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

Re: Versioning and html[5]

From: Mihai Sucan <mihai.sucan@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 12:55:21 +0300
To: "Chris Wilson" <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.tqpu6jqmmcpsjgr0b0dp@localhost.localdomain>

Le Fri, 13 Apr 2007 02:17:04 +0300, Chris Wilson  
<Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com> a écrit:

> Ian Hickson [mailto:ian@hixie.ch] wrote:
>> This is one of the worst possible things Microsoft could do to the Web,
>> and will in due course be one of the worst possible things Microsoft  
>> could
>> do to itself. It is, in my opinion, irresponsible and downright anti-
>> competitive.
> I don't understand how you get from "Not screwing our users" to  
> "anti-competitive".  I am not trying to prevent other browsers from  
> implementing exactly what IE supports today - if you want to, go for  
> it.  If you want to write the spec to mirror precisely what IE does  
> today, I'm okay with that too.  That is NOT what you have currently done  
> with HTML5, nor is it the stated intent.  Unless David was serious that  
> the WG should be suggesting features to IE and then documenting how we  
> implement them.

Hmm... guys... don't you both understand the different points of view?  
Both POVs *are* correct.

Chris properly made it clear: Microsoft *cannot* and *will not* make *any*  
improvements with a potential of breaking existing pages. Backwards  
compatiblity is very important for them. They *must* provide web  
developers with an opt-in for the improvements.

He is right, you cannot blame only Microsoft for this. There's an entire  
history behind the current state of the Web.

They have three choices: leave IE as is (they tried this?), or improve it  
providing an opt-in, or improve without any opt-in and break many existing  
pages. They'll choose the second one - and I cannot blame them, as long as  
the opt-in won't cause havoc in the other UAs.

It's simple.

However, Ian is also correct. The other user agents (Opera, Firefox, and  
Safari) do have quirks mode and standards mode. The browser vendors do  
take tons of time to reverse-engineer the bugs in IE 6, IE 7, etc. Why?  
They *also* want their web browsers to support many web pages, even if  
they were developed for IE.

Now, why does Ian say providing opt-ins whenever it's needed is  
anti-competitive? Like it or not, yes, that's anti-competitive. For one,  
they will have to reverse engineer the bugs in each of those opt-ins  
provided by IE. I'm not sure if I made this clear, but the point is, the  
other UA vendors always want their UA to properly support pages. Providing  
opt-ins only gives them even more work to do. So, instead of them focusing  
on doing innovations in the browsers world, they reverse-engineer the  
market leader. It's the catch-up game. (See OpenOffice and Microsoft  

Secondly, providing an opt-in (and not breaking existing pages), gives  
Microsoft a chance to release an improved product (with a potential of  
winning back users and developers from, say, Opera and Firefox). Do they  
like that? No. They love their competitive advantage: "we support the web  
standards, we provide a serious development platform", etc. They'd also  
love see Microsoft play the catch-up game, or fail trying.

Personally I am convinced IE.next will provide an opt-in for their  
improvements.  No point in "fighting" against them for doing this.

I believe Microsoft must not involve the HTML WG in their effort of  
improving IE. Just provide your opt-ins: don't ask for the spec to provide  
them. *If* the spec *happens* to have something you can also use as an  
opt-in, then just go ahead and use it. This can be the <!DOCTYPE html>.  
But, guys, don't force web developers use opt-ins that break the other UAs  
(like <!DOCTYPE html5>). Web developers also want an opt-in for existing  
HTML4 documents.

Using something like the IE conditional comments sounds good for me.

Received on Friday, 13 April 2007 09:55:31 UTC

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