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Re: Proposed Design Principles review

From: Preston L. Bannister <preston@bannister.us>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 22:35:28 -0700
Message-ID: <7e91ba7e0704262235h6e451c6frbe71285d47c8ec90@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "Doug Schepers" <doug.schepers@vectoreal.com>, public-html@w3.org
On 4/26/07, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
> For these reasons, HTML5 has to handle the vast majority of legacy
> content, or at the very least be compatible with doing so. These
> three issues vastly outweigh the benefits of simplifying the
> language. I agree with you that a simpler, cleaner language would be
> more elegant. But, unfortunately, it would be far less useful.
> You are in effect asking browser vendors and maintainers of existing
> content to pay a large development cost for the aesthetic benefits of
> a simpler, more elegant spec. And I don't think that is a reasonable
> request. We're talking potentially billions of dollars in development
> costs across the industry.

I can certainly understand (and agree with) the desire to avoid
over-complicating the browser implementations - though I rather doubt costs
adds up to billions.  At the same time, the programming model on the client
side for web applications is an incredible mess - and the cost this incurs
over time may well add into the billions.

Can we clean up the programming model while maintaining versionless
backwards compatibility?   Seems rather unlikely.  This leads us to a fork -
well described IE-behaviors so other browsers can become more compatible.  A
better described, more coherent (hopefully), and more carefully
compliance-checked version of HTML for use in the future.  Merging the two
forks ... seems unlikely to work.

On an almost-irrelevant note - the "Microsoft is evil" meme has shown a few
times on this list, but in fact there is a bit of "evil" in the non-IE
browsers chasing IE-behaviors.

Imagine a super-advocate who convinced his organization to adopt a non-IE
browser - say Opera since they have been in use longer than Safari or
Firefox.  Likely some of their in-house applications were adapted to work
with Opera.  The applications work, the organization is happy, and the
programmers are gone (not unusual).

Now a new version of Opera comes out.  Many web applications that worked in
IE now work (or work better) in the new Opera.  But behavior is changed ...
and at least one of the organization's in-house web applications is broken
in Opera.  Now the super-advocate is in a tough spot.  Fixing their
application(s) could be expensive and risky.

Are there many of these super-advocates?  Probably not.  Is there at least
one?  Probably.  What you will have done to that guy is indeed "evil".  For
that guy the safest choice may be to dump Opera, and adopt IE.

So ... a little bit of evil versus a big benefit to the majority of
customers.  Not exactly a "nice" choice.
Received on Friday, 27 April 2007 05:35:30 UTC

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