This is an interesting read for those into the silliness of standards-land: http://annevankesteren.nl/2014/08/attributes
enjoy : )
Yeah, web standards are a mess and with backward compatability requirements its only going to get worse. Its like not, as with a language, say you are going to release html 7.x or 8.x, where the versions make a clean break from the previous versions with possible api changes. Unfortunately, with the web, being entangled with so many different software technologies, is permanently stuck, and the necessary changes to clean up the mistakes of the past are not even remotely possible.
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But far from an unnecessary matter. I'd think that especially IE would still have caused us web devvies much more headaches if it weren't for the W3C standards. And how about the advancements in HTML and CSS? For example, the nightly HTML5.1 specifications by the W3C prescribe that browsers build in a function that makes tables sortable. I happen to be working on a project where we need tables to be sortable, and currently we need jQuery plus a jQuery plug-in for it...
Or just think about how much code/coding it took in the past, plus images, to make rounded corners... Now, it is simply a matter of one CSS declaration... I wonder whether that would have been cross-modern-browser possible without the standards.