The W3C’s current suggestion for people writing Web pages, Womer says, is to separate information about how to present content from the content itself. The content can be described through hypertext markup language (HTML), the language traditionally used to describe Web pages, while the presentation can be handled with separate style sheets. Womer says that the W3C is collecting information about devices so that developers can tailor the presentation to the capabilities of the hardware.
The W3C’s new tool, called the mobileOK checker, will look over code to see how well it follows the W3C’s guidelines. Womer says that the tool won’t be able to assess everything–some things, such as determining the readability of text against a background color, require human judgment–but it will consider a great deal of variables and provide specific instructions for what needs to be fixed.
“The importance of standards cannot be overestimated,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software, who is working with the W3C’s mobile-Web initiative. In addition to making browsers for desktop computers and mobile devices, Opera makes browsers for the Nintendo Wii and other game systems. “To deal with the complexity that is out there, there can only be one Web,” von Tetzchner says.