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Re: WC3 standards and its impact on the broswer wars

From: Jonas Jørgensen <jonasj.news@jonasj.dk>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 07:28:11 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <3D886336.7060504@jonasj.dk>
Cc: public-evangelist <public-evangelist@w3.org>

Mordecai Zemander wrote:
> I am one of those people, like many here I'm sure, that dislike Internet
> Explorer immensely.

[*raises hand*]

> While our reasons for disliking the browser may vary
> from personal choice to anti-ms zealotry, it must be said that writing
> browsers which adhere to the World Wide Web Consortiums HTML standards,
> is simply a step backwards in the lopsided browser war.
> Simply put, IE has set the standard already. Whatever Microsoft defines
> as the HTML standard should be adopted as the de facto standard.
> Building a tree-fort and writing up our own standard that is "better"
> than the Microsoft way, can be fun and even noble, but in the end it is
> totally irrelevant. As it stands now, MS has won. They own at least 80%
> of the browser share.

Actually it's more like 96%, according to my server logs.

> This dictates how web sites are designed and
> developed, most of which will try hard to satisfy IE first and WC3
> browsers second. Now yes, most large commercial sites will accommodate
> multiple browsers, but these are certainly the minority of web sites
> that exist. The rest of the personal/web log/specific niche interest
> sites will be the majority, and it should be assumed that since these
> are made by amateurs, (who probably run IE), they will be designed for
> IE. This is because designing a site to comply with WC3 standards is too
> hard for the average user putting up a page about his He-Man figurines.
> You can't "throw together" a WC3 compliant page like you can for
> Internet Explorer. Instead, you have to contend with CSS style sheets
> with multiple classes, which most people will not want, have the time,
> or capacity to deal with.
> I would argue that people change their browsers because their online
> friends recommend them to.

I would argue that the vast majority *never* changes their browser. They 
use the browser that comes with their computer or that their ISP 
provides for them. Speaking of ISPs, AOL -- the world's largest ISP -- 
has already switched its Compuserve and AOL/Mac OS X customers from IE 
to Gecko (Mozilla's W3C-complaint, non-IE-emulating rendering engine). 
Why would they do that if not to test the technology before unleashing 
it on their AOL/Win customers?

AOL has more than 35 *million* subscribers. That's more than most web 
sites can afford to ignore.

> These social groups will have the same
> interests, and enjoy the same pages as each other, and may often have
> their own sites reflecting the groups interests. Most likely they will
> probably never use a WC3 browser over IE, because the sites they
> collectively visit and write will render best under Internet Explorer,
> thus limiting the adoption of better browsers like Opera and K-Meleon.
> How many sites on the Internet render fine under IE versus Mozilla and
> Opera? I'm guessing IE holds a considerable lead, if not 99% compliance
> for up-to-date pages, versus a 70% for the others.
> In conclusion, the other browsers that fight for the remaining 20% of
> the web surfing pubic, must attempt to emulate Internet Explorer's
> rendering and HTML standards as much as possible.

Many sites do something like

if (document.all)

If other browsers were to implement document.all, they would also have 
to emulate all of the weird bugs of IE5/Win. Given the enormous amount 
of bugs we're talking about here, that would be an impossible goal. It 
would mean either attempting to reverse-engineer the IE rendering engine 
or writing literally *millions* of test pages.

Also, which specific MSIE is it that you would like the other browsers 
to emulate? IE5/Win? IE6/Win? IE5/Mac? 'Cause guess what: They all 
render pages *differently*.

> This is the only
> viable way to offer the public a better web browsing experience than the
> one currently offered by Microsoft. By refusing to adhere to this idea,
> and continuing to adopt WC3 standards, these browsers are effectively
> signing their own death certificates and at the same time, an open
> invitation to Microsoft to continue its colonization of the Internet.

*Emulating IE* would be an open invitation to Microsoft continue its 
colonization of the Internet! It would be mean that Microsoft would 
forever be in control of the web. All non-IE browsers would forever be 
forced play catch-up with the latest IE.

The only way out of this nightmare is W3C standards.

/Jonas (posting from netscape.public.mozilla.browser, and CC'ing 

'Open Systems' means no fences. And no fences means no use for Gates.
- Sun Microsystems
Received on Wednesday, 18 September 2002 10:41:51 UTC

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