Peter Krantz has posted a summary of the NZ government's compliance with their new e-government guidlines. A few points have come out of this.
HTML, not XHTML
Roger Johansson questioned the promotion of HTML over XHTML. I think that probably has to do with the speed at which governments move. The first draft of these was released in August 2001 and it's only now that they're looking at mandating complicance. Chances are, there's a lot of "2001 thinking" embedded in the guidelines, a time at which XHTML would have been too experimental to provide support to older browsers.
However, a lot of RFPs for new NZ government sites are coming out specifying XHTML compliance as a requirement. So it seems as though the exemption is readily granted ;-)
Lack of compliance
Peter mentioned that the January 1st, 2006 deadline for compliance seems ambitious, given that only 5.7% of sites validated. There's a couple of factors that I think come into play here:
* "Standardisation on Microsoft" is a delightfully common theme, which has led to such joys as Sharepoint-based intranets being set up, which will be "too expensive to make compliant".
* It's not clear what, if any, power the E-government unit has to enforce compliance, or punish non-compliance.
So despite the heavy-handed wording, these things will always be guidelines rather than rules.
Still, we're proud to say that SilverStripe is fully XHTML compliant, including the content that people enter - it's automatically stripped to semantic code and transformed to valid XHTML before anything is saved.
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