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Throughout this title, you will hear me refer to the practice of designing our site around Web Standards. Now, if you are new to Web design, that's obviously going to provoke the question: well, what are Web Standards? Well, technically, Web Standards refer to the set of standards and recommendations produced by the World Wide Web Consortium and other related Web technology groups. These standards were created in response to the uneven nature of early browsers and their proprietary features. This made designing sites that looked and functioned the same across multiple browsers very difficult.
By having a set of standards to follow, designers could be assured that their sites would work properly in any standards-compliant browser. Over time, the term Web Standards has also evolved to refer to a set of Web design best practices. Separating style and content, using CSS for layout, and making content accessible, are all often included in the discussion of working within Web Standards. Currently, Web Standards refers to writing clean, valid HTML, providing styling and layout through CSS, and making sure that the content represented by interactive page elements and animations be accessible to all devices, even those that lack the capability to handle complex interactivity.
Dreamweaver supports several standards-based workflows. When creating pages, Dreamweaver generates clean, valid HTML based on the chosen document type. Any styling options in Dreamweaver, even those found within the Properties Inspector, are designed to create valid CSS, properly separated from the content, either through embedded or external styles. Dreamweaver even has Accessibility options that ensure objects being placed on the page are following proper accessibility guidelines. Throughout this title, I will be exploring these workflows and discussing how they fit into the overall discussion of Web Standards.
Finally, I recommend learning as much as you can about the current Web Standards and how they are evolving. Due to the ever-changing nature of the Web, what we refer to currently as Web Standards will likely evolve into entire new workflows, based on the spread of Web technology and how our content is being consumed. Staying current and keeping your eye on new recommendations will make adopting new workflows easier.
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