teach technology because this point there's so many hoops have to jump through. My style sheets are smaller now than they were even two years ago but it all comes from knowing what the problems are. We don't have that in education yet.
>> I would like to go to David.
>> I want to take issue with the statement he made that we shouldn't compete. In one sentence the fundamental problem with that is who decides on list of standards we don't compete there's a lot of people in this room not all that many work on CSS. Are you saying every Web browser should implement HTML?
>> So, David what I think it is that we have to prioritize the technologies that people are using in the real world. When you're working at a bank and trying to provide a workable web site to build an application, having your tool kit you have to go by what the priorities are in the world rather than what they might be. It means put focus and emphasis on what is needed now and what people are asking for. I thank you made a good point, what standard? That is the bias we're going to have but these are the people that are having the most difficult time out there and that's why this conversation took place. In the marketing world, if you like and I know for the most part it is not something everyone else is interested, but it happens a lot. Their idea of sending messages to other people about their product, one of the highest yields is via email. Because all email or their clients -- we have resorted to using very bad code in order to have a rich graphic experience that completely undermines what we are fighting for a share. I can tell you there is a lot of bad code.
>> I completely agree. I think there is a further thing to David's question which is a chicken and the egg question. Do you implement something that isn't standard because you imagine people are going to use it or you wait for people beginning to use it? That's where test cases come in, what are the uses of this particular technology? Making some sort of judgment, there has to be some group that decides what are the most important things? 10 people rallying, you kind of have to make those judgments and make decisions what the cases are and how much weight to give each of them. I think that is a good place to start.
>> Looks like we have a follow up.
>> I think a lot of the frustration should be -- had been avoided if browser's had been implemented early on. If they had CSS tables which made it much easier [ indiscernible ]. There are many reasons that didn't happen. I think if browser's work better we wouldn't have all the frustration with the specs. Improving browser quality is very important and one way of doing that is testing and writing a specific kind of test. It's developed as the one web page. Once it is rendered you get a smiley face on your screen all major browsers' now pass the test. That means designers can go to a whole new world. I think other specs should do the same kind of thing. It's good to have other tests but have one acid test. Being involved -- they should be done collaboratively and not by a small group of people from one company. That would be my suggestion for the future.
>> This should be a community effort.
>> Thank you.
>> The problems of the big corporate world, we have 150,000 desktops. This is an immense problem to deal with. We just cannot be upgrading our browser every time something new comes out, we cannot deal with plug-ins and extensions. We need support of basic standards in the browser and of course the question that David raised is which standard? Maybe the acid test that we just discussed is a good way to go. We cannot tolerate vendors who are elaborating and inventing in the browser. The whole benefit of the Web to us is the ability to put content in one place and everybody in the company can read it regardless of which kind of platform they are on. It is tremendously important that be able to occur. We cannot -- we have something between 10 and 20 million pages. We can't rewrite content every time some new browsers thing comes out. My colleague Scott is here. If you want to meet him I will introduce you. He handles all the browsers in the country. It is an immense time waste.
>> We are running very out of time. Not to cut you off, we are continuing the conversation. I know a lot of people are concerned about these relationships. Bring your colleagues. We have a half hour of break and then we have lunch. >> I want to say developers need better training and you might be worried about the latest thing in CSS.
>> I wanted to thank you for coming. This panel is part of the discussion that we started too late but we are happy to finally get under way even a year-and-a-half ago. I am very happy to say that we will be -- we're already working on a site redesign. We're talking more with developers. We're talking about a W3C blog. Getting more communities involved. I think this is one of the only ways we can scale an area of outreach in education.
>> Please stand by for real‑time captioned text.
>> Thanks again. Enjoy your break and be back promptly at 10:30.
>> W3C on a 30 minute break. Until 10:30.
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