Weekend Discussion: Microsoft and 86%

Friday July 14th, 2000

There has been a lot of discussion about Microsoft's release of IE 5.5 recently, especially in regards to their support for standards such as CSS, DOM, and XML. Apparently Microsoft is developing new proprietary technologies at the expense of standards compliance in core web technologies.

The conversation in the WSP's mailing list has gotten overheated, and the WSP has released a piece on IE 5.5.

CNet is running an article on IE 5.5's proprietary new features, and there's a discussion on Slashdot regarding this very issue.

I now have a weblog at the O'Reilly Network, and you can check out my first piece, devoted to Microsoft's .NET initiative, which hits on Microsoft's standards support.

With all this hoopla aimed at Microsoft, we shouldn't be letting Netscape off easy. I think it's time for Netscape to come out and state clearly where they expect to be in terms of standards compliance at version 6.0. If it is not the 100% that we had been told to expect, it's in their best interest to say why. Remember, Netscape 6.0 will have its own "behavior" implementation (XBL) that is, at this point, just as proprietary as Microsoft's DHTML behaviors (the dev team plans on submitting XBL to the W3C in the future).

And although has not taken a position one way or another on Mozilla's standards compliance, it would be nice if they could weigh in and let the community know what they're thinking in terms of standards support in Mozilla's first release.

What do you think about standards support and compliance? Is it important? Or should the placation of existing customers be the priority? Let us know!

#60 No, 86% is not correct.

by leafdigital

Monday July 17th, 2000 7:14 AM

You are replying to this message

HitBox and other counter statistics have consistently overestimated IE against Netscape compared to other surveys based on more representative websites.

I believe this to be likely because Netscape probably has slightly higher presence at work (where a few companies have still standardised on it, even though obviously the majority are on IE) compared to home (where nobody bothers installing a different browser).

(Counters are more often used on amateur "play" sites which are more likely to be visited from home. Any real professional website has logs and doesn't need a counter.)

Of course, that doesn't alter the fact that IE probably really does have a share somewhere in the 75-85% region (on my own site, which is biased towards Windows users because I produce Windows shareware, IE's average share this year is 75%). The release of Netscape 6 will probably not change this in any significant way, but life will be better for the 15-25% of us. ;)

I don't think they should rush the release - Netscape's support is dribbling away very gradually just as it has been for the last several years, there's no need to panic now. Obviously, the sooner the better, but not if it isn't completely finished (from a UI, usability, and reliability perspective).

As for standards support, the latest versions of (X)HTML, CSS1 and ideally large chunks of CSS2, ECMAScript and the DOM (whatever version) are the important standards. I think Mozilla will/does do a credible job of implementing these standards. IE isn't as good, which is obviously a shame.

As for the net appliances thing; WebTV and Dreamcast are the only significant "net appliances" that have been released to date, that I'm aware of; one of these is owned by Microsoft and the other uses Microsoft's browser and operating system. I have to agree that the future does look bright for Mozilla in this area, but let's not count our chickens until they're hatched. (Also, the whole net appliance idea is a bit of a waste of time, but. :)