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Re: A Compromise to the Versioning Debate

From: Mihai Sucan <mihai.sucan@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 12:16:36 +0300
To: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.tqtipyuzmcpsjgr0b0dp@localhost.localdomain>

Hello Lachlan,

I've read your interesting email, and while I agree with it (generally  
speaking), i have some comments to make.

Le Sun, 15 Apr 2007 09:20:23 +0300, Lachlan Hunt  
<lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> a écrit:

> Hi Chris,
>    I do not think you are inherently evil.  The effort you put into  
> making IE7 more standards compliant proved that your intentions were  
> good; and the web standards community largely applauded your effort at  
> the time.

"inherently evil" ... that means he is evil, but not inherently? :)

> In other words, you forced pages that used well-documented and widely  
> deployed hacks, to be changed.  Hacks that were designed in the hope  
> that when you introduced more standards compliant behaviour, you would  
> take away the dependence on those hacks.  Things could have gone better  
> if you had fixed the limitations as well as the filters, but, for  
> whatever reason, you were unable to do so.

This is a reoccurring theme in the IE-land. Today, IE 6 and IE 7 are  
generally quite powerful and advanced UAs. However, the web developer has  
a limited set of annoying options: only code for IE, code for all major  
UAs (Opera, Firefox and IE), or only code for Opera and Firefox, - patch  
it to work with IE. This is what I call vendor lock-in: IE provides many  
of the features/capabilities we want (e.g. DOM Events), but it has its own  
different implementation. These differences go down to very small details.  
Making an advanced cross-browser web application has become quite  
difficult for that reason alone.

> Many of us feel that your proposed solution is set to repeat mistakes  
> again, and again, and again, indefinitely!  You already admitted that it  
> is prohibitively expensive for Microsoft to maintain compatibility with  
> legacy office suite versions.  Yet you're willing to do *the same thing*  
> with HTML?
>
> Your plans, if you go ahead with them, will create a vendor-lock-in  
> situation where every single browser now and in the future will be  
> inherently forced to reverse engineer every single one of your  
> frozen-bug-states that you introduce with every new browser version.  
> That is unacceptable.

Unacceptable and somewhat inevitable. Yet, I have a different view on  
this: the vendor lock-in you are talking about will not remain for long. I  
don't believe The Web can be controlled by IE. The Web can only be  
influenced by IE, given its market share.

> Please, I urge you, do not *force* authors to accept your decisions in  
> ways they don't want.  We are competent enough to make informed  
> decisions for ourselves, so let us do so.  Let us choose to be free from  
> vendor-lock-in.

While I personally want a switch like this "always standards-mode", I  
don't agree with the assumption "we are competent enough to make informed  
decisions for ourselves".

Who is to decide we are competent enough? In your experience, didn't you  
find "experts" who claimed they are competent, yet they had no clue about  
the given matter? *You*, Lachlan Hunt, are competent, but the majority is  
not like you. The majority of web developers working in companies *will*  
make use of this switch unknowingly of the consequences, and then they'll  
blame IE [n] for breaking their pages (because they relied on some old  
bugs). If you don't take my word for this, then see the "standards mode"  
problem. Today we have this example: the standards mode is used on a huge  
set of web sites, important ones. In this standards mode *we* (web  
developers) rely on the bugs in various UAs (especially the bugs in IE).  
Continuing to make improvements in this "standards mode" would break tons  
of documents.

So, having the "always standards mode" would again cause breaking tons of  
web sites when Microsoft improves/fixes the rendering.

It's quite simple: Microsoft will not add this switch.



-- 
http://www.robodesign.ro
Received on Sunday, 15 April 2007 09:16:57 GMT

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