Using Web Standards for Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is exactly that. Ensuring a Web project is of a quality high enough to work on all modern browsers, now and in the future.

This article outlines how Web standards can be used to provide quality assurance and how this benefits a customer.

Past and Future Browser Versions

What is the shelf life of a Web site? A site should last several years without falling apart in new browser versions, there are also older browsers to consider.

Using Web standards can deliver this compatibility, even the infamous Internet Explorer browser is becoming standards compliant. Pressure from the Web design/development community means standards are here to stay, a good thing for designers as sites written now will still be functional for many years to come.

The following is a brief test of compatibility. Using standards (and a small trick of the trade) aPaddedCell serves up just the content of a page to Netscape Navigator 4. Another site, not using standards, is then tested.

The video is in Flash format, as this is not Free an OGG video is also available

This is a Flash placeholder, please see above for alternate to Flash. Or download Flash from Adobe

This does not mean Web designers should be testing in the version four browsers: making their code work perfectly with them, this is probably the first time this site has ever been viewed using that browser. The point is that when using standards it is trivial to make a site work well, even when using ancient browsers!

Making Code Readable

This is easiest to explain by using an example scenario: a Web designer creates a site for a customer, the job goes well and the customer is happy. A couple of years go by, during that time the customer changes their price list, some products cease production and new ones come in. They decide their Web site should be updated to reflect these changes. Unfortunately the designer is no longer available, so they have to hire someone else. Obviously the new designer will not wish to re-create the whole site, so they use the existing code and start to make changes.

This is where Web standards are important. If the designer who built the site used open standards from the W3C, it is much more likely (working under the assumption they are both professionals) that the second designer will understand the firsts' code and find the job a lot easier.

Standards make code readable, they mean any designer can view the source of a site and understand how it works. Moreover a designer will not often return to work they did years before and think: ‘How on Earth did I do that?!’

standardsforqa01.ogg916.36 KB

About the Author

Liam McDermott is the technical bod at The Webmaster Forums. He also writes articles and loves dallying with Drupal. His business site is InterMedia.