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RE: Single Browser Intranets

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 08:55:42 -0400
Message-ID: <01BF1ED2.7DC39B80.bbailey@clark.net>
To: "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, "'Web Accessibility Initiative'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I don't disagree with you Kynn, the problem is that initial in-house 
(intranet) projects have a tendency to become part of larger (Internet) 
networks.  I really don't care so much what small (or large) private 
companies do, so much as I care about what happens in the public sector.

Does, for example, a university have the right to say "We support only 
browser X"?  What if it is a private school?  Is this right affected if 
freshmen are required to buy computers?  What if the university is offering 
online courses?

What about when publicly funded projects initially have too small a scope 
of focus?  Do they have the "right" to support only one browser and to make 
computer requirements?  In Maryland, there is an agency that is doing a 
very nice job retooling their software (which is used by the public) so 
that it is compatible with an intranet.  They are requiring a specific rev. 
of a specific browser.  I have been trying to sound a warning about this, 
since there is no compelling reason why this service offering could not be 
offered over the Internet (except that it falls apart when one uses the 
"wrong" browser).  Does a government body have the right to make this kind 
of mistake?

[SMTP:kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com] wrote:
>> To quote Tim Berners-Lee:  "Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed
>> with Browser X' label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad 
>> days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a 
>> written on another computer, another word processor, or another 
> The corollary, though, is that if you _can_ control the type of
> computer, the word processor, or the network, it makes perfect
> sends to support only one browser on a given page.  And you _do_
> have that level of control in many corporate intranets, just like
> many corporate intranets only have one supported email program
> instead of trying to provide technical support for whatever anyone
> chooses to install on their own system.
> I'm not saying this is "right", people, or that it matches the
> Cult of Interoperability's high standards for ethical conduct in
> the Internet/Intranet workplace -- but I'm saying it's realistic and
> common, and it makes perfect sense within a given context.  If we
> have a company-wide policy, "We use Internet Explorer 4.0, which you
> all have installed on your computers," then I am _not_ going to
> care if my Intranet-only application won't run on your Lynx, your
> Opera, or your Netscape.  (And again, this isn't the same issue as
> accessibility, either.)
Received on Monday, 25 October 1999 10:20:29 UTC

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