Essential International Standards and Registries for Web Developers

- Programming, Quality Assurance, Security

Radiating business woman

The following is a collection of free international standards, registries and references that I collected throughout the years while developing websites and web services. These references, while very precise and technical by their nature, are extremely useful in order to ensure that a specific implementation is actually correct, and to mitigate unexpected interoperability between systems on the Internet.

As it's not always clear how a technology is used based on its name or acronym, I included the primary use case for each reference along with its name and/or acronym.

Also, many of these standards are built over each other, and as such I tried to list them in that order as much as possible while maintaining clarity.

Plain text

The following explains how plain text is handled by a computer.

Note that the most popular character encoding is UTF-8, a superset of ASCII.

Real world stuff

The following provides IDs and critical information about worldwide social, political and cultural concepts often referenced.

IP adresses

The following explains how computers can identify and talk to each other on the Internet.

Domain names

The following explains how to find information about a particular domain on the Internet, including the IP adresses of its services.

Note that host names are domain names on which a website can be hosted.

Emails

The following explains how emails work.

Note that Pluralsight subscribers can watch my course Configuring and Managing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, which cover some of these topics.

XML

The following explains how to use XML, a data format that forms the base of all web pages.

Note that newer versions of XML and XPath exist, but are seldom used.

Note that I am not including SOAP and WSDL as these technologies are obsolete and most API providers that do use them generally offer better alternatives alongside them.

JSON

The following explains how to use JSON, a common data format commonly used by websites.

Note that I am not including JSON Schema for the time being as it is not a standard yet.

URLs

The following explains how to interpret URLs.

HTTP

The following explains how web clients interact with websites.

Note that I am not including OpenAPI for the time being as it uses JSON Schema, which as I mentioned earlier is not a standard yet.

Web pages

The following explains how to write a web page.

Metadata

The following describes non-standard HTML meta tags found on the Internet. Note that standard ones are documented in the HTML specifications.

Data access management

The following explains how websites should manage secure data, including cases where authentication is done by a third-party.

Accessibility

The following explains how to write web pages to be accessible for people with disabilities.

Other common data formats

The following defines a few other common data formats that can be found on the web.

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