The big story over the past 24 hours is Steve Ballmer’s statements regarding WebKit:
“Open source is interesting,” he said. “Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8.”
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.
In the past day I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading on what others think of this meta stupidity. A few suggested remedies are particularly good and worth a post linking to. My two favorites both from Mozilla hackers are these:
David Baron has a must read blog post. Since the bulk of these older sites are on intranets, why not just allow administrators to enable compatibility mode on intranets? Seems like a perfectly logical solution that doesn’t hold back the web, and allows them to achieve their goals.
Daniel Glazman has another idea that I think is very valid.
- Microsoft should freeze, and I really mean it, its current IE6/IE7 HTML 4 engines, and drop that META tag idea.
Ditto. That needs to be a very deep and reliable freeze though.
As Robert O’Callahan, John Resig, Anne van Kesteren all point out, this idea of using a meta tag to select a rendering engine is bad. Here are my personal thoughts on the issue. Not as a browser developer but as a web developer.
Essentially the argument by the IE team is this: Rather than fix the problem, lets create a larger problem so the smaller one isn’t very noticeable.
Yea, that’s how I parsed the blog post. For anyone who disagrees, perhaps I interpreted it wrong because they didn’t select the correct parser because they didn’t include the following:
All joking aside it’s an insane idea guaranteed to set things back.