SXSWi: WaSP Task Force: Getting the Job Done Right

This panel includes Molly Holzschlag, Drew McClellan, Matt May, Jennifer Taylor, Kimberly Blessing, Chris Wilson, and Dori Smith.

WaSP’s push for better standards support in browsers has been successful, so now they have moved on to more specialized topics. They have formed task forces to deal with these particular problems. For example, there is a DOM scripting task force, a Dreamweaver task force, and so on.

Molly described the Acid2 test, which was meant to test browsers or rendering agents for HTML, CSS, PNG, etc. This test was sponsored by Opera and written by Opera. This has evolved into a proposal for Acid3 as a rendering agent testing device. Acid3 will be a suite of tests developed collaboratively by a group of software makers, browser makers and others.

Dori talked about the DOM scripting task force. Enough browsers support JavaScript now that it’s time to generate best practices for JavaScript and to treat JavaScript as a real programming language. This task force is primarily, then, talking to client side scripters and trying to educate them about the best ways to implement standards and best practices. They are working toward unobtrusive scripting, which means accessible scripting, graceful degradation, usability is enhanced by the use of JavaScript, and behavior is separated from content in the same way that CSS separates content from presentation.

Jen talked about the Dreamweaver task force. Adobe now understands the importance of standards and accessibility because of this task force and has made decisions for the software tools that make it easier for users to create accessible web designs.

Kimberly discussed the education task force. The objects are to advocate teaching standards in programs that teach web development, IT, MIS, and CIS programs. The second objective is to create the use of standards in academic sites. YEEHAW! Go Kimberly! This task force focuses on outreach and a proliferation project. They also participate in higher ed events that support web development, such as HighEdWebDev. This task force will be putting a series of questionnaires on the WaSP web site to explore the options for progress in the education area.

Chris talked about the Microsoft task force. He wants to help WaSP be successful in guiding Microsoft and has worked on standards within Microsoft since 1995.

Photos at Flickr

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