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sugar with lemon

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 13:01:31 -0700
Message-Id: <v03102805b00bd5674118@[206.86.219.22]>
To: www-style@w3.org
Cc: tantekc@microsoft.com, mshinn@microsoft.com, leeg@microsoft.com, cwilso@microsoft.com
I've made a number of harsh statements on this list recently. Before I get
written off as a chronically-irate crank, a few qualifications:

I don't blame Chris Wilson for being merely a CSS hero, instead of a
superhero. I don't fault the guy for anything, really. He works in a big
company. All decisions are compromises in big companies, unless they're
cults. Often, compromises are reassuring signs of ideological diversity,
even when they consign generations of surfers and developers to the acrid
flames of no-op hell. :^) Can't we go somewhere else today?

I certainly don't charge the Mac IE team with shoddy work generally, nor
for failing to keep true synchronicity with Win32. It's no shock to me that
MS's priorities are as they are. MacIE3 is my daily browser. I like it.
It's CSS support sucks, though, very slightly less than that of IE3 for
Win32 AFAICT. I'd love to help beta test the real version 4. I still think
it was crass press-pandering to release the recent preview: CSS support
should have been turned off by default, and you'd still have gotten the
headlines.

I don't dislike CSS-P, but it's not a substitute for CSS1. It's an
important add-on.

I don't blame W3C for failing to, uh, "enforce" standards (threaten? fine?
banish? pretty soon it'd hold conferences in phone booths). On the other
hand, I think the W3C's star is rising in terms of importance and
influence, and that it can perhaps progressively take a more aggressive
stance wrt compliance in future. Perhaps I'm imagining things.

Finally, I don't blame Netscape for shipping bad CSS support any more than
I'd blame a sleep-deprived, thinning hippo for biting, or perhaps losing
sphincter control when cornered. There's more than enough hard work to go
around, I'm sure. We all suffer. Stress fractures in the Web.

Perhaps both vendors should consider exposing various half-implemented or
buggy features in shipping browsers to remote disabling or warning, much as
warnings appear when security flaws are discovered and/or fixed. If the
code is sufficiently modular to avoid the necessity of a multi-megabyte
download, that is:

	This software implements some CSS formatting
	features improperly, which could lead to garbled
	pages. Please upgrade to the latest release,
	patch or disable style sheets to avoid problems.

	upgrade		patch		disable feature


__________________
Todd Fahrner
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com
http://www.verso.com/
Received on Monday, 4 August 1997 16:01:05 GMT

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