W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2007

Re: A Compromise to the Versioning Debate

From: Joe D'Andrea <jdandrea@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 10:12:48 -0400
Message-Id: <EE84A16C-5847-4E8D-8855-BFCB70DEE858@gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

Bruce Boughton sez:

 > I don't think it is unreasonable to expect people to have
 > to refer to the spec.

Agreed. I also don't think it is unreasonable for Microsoft, given  
IE's history, to make an effort to educate authors on the importance  
of proper usage - online, via MSDN, etc.

Given the present situation, I support the one-two-three punch of  
Lachlan Hunt's proposed compromise:

 > Make <!DOCTYPE html> *always* trigger the latest standards
 > mode, unless accompanied by an explicit switch.
 >
 > e.g.
 >
 > <!DOCTYPE html>
 > <!--[mode = IE8]-->
 > <html>
 > ...

Kornel Lesinski's suggestion of pro-active, non-invasive _warnings_:

 > Many authors don't have slightest idea that there's something
 > wrong with their code. This can be solved - make standard IE
 > distribution warn about deprecated features and problems
 > exposed by invalid code.

... and Mihai Sucan's encouragement of frequent IE updates:

 > 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.

This will help reach the unwashed masses and "drive the point home"  
over time. As for (incurably?) incompetent web developers, "You can  
lead a horse to water ..."

Witness Exhibit A, in which Matthew Raymond illustrates:

 > Fixing standards compliance bugs fixes standards compliant web pages.
 > What you're really doing when you freeze these bugs in is shifting  
the
 > breakage from your browser to other browsers that are more
 > standards-compliant.

This phenomenon happened to me for the n'th time just last week,  
albeit with CSS (where I happen to find the lion's share of gotchas).

I was helping a client resolve complaints about part of their site  
working fine in IE but nothing else. The culprit? A bug in IE was  
being unknowingly treated as gospel. Again.

Had the original developers been given fair warning, things might  
have turned out differently. Meanwhile, what's the client  
perspective, in the _absence_ of such warnings and developer education?

"Firefox, Safari and Opera must be broken. They don't work like  
IE." (Auuugh!!)

--
Joe D'Andrea
www.joesapt.net
Received on Sunday, 15 April 2007 14:12:58 UTC

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