Dutch to revert to table-based layouts

In a stunning reversal of its stated policy, Dutch government last Friday decided to abolish the Web Guidelines and revert to tabled-based layouts. A government spokeswoman declared:

If the stated policy [ie. the Web Guidelines] were to be implemented, thousands of deserving web developers would have been robbed of their daily bread. For a government dedicated to creating more jobs, this is unacceptable.

Web standards will not be outright forbidden; interested parties will be able to buy a special dispensation that will allow them to implement one, or at most two, web standards on their sites. At the time of writing the cost of this dispensation is still under discussion, but it's expected to fall somewhere in the € 10,000 range.

A source close to government explained sub rosa that the recent elevation of Bruce Lawson to a Web Standard has played a major role in the reversal. A high official is rumoured to have stated:

If some bloke from Birmingham can become a Web Standard, how can we continue to trust W3C? I mean, what's next? Andy Clarke? A penguin? Get real! Far better to stop this nonsense now.

The unnamed source added that two months ago government has collectively requested W3C Draft status, but has been refused. After this painful episode, Web standard status being granted to an Englishman didn't sit well with government and caused the Web Guidelines policy to be critically re-reviewed.

Industry spokesmen applaud the decision:

This timely government action will save the industry an estimated € 20 million in conversion costs. Besides, it will tax the environment less. Think of all the tables we will not have to discard.

Web standards advocates are as yet unwilling to comment. On promise of anonymity, one declared:

We will have to study the new policy in detail before committing ourselves to a new course, but right now we're thinking of going into the ice cream business, where strict standards are in place and enforced.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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Comments are closed.

1 Posted by Low on 1 April 2007 | Permalink

At first, I thought "wtf", then I remembered the date. Good one, ppk. :)

2 Posted by pauldwaite on 1 April 2007 | Permalink


3 Posted by jrf on 1 April 2007 | Permalink

PPK: Nice one ! I think I might send this to a client of mine who started asking about the Dutch standards this week... let's see how they'll react ;-)

4 Posted by Gerben on 1 April 2007 | Permalink

Not to mention the effect CSS has on global warming.
Thank god for tables.

5 Posted by Roy Tomeij on 1 April 2007 | Permalink

I actually was dumb enough to believe this for real, until I read the first comment ;)

Just to give myself some credit: the Dutch government is stupid enough to seriously consider it ;)

6 Posted by will on 2 April 2007 | Permalink

I nearly made some anti-socialism comment about candle-makers and lightbulbs or some such; too bad April 1st only comes only once a year!

7 Posted by Gerrit Berkouwer on 2 April 2007 | Permalink

Nice one PPK ;-)

8 Posted by bruce on 2 April 2007 | Permalink

Ah, mate - if only I were a web standard!

Great post. And I haven't forgotten to review your book, which is great.

9 Posted by ppk on 3 April 2007 | Permalink


You'd make an absolutely SUPERB web standard. I don't understand what's keeping W3C.

And yes, I'm amazed at the extent to which you haven't forgotten to review my book.

10 Posted by Krzychu Danek on 4 April 2007 | Permalink

You've got me really scared for a moment. Put some visible date on it or something, for all of us who might read it a couple days later;)

11 Posted by Stefan on 4 April 2007 | Permalink

Seems that it is always better to read comments first :)

12 Posted by MorDee on 6 April 2007 | Permalink