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!

#9 The standards are getting to good


Friday July 14th, 2000 3:06 PM

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I've recently been examining some of the liturature on XHTML, CSS and XML. These standards are now very mature and very usable if they are properly impemented in the browser and in authoring tools. And just as soon as I begin to understand which parts of the standard are supported in which browser and what's proprietary in each, somebody goes and changes the rules.

Microsoft appears to be more concerned with innovations that will keep people locked into their products than they are with standards. In fact, the standards are already so good that if somebody implemented them fully, people could probably be able to do 80 - 100% of what they do with browsers and web-servers without even touching an MS product.

Mozilla / Netscape, on the other hand, appear to be steadily working towards implementing as much of the standards as possible. BUT they're taking WAY TO LONG to get there.

The result is that just now there is no standards compiant browser. And in the future? Well, if you design your documents to use the full function of the standard in order to be useful and maintainable, you'll be able to use Mozilla/Netscape but not IE. But since "everybody" uses IE nobody will probably ever fully use the standards to their potential.