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Chapter 1. Designing for a Variety of Browsers > The Importance of Standards

1.6. The Importance of Standards

The Internet was built on standards. When a need for functionality was identified (email attachments, for example) a person or group proposed a system to make it work. After a discussion phase, the proposal was made public in the form of a Request for Comments (RFC). The RFC process is overseen by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet (see http://www.ietf.org for more information). Once the kinks were worked out, other developers adopted the method and a standard was born.

The Web, with its early explosion of excitement and opportunism, skipped over this traditional standards process. Although the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a group of industry experts and professionals who guide the evolution of the Web) began working on HTML standards in 1994, the browser software companies didn't wait for them.


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