W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > July 2014

Re: Food for thought (resurfacing)

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:28:30 -0700
To: Marc Fawzi <marc.fawzi@gmail.com>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20140724222830.GA14502@crum.dbaron.org>
On Friday 2014-07-11 15:07 -0700, Marc Fawzi wrote:
> What if the W3C moved away from being a club of major browser vendors whose
> employees get to decide the future of the web and instead the W3C would get
> the browser vendors to agree to running each other's browser engine in a
> runtime-selectable manner inside their UX/UI shells (think Chrome on iOS,
> which runs the same engine as Safari Mobile), so that in this way users of
> the web get to pick the browser with the best UX for themselves while the
> web developers who builds the apps can finally get to decide which singular
> engine to run their apps on thus saving them (us developers) a ton of time
> that's being wasted right now making the apps work cross-browser, which the
> W3C has failed to do for us (maybe billions of dollars have been lost in
> developer productivity as a result, but I'm not sure how much of an
> exaggeration that is. I simply know that it takes me 2X the time and money
> to develop something then make sure it runs Ok on all browsers than it does
> when developing for just one browser...)
> 
> IE already allows the swapping of its own browser engines which is very
> useful for debugging across the various versions of IE using just one
> instance of the browser and OS.
> 
> It's not only about saving time/money for developers. It solves the whole
> contentious issue of who primarily gets to drive web standards by allowing
> every vendor who opts into this "running multiple 3rd party and own browser
> engines under their own branded UX" scheme to do whatever they want
> innovation wise without being held back by so-called web standards, which,
> to be fair, have worked OK for their intended context, but not OK enough to
> eliminate productivity losses incurred every day by developers.

This has the problem that it takes the preferences of users out of
the equation.

Users are often interacting with Web content that they don't trust
to do whatever it wants on their computer and with their data.  Part
of the purpose of the browser engine is to provide the ability for
Web applications to do some things on the user's computer but not
others.

Users might have preferences about things like privacy and security,
areas on which browser engines compete on the user-facing side.
Given Web developers control of the browser engine to choose would
destroy the ability for engines to compete for user trust over
privacy, security, and other values of end users, and would likely
have extremely harmful effects to privacy, security, and user choice
on the Internet.

-David

-- 
𝄞   L. David Baron                         http://dbaron.org/   𝄂
𝄢   Mozilla                          https://www.mozilla.org/   𝄂
             Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
             What I was walling in or walling out,
             And to whom I was like to give offense.
               - Robert Frost, Mending Wall (1914)
Received on Thursday, 24 July 2014 22:28:57 UTC

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