There has been some talk around the Cleveland web scene of late asking the question: What standards should we be promoting?

The consensus in the comments of the Refresh Cleveland article, mine included, was that there is a real need to focus on the basics. By "basics" I mean Plain Old Semantic HTML or simply POSH. The idea of POSH was born from the Microformats movement as a way of promoting best practices in markup. By implementing POSH practices when designing or developing your sites, you are ensuring that the foundation is standards compliant. And that is what we are all striving for here, right?

In his article on the Clear Function blog entitled Applying progressive enhancements to your website, Nate Klaiber makes some POSH points:

HyperText Markup Language is the core of how web pages are constructed. HTML is used to define structure and give semantic meaning to your content layer. It is important to understand the tags you have available to you and when and where they should be properly used. Get your content structured and in place. Here you are building the foundation for the rest of your website. Be sure to keep your HTML clean of any presentational tags or attributes.

Nate's got it right. Make sure the foundation of your site, the content, is properly contructed. Only after you have a semantically rich site that validates should you then move on to enhancing it with CSS, JavaScript and Microformats.

How does one make sure that their website is POSH? I'm glad you asked. On the POSH section of the Microformats wiki, there is a checklist:

By following these suggestions, and implementing best practices in your HTML authoring, you will be well on your way to creating semantically rich, standards based websites. You really should visit the POSH wiki for more information on the subject. It has a wealth of resources that will help you in your efforts to make the web a better place.