A Dutch Front-End Organisation in the make

By crisp on Monday 17 September 2007 00:19
Category: Other, Views: 7.212

On July 2'nd Peter-Paul Koch (better known as the quirksmode.org-man) presented his ideas for a front-end organisation (he calls it a 'guild' after the midieval monopolistic guilds). My first thoughts after reading the program were that this was nothing more than an attempt to introduce some sort of self-proclaimed elite-status for it's members to get an advantage over other parties when presenting themselves to big employers such as the Dutch Government.

PPK actually made matters worse by posting a blog-entry about Aristocracy in the webdevelopment movement and about "professionalism" and how to get rid of semi-professionals. It just all smells rather self-indulged and not very professional to me.

In fact; I dare say that there aren't any professionals in the front-end webdevelopment profession today - we are all just amateurs!

Fact is that the current condition of the front-end webtechnologie is just immature at least with lacking specifications and lacking implementations. All we have are aging specifications (that don't comply with the real world) and contemporary best practices (that are the result of year-long experimentations by 'amateurs') to defeat the real-world challenges posed by poor and incomplete implementations of standards by browservendors.

PPK is all for certification of 'professional front-end webdevelopers', but I wonder what he is trying to certify.
When I look at the plans (dutch) it seems to boil down to:
  • Validated markup
  • No tables for layout
  • No inline styles or javascript
which I think is very poor. Then there is the prerequisite that you will first have to demonstrate at least 2 sites that you made yourself that more-or-less comply with these rules. They may differentiate, but you need to defend each differentiation.

I, for one, could not even qualify to take this 'exam' since I work for a webcompany that only maintains one site, and I don't have the time to 'work on the side'.

I would expect more in-depth questions like:
  • What is meant with 'semantics' when doing front-end coding, and how do you go about it?
  • What are the merits of seperating content, style and behaviour?
  • Name 3 CSS-properties that affect layout, and how they (should) affect layout
Above mentioned examples of questions could be judged rather unbiased if certification is being done by an independend party. If the guild itself takes care of such certification it would mean nothing because it would be like a self-fulfilling prophecy with biased examinators and their biased rules.

So there are a lot of practical and organisational issues to be resolved for real certification. Luckily meanwhile PPK (or the current certification committee of the yet-to-be-founded 'guild') have recognized that and are now proposing some sort of informal exam that will give you a 'diploma' that is actually not worth more than the 'strikdiploma' (a piece of paper that states that you are able to tie your own shoes) I earned when I was 4.

The second selling point of PPK's plans constitutes of organizing offline meetings and (sponsored) conferences. He says that he lost his faith in online communities. I really fail to see how offline meetings and conferences can provide for better sharing of knowledge; they are not very good platforms for discussion. I guess PPK doesn't want discussion but is more looking for an informal lobby-network.

I could go on in length but most of this has already been discussed on Gathering of Tweakers (dutch). That same discussion also brought forth an alternative candidate for the role of chairman: Lon Boonen of Q42. Here you can find his exact proposals for a front-end organisation (dutch) and for comparision here are PPK's (dutch).

Meanwhile I have also expressed my willingness to become a member of the board under Lon's chairmanship in the role of 'Bestuurslid Online Educatie en Kennisdeling (BOEK)' (Boardmember Online Education and Knowledge-sharing).

On the 18th of September a founding congress will be held, and the official board and chairman will be chosen in the founding membership meeting following. I hope that many front-enders of the Netherlands will be present there.

Volgende: Banners en browsing performance impact 12-'07 Banners en browsing performance impact
Volgende: Microsoft, where are you? 09-'07 Microsoft, where are you?

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