Victus Spiritus


Retrofitting the Web

07 Mar 2011

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) along with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) have gone through a number of major design iterations over the past twenty years. One of the most profound advantages of the design is that they're driven by friction between the the World Wide Web Consortium and major browser vendors. While the standards become finalized, many vendors introduce their own custom implementations, and these are folded back into the standard. For example here is a gradient implemented in CSS for Webkit and Mozilla browsers:

The benefits of retrofitting the existing standard include optimization of existing functionality:

And the adaption of new or changed features:

The beauty comes together from a type of design gravity revolving about a core that is the web as we know her. Thousands of passionate developers in small companies are joined by dedicated experts in larger organizations, and a committee that understands the importance of consistent functionality between implementations (write once, works everywhere).

Related pages/references: