The British government have released a document which gives coding guidelines for people publishing WebSites for the British Public Sector.  You can get the consultation documents, and provide feedback here.

This whole policy is stupid, and wasteful on two counts.  There's already a body which sets web-standards, this is known as the W3C, and was set up by Tim Berners-Lee in the early 90s.  It's aim was to provide a set of guidelines so that any people working with web applications could create interoperable websites - rather than the fragmented internet of the early 90s, with gopher, telnet .etc

So - if the work is already done.. why pay a consultancy to do it twice?

Well, the govenrment are looking to ignore browsers with less than 2% market share.  Considering this is impossible to define (as many web browsers report their identity improperly in order to force compatibiliy) the study is flawed from the start.  The approach should be to stick to the pre-defined web-standards.. and woe betide the browser which is incompatible.

The biggest 'problem' with this approach, is that the incumbent most-'popular' browser is Internet Explorer - which is devoid of any attempt to make it adhere to web standards.  At the time of its inception, Microsoft thought they could make the web their own, by making it non-standardised, and force websites to display messages "Looks best in Internet Explorer."  With the growth of OSX and Linux (which can't run IE), this approach fails.  Using IE is not an option.  However, there are freely available browsers which support web-standards on all three operating systems (and the BSDs .etc).

With the software industry diversifying into multiple operating system platforms, now is the time to promote standardisation - and the government can do this by taking a lead, rather than just playing along with Microsoft's anachronistic strategy.  The standards are there.. published.  Please post your opinion here, and tell the government to support the standards - not the browsers.