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Re: A Compromise to the Versioning Debate

From: Mihai Sucan <mihai.sucan@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 14:23:26 +0300
To: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: "Bruce Boughton" <bruce@bruceboughton.me.uk>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.tqtolcftmcpsjgr0b0dp@localhost.localdomain>

Le Sun, 15 Apr 2007 13:18:15 +0300, Lachlan Hunt  
<lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> a écrit:

> Mihai Sucan wrote:
>> It is inevitable, given the switch, we will end up with tons of  
>> documents relying on buggy behaviour in IE.next. IE n+1 will break  
>> those pages if it doesn't add yet another switch.
>
> I absolutely agree with you there!  But that's what IE wants to inflict  
> on the world.  As I said, my suggestion is the lesser of two evils and I  
> would prefer to have no versioning at all.  But Microsoft isn't giving  
> us a choice in the matter and we clearly can't stop them from making  
> this huge mistake.  At this point, it seems all we can do is negotiate  
> for a slightly less painful and disastrous outcome.
>
> Sigh.

Your suggestion is not any inch better. It might be even worse: it gives  
the *false* impression we can have an "always standards mode" (latest,  
greatest standards mode) rendering. False, because in the end, the outcome  
is the same: the bugs will be fixed in "stone" by Microsoft in a given IE  
version, because way too many pages would break if IE n+1 changes  
something more or less important in the rendering.

We all agree that an opt-in is *required* for improved rendering and  
standards support in IE.next. This is something really "ugly", and we all  
don't like it, but we have to accept it.

In a previous email I said I'd probably "like" conditional comments to be  
reused for the opt-in for the sole reason that it's completely harmless on  
the other UAs. I don't want the other UAs to "care" about which rendering  
mode I want in IE. However, that will probably prove to be inevitable as  
well: Opera, Firefox, and Safari will probably "catch"/parse those  
conditional comments if they ever make it into any IE version.

There's one question: why do we need another improved standards mode? The  
answer is simple: Microsoft halted the development of IE, back in 2001 and  
only released a new IE in 2006. This is a *long* time. During this time  
many, many pages have been written relying on IE 6 bugs, in the standards  
mode. If Microsoft would release each year a new version of IE, web  
developers would stop relying on the bugs. Things would stabilize. That's  
what I want Microsoft to do: continue to improve the browser.

If new versions of IE will be released only on a 5-years basis, then, yes,  
we will have a new opt-in for the rendering improvements, with each  
release of IE.

All in the name of backwards-cross-browser-platform compatibility.


-- 
http://www.robodesign.ro
Received on Sunday, 15 April 2007 11:23:42 GMT

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