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RE: standard out of the box (was: IE Blog: Internet Explorer 8 and Acid2: A Milestone)

From: Paul Nelson (ATC) <paulnel@winse.microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 13:41:06 -0800
To: Todd Russell <groovechicken@gmail.com>, Alex Mogilevsky <alexmog@exchange.microsoft.com>
CC: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D92F7E6A79E88B4684BFC067AE15477D01079BF0@NA-EXMSG-S702.segroup.winse.corp.microsoft.com>

> So please, do the world a favor... break backward compatibility!!!

I listed to a Chevron representative at the W3C Plenary who stood up and said, "We have over 100,000 users using systems based on the web. Please don't break backward compatibility." It is easy to say to break backward compatibility. However, the reality is that there are a number of large organizations who, like Chevron, are not willing to (or maybe can't afford to is better said) use the browsers that are not concerned about backward compatibility.

Not quite as easy as you say.


Paul


-----Original Message-----
From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Todd Russell
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 3:26 AM
To: Alex Mogilevsky
Cc: Håkon Wium Lie; www-style@w3.org
Subject: Re: standard out of the box (was: IE Blog: Internet Explorer 8 and Acid2: A Milestone)


> It is to be decided how exactly you get into standards mode. It
> sounds like what you are suggesting is that IE8 is standard by
> default, and that it abandons compatibility with its previous
> versions. Is this what you think would be best for the web?
>
> Don't get me wrong, I don't have any attachment to quirks mode. I
> would love to use standards everywhere. But certainly, if we just
> drop quirks mode, we'll break millions of pages. Somehow we have to
> be able to tell that a page is actually designed for standards.
>
> What do you think is the right way to decide if a page will not be
> broken if rendered in 100% standard mode?

This is really more of a philosophical problem than a technical one as
far as I am concerned.  Sometimes, in order to move forward, you just
have to break backwards compatibility.  Users get mad, tech support
gets phone calls, but it is a necessary step for progress.

One of the fundamental reasons Windows has had so many problems for
the last 6 years is that your people have been too concerned with
backwards compatibility.  With XP, if they had made a clean break such
that no previous version of any Windows software would work, people
would have been mad, but at least they would have known what to expect
up front rather than discovering there were issues only after having
upgraded.  Then, XP could have been built with a better security model
rather than leaving so many holes in order to keep compatibility with
Windows 3.1 apps.  Uptake of XP would have been slower as a result,
but Microsoft could probably have spared itself the last 3 years of
embarrassment.

If you think this mentality won't work, just look at what Apple did
with its OS 9 to OS X strategy and you will see that it does work,
even though it may take a few more years than the bean counters would
like in order to see the profits.

So please, do the world a favor... break backward compatibility!!!  If
you let the people with old, broken code keep using IE7 indefinitely,
that will make their lives a little easier for the transition.  For
the web to move forward, we need you to stop supporting that trash,
though.  Force people to update their code.  Let people run IE 7 and
IE 8 simultaneously and the corporates with big web apps will stay off
your backs.  They don't care about new features anyway.

Just please, don't try to do us any favors by trying to support both
worlds.  Those of us who spend 8+ hours a day coding get so sick of
this nonsense.  If you don't want to break backwards compatibility,
then please, just don't even bother trying to support standards at
all, and that will make it more justifiable to put little banners on
our sites that say, "Sorry, this site does not work in Internet
Explorer".

I hope you choose to put emphasis on standards, because I would much
rather put a banner that says, "This site requires Internet Explorer
8, please upgrade or use a different browser."  Either way, my life is
too stressful to deal with all these cross browser issues all the
time, so if we are going to live out the account of the Tower of
Babel, let's just get it over with and stop dragging it out.

Tired of hacks,
Todd Russell
Received on Thursday, 20 December 2007 21:42:00 GMT

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