Standards-compliant web design

I find it annoying that so many web developers, and web development programs (read: Microsoft Frontpage) don't support established web standards properly. What I find even more annoying are web developers who arrogantly refuse to use such web standards because the markup they use (usually Microsoft HTML) is 'far superior' to, 'easier and faster to code' than, and 'a lot more widespread' than standards such as XHTML.

I can sort of see where they are coming from: as so many people use older browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, what's the point in coding things that will work with anything else? I mean, who would use such low-key pieces of software as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Mozilla Suite, Konqueror, Safari, Lynx, or WebTV?

However, this argument is fundamentally flawed: what is the problem with using new standards such as XHTML 1.0 Strict, that work with older and newer browsers? What is the problem with using CSS/DIV-based design, when it works reasonably well in Internet Explorer? What is the problem with using PNG instead of GIF? All these paradigms work together well, and produce outstanding websites, such as

I admit, I myself don't quite do all of this: I do use JPG instead of PNG images, but that is only because of bandwidth constraints on my webspace. PNG has never been as good as JPG for lossless compression.

Then again, there is another side to the argument, where people argue that websites should always use the very latest in cutting-edge technology: XHTML 1.1 Strict, CSS 2 and SVG 1.1. These people are the drivers of the progression of the web development caravan. They push ahead new standards to widespread acceptance, and make sure that people know about them, and that browser developers are always on their feet. However, these people are likely to be constantly rebuilding their websites from the ground up, to cater for a new technology, or revision of old markup. They are also likely to have websites that don't display to their full and intended potential in most browsers, as browser developers can never keep up with the standards developers. I am likely to lean towards this stance more than the others, as I like to embrace new technology. However, I do not take this view without a generous pinch of salt, as I don't want to be a slave to the ever-renewing standards.

What thinks you all?