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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)
     doStuffSpecificallyTaileredToMsiesCssBugs;
else
     doStuffWhichWillWorkInW3cCompliantBrowsers;

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 
public-evangelist@w3.org.)

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

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