Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Open Web Standards for One Direction fans

Inspired by the excellent Thatcher for One Direction fans, here’s my guide to Open Web Standards for fans of the finest band since .. like, ever!


Imagine that you and your bezzies save up and buy a brand new guitar for Niall. You write to the fan club, and they send you VIP tix for a gig and ask you to present it to Niall on stage for him to play it at the encore! Swoonsville.

You give it to him, on stage in front of thousands of jealous fans; he hugs each of you to say thanks (and his lips brush your cheek when he whispers his gratitude!) and then – OMG! disaster!! – the standard jack plug that every other guitar uses won’t fit in the one you’ve bought him. He shrugs, puts your guitar down, picks up his old one and all the audience laugh at you in a totally bitchy way!

Horrible, I know. Why didn’t the standard lead fit into your guitar – rubbish! Web standards are standard ways for different parts of the web to fit together, so web sites from Microsoft and Google play just as well in browsers from Opera and Firefox as they do in browsers from Microsoft and Google, YGM?


So, imagine that Simon Cowell wants to get a new member of the band in. Impossible to improve on total perfection, I know, but this is, like, imagination, yeah?

So what would he do? He can’t sack one of the boys … so he gets a 6th member in! And it’s George from Union J! Perfectomundo! And that’s like HTML5: it just improves on what went before, without losing anything!

Now, imagine that instead of getting George in as well, Simon sacks Louis and Zayn and gets in Nathan and Jay from The Wanted instead. The magic’s gone. That’s what XHTML2 tried to do – it wanted to improve the web, yet breaking what we love while it did it. That’s why Tim Berners-Lee (he’s like Simon Cowell, for the web) called XHTML2 “a total barfmare” and told all those guys to get real!

So we love HTML5: the initials even stand for “Harry, Three Men, Liam” – and there are five of them! HTML5 FTW, LOL!

No plugins

Imagine Harry sends you an advance CD of the next album (to make up for the guitar disappointment). But when you listen to it, there’s no singing – just the music! There’s some loose electronic stuff in the envelope and a note (written by Haz himself, sigh!) saying “to hear the vocals, just install these chips into your CD player”. But you can’t – there’s nowhere to add them, and they might break your CD player when they’re added, anyway.

That’s what plugins are like – extra stuff to add to your web browser. Open web standards want the browser to be able to deal with all the content without having to muck about with extra stuff, so you can listen to the dreamy sounds of the boys’ new songs anywhere you can surf the web!

Open web standards: that’s what makes them beautiful!

Open collaboration

OK, we all know that “Live While We’re Young” is the finest song ever written – except for all the other ones the boys recorded, natch! But if every song sounded the same as that it would quickly get boring, right? So what Simon and the boys do is get new writers in, to bounce ideas around, mix it all up, and make sure that there are constant new ideas so the boys stay the best band in the universe.

And that’s open collaboration does for the Web – keeps it fresh, shakes it up, and ensures there’s something for everyone. That’s why we say to open web standards: it’s Gotta Be You, One Way Or Another!


DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. Imagine that you find a DVD on eBay of the best performances on the American leg of the Take Me Home Tour. None of your m8s even knew that this DVD existed (some fans they are!) You wait for ages for it to be shipped from the states, and all gather round your DVD player at home, to find … the DVD flashes the message “wrong region” and won’t play at all!

Just imagine if DVDs were artificially locked to certain regions … oh.

I gratefully acknowledge the help of my 14 year old daughter for her insights into the world of One Direction. Even though she like totally hates them.

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