Opera’s Evangelism

Opera is said to be sending evangelism emails to websites that have compatibility problems with their browser. What’s interesting is that they are customizing the emails with actual fixes for the problems. This is pretty clever. In theory it will improve the problems regarding compatibility and make the web more standards compliant (which is where Opera excels).

One thing I do question is if webmasters will read it, at least where it matters. Most large companies have a contact form, or an email address, but it’s often forwarded to customer support, or sometimes just into a giant bin where a handful get processed. Will the information get to the people who need it? I suspect it will for small companies who read all the email they get from the web. For large companies, I doubt it, and that’s where I think it matters the most. The bigger sites that the majority of the web visit.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see, for me in particular since I wrote reporter. I suspect the best efforts are still to encourage the industry as a whole to adopt best practice. Considering the move to go mobile, and be more flexible on the front-end, using standards is just becoming more of a requirement. I think that will ultimately end up being the winning effort. It’s already winning as newer sites are generally pretty good when it comes to standards. The old ones will take time.

With Safari 3 and Opera 9.5 out, Firefox 3 taking off, IE 8 coming soon, it’s pretty obvious that standards are the future.

8 replies on “Opera’s Evangelism”

Back at Netscape, that is exactly what we did as part of the Evangelism team. Having to fix other people’s code can be quite frustrating, but you do learn a lot from doing it.

Sending out fixes to websites sometimes worked, the usual response was “not enough marketshare”. Surprisingly, most emails received some answer (might have had to do with the fact that Netscape was a well known name). Of course today life should be easier since standards-based browsers are quite popular compared to back then.

Forget it. You’ve won the standards war. Everyone will be compliant within a year. Now you’ve got to win the innovation war. MS are putting their “innovation” into Silverlight — and if the Operas and Mozillas of the world don’t have an answer to the “innovation” in Silverlight, then you’ve lost.

Will video, audio, animation, flexible (homogeneous) controls and fast scripting be ready in the browser before they’re ready in Silverlight? Doesn’t look like it from where I’m standing.

Why not try pull instead of push. Mozilla, Opera & the IE team could each have a site/web page for looking up compatibility reports for a website. Then it would become standard practice for (good) webmasters to visit those sites to check for problems. (They could also perhaps subscribe to RSS updates or have them emailed to the web address of their choice, turning pull into push, but on their terms.) If the databases were public, so anyone could see the reports for any website (or at least the gross statistics) then maybe it might shame some sites into doing something about it instead of thinking that no-one really knows how little care is take with their site. Maybe it would be better to look for trends such as the same issue being repeatedly reported and not getting fixed as the gross number of reports could just mean that the site is popular. There could even be be an addon for scoring how well the current site/page deals with reports, that might be useful when picking among competing services, like a banking website for example.

As great as it is, please bear in mind that it’s EXACTLY a copy of what we were doing in Mozilla (and even before that Netscape did)

The recent version of the email template (localized) is here

In most cases we were suiting the email to the problem and attaching a proposed solution.
That’s also exactly the method used by portal where people from different projects cooperate on evangelising web standards.

So… cool that they picked it up 😀

Richb: Do you know what Silverlight is? It’s a plug in. It’s not built into IE, you install it. And it’s cross platform, it runs in Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE. Nokia are even releasing it for Symbian.

Mozilla has a strong web applications platform, especially since now it provides offline web application support. Look at for other applications, such as Prism and Weave that bring the web to the desktop.

Opera is best, “F word” all the rest.

I try all browser on market and i dont now why are IE 1st and FireFox 2nd i just dont get it ?????

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