Last weekend I spent about 25 hours developing a prototype for a meeting we had with a potential client on the Monday. We started with a blank page at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and by 10:00 p.m. Sunday we had a pretty much fully functioning prototype which had a great design (in my opinion) and all the functionality that we intended to demonstrate.

While developing this prototype I only concentrated on making it work within Firefox, as that was our demonstration platform. Usually when developing, especially with XHTML and CSS, I can see the areas that will be a problem in other browsers and apply hacks at the time. Not having to do this made the entire development so much easier, I concentrated on developing with standards in mind and with Prototype & Script.aculo.us for the JavaScript I could be certain that the results in the browser were exactly what I intended when I refreshed.

At the end of the development when I was handing it over to the person who was to do the presentation I explained how much easier it was to not have to worry about hacking around to fix issues in certain browsers, at which point he asked what it would look like in Internet Explorer. I hadn’t checked as there was no need to, so I fired it up out of curiosity and even I was shocked by the mangled results; everything was wrong, some parts were missing completely.

My friend remarked “I didn’t know you had to do so much to make it work in IE” and that sad part was that neither did I, it had become second nature to me to spot the majority of these issues in the code and fix them as I’m going along.

Sure I know how to fix most of the issues that I saw in front of me, but I also know that some of the more major ones may have the potential to make me swear at the monitor for a couple of hours.

So I got a glimpse of the future purely by accident and I don’t want to go back, I want that future to be now. From now on I would add the increased speed of development, flexibility and satisfaction (that you actually do know what you’re doing when all these separate area of code are brought together in a browser and work exactly as expected) to any list of reasons to use web standards.

I look forward to a brighter future and only hope that it will be upon us soon.

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