In a recent article, Gene Foxwell, a senior web developer for Envision Online, likens an Internet without standards to trying fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s frustrating, time consuming and a lost cause.
Foxwell uses an analogy of a child trying to build a structure with both LEGOs and off-brand bricks. Though they may look similar, the two different types of bricks won’t fit together, no matter how hard you try.
“As children, many of us had the joy of playing with the magical little multi-coloured plastic blocks commonly known as LEGO. Almost miraculously, these simple interlocking bricks could be combined into nearly any shape we could imagine. Sadly, nearly everyone at one point or another also ran into the toy’s arch nemesis: the monstrously terrible off-brand bricks.”
On the surface, web browsers look like they all do the same job: display web pages across different operating system configurations. However, as any usability or QA specialist will tell you, web code does not by nature work ubiquitously across browsers or operating systems. Yet when standards are used, the web development becomes much more streamlined, reliable, and manageable.
This is one of the reasons Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee helped form the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The approach? Develop standards for the web in a global, market-driven, collaborative and fair process. The goal? To save developers time, drive the development of better internet and web based experiences, foster interoperability and compatibility, drive innovation, improve performance and foster efficiency. The outcome? The technology “building blocks” that have been created using this model have revolutionized the web and changed the world. The model has not only worked for decades to drive innovation and advance technology for humanity, it has been instrumental in expanding global markets and drive global economic development.
Despite the success of open technology development models, we live in an era where some believe it’s time for the open, market-driven technology development models to change, becoming more regulated and/or controlled by centralized decision making bodies.
The OpenStand community supports the ongoing use of open technology and standards development principles. We invite standards and technology development professionals as well as industry, education, non-profits and standards development organizations to stand with us as advocates for a future where technology development is open, market driven and globally accessible.