W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2011

RE: [CSS3] General question about CSS3 vendor prefixes

From: Brian Manthos <brianman@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 22:46:13 +0000
To: Mark Ayers <markthema3@gmail.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <FA122FEC823D524CB516E4E0374D9DCF19D11F83@TK5EX14MBXC132.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
> These attributes force web developers to either not advertise standards compliance
> (losing business), use images (takes much longer to load, also losing business), or
> make a less aesthetically pleasing website (losing business).

I would state it differently.

If a website wants standards compliance, it should only use features that are at least in CR - and use them without prefixes.

If a website wants standards compliance and "must have" not-ready-for-CR features, then prefixes are a required tax for using such features.

As other have discussed at length in this thread and others, there are reasons why we have the system we have.

One of them that should concern you involves changes to the spec.

Suppose you use a not-ready-for-CR feature without prefix and some "misbehaving" browser allows you to do so.  All "behaving" browsers will not.  Your site starts out as "seeming compliant" ("look ma, no prefixes in the markup") even though it only works in that "seemingly cutting edge, but actually misbehaving" browser.  Now the spec changes and reaches CR.  This "now actually cutting edge" formerly misbehaving browser auto-updates to match the CR spec - unprefixed before and after the conversion.  Your site breaks for customers that auto-update that browser, and remains working for those that don't.   The spec gets blamed for changing.  The browser gets blamed for "breaking" you.  Your site gets blamed for tormenting users.  The web as a whole gets a criticized for not having solved the core problem after over a decade.  Bad situation for all involved.

The moral of the story:
1. Don't use prefixes in production sites.  Use them to explore and participate in the development of "next" *for future use*, rather than to introduce customer issues with your shopping cart *today*.
2. If the spec is not in CR, the feature isn't ready for production use.  Patience is a virtue.
Received on Thursday, 28 April 2011 22:46:43 UTC

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