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The W3C: Guiding Web Development

Updated on May 16, 2016

Published: November 18, 2011

What looks fine on Netscape Navigator would not display as well on Internet Explorer. Scripts perform some of the same actions and integrating web sites with databases poses impossible constraints on the programmer. These are the issues taken on by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

No single entity controls the design or use of the Internet or the World Wide Web. However, there are organizations that guide the development of those entities. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops the Internet related standards for communication functions, such as routing and switching. The W3C develops standards for content and presentation. These standards reflect the various revisions of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language (XHTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Many of the W3C initiatives revolve around separating the data, presentation, and logic contained within web pages. Web designers use HTML or XHTML to present information on web pages. CSS provides methods for web designers to control the format of the information they present on those web pages. XML describes data and designers use XML to exchange information between web enabled applications.

The likelihood that the above-mentioned technologies would have transpired without the involvement of the W3C is quite low and the now common interactive dynamic web pages would not flow across the Internet. Web developers could struggle along designing web sites differently for each possible web browser that users might use to visit those sites. This was the norm before the W3C took on the tasks of standardization.

Before the W3C started developing standards, web browsers and web servers did not always play well together. There were no standards and browser publishers implemented HTML commands differently. A web designer would need familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of whatever browsers may connect to the site under development and code the site accordingly.

The ease of formatting a site using styles would also lack were CSS not developed. Therefore, the importance of the W3C to web site designers may be extracted from the accomplishments of the organization. The W3C creates the de-facto standards for Internet content development.

Aside from developing standards for the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the W3C also offers resources for web designers from novice to veteran. The w3c makes available tutorials free of charge in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, among others. These tutorials aid designers determine the proper syntax for specific statements and also offer examples.

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