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WEB EVOLUTION

Alex Q. Chen

[Dissertation].Manchester, England, United Kingdom: The University of Manchester;2008.

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Abstract

The World Wide Web (web) is a heterogeneous environment that is in constant evolutionary change. This includes technological changes such as JavaScript, the management of data structures used to present the web content such asthe Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML), and guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). A lag was noticed between the time these standards and recommendations were introduced to when they were adopted by the developers. This causes a disconnection between the actual user experience, and what was expected by the technology stake-holders. In this study, we investigate the relationship that surrounds these issues, especially those involving the web user interface.Different sets of data were collected to look at the current and long term slices of websites, and the correlation between the top websites and a set of randomlyselected websites. Our results show a trend that new standards and recommendations get adopted faster by the top websites than the random websites. The time taken for this adoption varies between the different types of standards andrecommendations; for example, the top websites on average get adopted one year faster than the random websites for a major (X)HTML standards, while it will take on average two years for a graphical format to get adopted. An initial decline in JavaScript usage was noticed for the past year (2007-2008), although a continuous increase in Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) usage was observed. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) took nine years to get adopted by > 50% of the random websites, however a healthy growth was predicted to continue. After ten years, it was observed that < 10% of the websites conform to the WCAG. Byunderstanding these evolutionary trends we can inform and predict web development into the future.

Bibliographic metadata

Type of resource:
Content type:
Dissertation title:
Author(s) list:
Degree type:
MSc
Publication date:
Place of publication:
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Abstract:
The World Wide Web (web) is a heterogeneous environment that is in constant evolutionary change. This includes technological changes such as JavaScript, the management of data structures used to present the web content such asthe Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML), and guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). A lag was noticed between the time these standards and recommendations were introduced to when they were adopted by the developers. This causes a disconnection between the actual user experience, and what was expected by the technology stake-holders. In this study, we investigate the relationship that surrounds these issues, especially those involving the web user interface.Different sets of data were collected to look at the current and long term slices of websites, and the correlation between the top websites and a set of randomlyselected websites. Our results show a trend that new standards and recommendations get adopted faster by the top websites than the random websites. The time taken for this adoption varies between the different types of standards andrecommendations; for example, the top websites on average get adopted one year faster than the random websites for a major (X)HTML standards, while it will take on average two years for a graphical format to get adopted. An initial decline in JavaScript usage was noticed for the past year (2007-2008), although a continuous increase in Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) usage was observed. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) took nine years to get adopted by > 50% of the random websites, however a healthy growth was predicted to continue. After ten years, it was observed that < 10% of the websites conform to the WCAG. Byunderstanding these evolutionary trends we can inform and predict web development into the future.

Institutional metadata

University researcher(s):

Record metadata

Manchester eScholar ID:
uk-ac-man-scw:156130
Created by:
Chen, Alex Qiang
Created:
19th February, 2012, 18:54:46
Last modified by:
Chen, Alex Qiang
Last modified:
9th July, 2015, 08:36:13