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WaSP Baseline Standards Proposal


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has established standards for interpreting Web-based content.WaSP mascot

By releasing browsers which do not uniformly support those standards, browser makers are injuring Web developers, businesses and users alike.

Lack of uniform support for W3C standards makes using and developing Web-based technologies unnecessarily difficult and expensive.

We recognize the necessity of innovation in a fast-paced market. However, basic support of existing W3C standards has been sacrificed in the name of such innovation, needlessly fragmenting the Web and helping no one.

Our goal is to support these core standards and encourage browser makers to do the same, thereby ensuring simple, affordable access to Web technologies for all.

The Details

When we speak about "standards" for the Web, we mean:

Structural Languages
HTML 4.0
XML 1.0

Presentation Languages
Cascading Style Sheets 1
Cascading Style Sheets 2
XSL (under development)

Object Models
Document Object Model 1 Core HTML/XML

ECMAScript (the "official" version of JavaScript)

... as well as emerging standards, such as those for television-based and PDA-based browsers.

These standards were created by W3C (with the exception of ECMAScript) with the intention of balancing the needs of designers for a sophisticated set of presentation and interactive features against the desire to make the Web accessible to the largest possible number of browsers (and other client devices) and environments.

Each layer of a Web document was designed as part of a whole framework to achieve this balance. This is why the separation of structural HTML or XML from the presentation of a document is so important or why having a generic and predictable object model is critical. And it is also why full support of these core standards should be the first priority of browser makers before they attempt to add their product-specific innovations.

HTML, XML, CSS and the DOM are more than just a set of interesting technologies. They are a way of creating Web pages that will facilitate the twin goals of sophisticated and appropriate presentation and widespread accessibility.

It is in developers' own interest to learn to use these technologies in the way they were intended. But doing so is difficult at best currently with the fragmentary, and often incompatible, implementation of these technologies. Creating multiple versions of the same Web page because of incompatibilities among browsers is wasteful and self-defeating for Web developers and their clients. The alternative is to try to resolve the incompatibilities by often complicated workarounds that are costly for developers and their clients - at the cost of preventing Web pages from being flexible enough to be used by emerging television-based and PDA-based browsers.

Consequently, using these technologies to their intended purpose requires not only developers to learn to use them, but also browser makers to live up to their pledges to support them.

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