Notes: WaSP Annual General Meeting

The following are my panel notes from SXSW. As I am not the fastest typer I have paraphrased what was said. Should you notice any mistakes please do point them out in the comments for corrections.

(Jeffery Zeldman notes at the beginning by Steve Marshall and myself; we had to give up with subetha as the network was too slow.)

JZ: Welcome to the WASP first annual meeting. I left the wasp in 2002/2003, it's been in very good hands since then. In 1998, a bunch of us founded the Web Standards Project (Steve Champeon Dori Smith Chris Kaminski), as we were upset about incompatibilities between browsers. Not realising 90% of the benefits, but just out of wanting to code different versions for different browsers. Glenn was the face of the WASP. Posture towards companies - Microsoft - was aggressive. I guess it was like just being 14 years old: we wanted to stick our fingers up and scream at the world.

About 2 years after Glen Davis quit, I talked to this other guy. He said who are you I said I run he'd never heard of it, and went through credits to tell him what I do, but he didn't recognize me. Then I mentioned the WaSP, and he said Oh, Glen's thing'.

Now there's this sort of perception it's my thing, but it was never that. We had some brilliant people looking at how CSS was supposed to work, and looked at how IE was doing it at the time, and worked out what the difference was, and offered free consulting on where the browsers' support of CSS could do better. Anyway that group of people made a huge difference.

There were people who sent out press releases - Sally [someone] - who got attention. We did a 'roadblock' - back in the day when there were 3 TV stations, the stations would put an ad on all at the same time. This message went out on ALA, Web Monkey, and various others, that co-founding members all published to on the same day.

It's amazing and wonderful all that has been accomplished by everyone. We knew how these things had been implemented, but were engineers and knew there was a better way.


John Allsopp: Jeffery says it wasn't his thing. But he was herding cats. I was one of those cats. I used to frequent the CSS newsgroup which was fantastic back them. I'm looking around the room seeing the age difference. A lot of people fought a lot of battles and Jeffery was our leader.

Can you honestly believe that we've got from there to where we are today? Microsoft gets a lot of stick but we do have to remember that IE 3 was the first browser to support CSS. I have supported parts of specs that will never see the light of day. He showed us what we could do with CSS.

Anyone know Gil Scott Heron? He's looking at the rappers of today (it was written a few years ago) in comparison to the poets back in his day.

CSS samurai.
My involvement back then was quite strong back then. Todd Fahrner has left the industry to build bicycles. Known for the Farhner image replacement technique. He had so much passion he was promoting the EM unit. He was the lieutenant rallying the cats. My claim to fame is I introduced Eric Meyer to Jeffery Zeldman. Do I get agent's fees? At the time there was a lot of anger particularly with CSS, which wasn't supported very well. The anger was directed at Netscape because of support issues. Instead of ranting we tried to do something constructive about it. There were 7 of us hence the 7 samurai. We decide we would pick 10 things about IE for win first and we will let them know. Meyer put together test suites for CSS 1. We were clambering over each other to get screenshots of different browsers. What were the things that need to be fixed? IE 4 and 5 Opera we didn't bother with Netscape and then we did IE 5 for the Mac. IE Mac was different a different grade to the win versions. Of all the things that wasp has done over the years a small group of people trying to do something constructive. Those involved in workgroups.

The seven Samurai:
I just want to read out a few of these names, David Baron, Roland Eriksson, Sue Sims (went on to opera). Ken Gunderson, Ian Hickson, Braden McDaniel, Eric Meyer, Liam Quinn and myself. The reason why CSS has happened is largely down to those people.

With what WaSP is doing with Microsoft, which I was sceptical at first but it's about the people there. Those days aren't over it can still be done. I'm proud that we achieved something but it's good to see it carrying on look at the pyramids they didn't carry it on so keep building the pyramids!

Steve Champeon: I feel into the hole when JZ left. I was at a party last night. Who are you and what do you do, lately I fight spam, I founded a mailing list for web developers and I used to write books. And I was co-founder of the web standards project. Oh you used to know JZ? (Laughter)

Andy Clarke: I've been involved with WaSP for a year. When we think back and we can see just how far we have come. This was 2000 with wasp (slide of old site with yellow background) the next version was Dean Allen and Todd Fahrner. It focused much more on taskforces. Pic of Arthur Scargill. I grew up in the eighties when the miner's strike happened. Then there was stuff that we though we could do like overthrow the government. I grew up in mining towns. People made posters in their garages it was a real grassroots thing. When I was asked to be involved with the web standards. We have launched today a new website. (Pic of happy cog) New site unveiled.

Kimberly blessing: thanks to Andy I attribute where I am today due to Duran Duran. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Tantek, Molly and everyone from AOL. I wouldn't have been involved with WaSP; I wouldn't have had the time to put this site together. Chris K did the DOM scripting for the site, Hollery? Colt did a ton of QA on the content.

Molly H: I want to say thanks to everyone. One of the things that we have to offer on our new website is comments. The other night I was in a bar... I'm sure you're all shocked at that. (laughter). Today we have live comments. This is really a testament to thee people that have been so supportive of the WaSP project. We now realise that obviously it's no longer about a closed group of people. That we really want to create a conversation and new era of doing things. It's you and each other. To that end that's why we are having this meeting in the open.

WaSP members:

JKeith: I'm on the DOM scripting task force as joint lead with Dori Smith. We have some plans to put a bit more content up there than the blog. We would like to actively solicit articles. If you want to say something about best practices in JavaScript then send it to use we'll peer review it for you.

Kazuhito Kidachi: From Japan I'm our liaison in Japan. I translated the site into Japanese. I am also introducing some good works in English like JZ standards book and Eric Meyer on CSS. I'm fascinated in web standards and spreading the word of web standards in Japan.

Dori Smith: I'm not a co-founder I joined on day two. I sent an email saying please please can I be involved and they said sure. I also on the MS taskforce and the dreamweaver task force.

Tomas Caspers: I'm one of the guys that checks all of the accessibility of everything wasp puts out. I work in the accessibility task force and work with screen reader manufacturers and make sure they can use everything that you produce.

Stephanie Sullivan. I'm on the DW taskforce it's job is easy thanks to macromedia/Adobe being so wonderful now we'd like to help the user to understand it.

Mark Trammel: I'm new.

Faruk Ates: I'm new; I will be working with people from the education taskforce and helping with comment moderation

Aaron Gustafson: I will also helping education / DOM / comment mode

Forrester? Glend? I arrange events from the Dc area

Tantek 'elik: I've been with WaSP for a year work with the w3c and on microformats.
Drew McClellan: I work on strategy

Simon Willison: I help out where I can
Ian Lloyd: I help out on the accessibility task force

Byron: I work MSTF thanks to molly and JZ

Matt may: I work in the accessibility task force.

Derek Featherstone. I've been in WaSP for 8 months I take part in both the accessibility and DOM scripting taskforce.

Andy Clarke: If you like the redesign my name

Thomas Vander Wal. Work on strategy.

Chris Kaminski: I'm stealing Andy's Design for the DOM scripting task force. I am also responsible for ACID 2

Matt Mullenweg: I work on WordPress.

Molly H: I'm very proud joined in 2000 part of the changeover with JZ. Excited to be part of that and the changes that have happened


How do I get involved/You should have a task force for blah!

If there are legitimate concerns about things that can be done. We will put them into the minutes and see what can be done. If you bring up a concern there's one danger that you end up managing that concern.

Bryan J Busch: Mobile task force?

MH: to address the mobile Task force Kelly Goto is interested in being involved with the mobile task force. If you're interested then please drop us a line.

Q: I represent French speaking people to translate everything like crazy it would be nice to have something international and have local branches.

MH: With people like Kazuhito and Tomas Caspers we have created liaisons around the world. We have translations as our mission statement. We are definitely putting that into the minutes to talk about this.

Q: Along the line of what Kimberly is doing with education how about government.
MH: You've got yourself a new job! We need to do something with this. It is a fascinating place where standards are really necessary. Let me know your name etc...

Q: workflow depends on the size of site.
MH: It's a good idea we don't' have standards for working with standards in projects.
KB: We don't want to change the workflow to accommodate standards. It's a worthwhile study to try and pull documentation from everyone to come up with a generic set of guidelines and best practices.

Thomas: one of the things on workflow I been pushing for xhtml very early in the process avoiding graphical wire frames. My developers learned that way of doing things dropping into XHTML as early as possible. Things had to change far more quickly. There's a need for some best practices.

Byron: Boeing launched a site with standards based markup and CSS. It took them an extra year they were doing things that we were doing year ago they were using detection and redirects.

RNyman: I am interested how WaSP is being perceived in Sweden as for announcement of the relationship with Microsoft. In Sweden we don't care that it wasn't announced by the big company.
MH: MS did announce this and had press releases, blog business summit. The responsibility is to make this information more obvious. It would a very interesting discussion.
JZ: in the US a lot of people are sceptical of corporations.
JK: I want to address a question of perception. Did you enjoy that yes but I shouldn't have done because I learnt something.

Stuart Langridge: Andy, you talked about the grassroots but there's a lot of dark matter developers that don't know about the wasp. They just want to work their 9-5 jobs and then go home at the end of the day.
A: the answer is to work on one-on-one evangelisation. I came in and showed my co-workers that we didn't have to use table we could use semantic mark-up you have to do that kind of evaluation one on one.

Matt May: There are two kinds of users: the good ones who want to learn and advance their craft, and the bad ones who do their thing and collect their paycheck. The good ones need the tools to do their thing. The bad ones need to be constrained in the way they can do things badly.
Mark: The most dangerous vector is that HE is still turning out bad developers.
Audience: Talking is only so much. I didn't understand why I should develop in standards. It was only when someone forced me to sit down and do it, I was like 'holy crap'.
Meri: Is there something we can do at HE to change this?
Kimberly: It's not just that one lecturer: it's often that they have to get permission. Anybody who has any comments or discussion please let Kimberly know.

Tantek: got out there and set the best example that you can.

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