Standards Ignored as Developers Target IE

Monday July 8th, 2002

Dave Hodder writes: "CNET has a story entitled Sites bow to Microsoft's browser king covering how Mozilla and other browsers are locked out because of web builders not supporting proper standards. It mentions Netscape/Mozilla standards evangelism and has some good quotes from Mitchell Baker, including the conclusion: 'What we're seeing with Web sites that are viewable only with IE is the privatization of the Web.'"

#12 browser wars are back allright

by jilles

Tuesday July 9th, 2002 6:51 AM

You are replying to this message

I'm sorry to say but that is a load of bullshit. Essentially you say that webdevelopers should abandon their tools and use text editors instead. I'm sorry but the real world is different from your imagination. I know how to use an editor and in fact my site complies with relevant standards.

However, I'm not a web developer but a Ph. D. student with way to much time to look into this sort of things. A web developer typically either has no CS degree or not a relevant degree. He/she generally uses tools like dreamweaver or even frontpage and just wants the damn site to work in IE where most of the target audience is. Bare HTML/CSS is way too complex for them to handle properly and they need to rely on tools to keep them from shooting themselves in their feet. If you use more advanced features in such tools, you lose standards compliance. Newer tools are better in this respect but still far from perfect. Now if I were a webdeveloper using such tools I'd want all the latest stuff to make my sites look cool.

As far as the w3c is concerned, they produce interesting standard <i>proposals</i> but the real standard is whatever the browsers support. That's what I call a defacto standard. Unfortunately the defacto standard is not the same as the w3c and its supporters would like to see. It is either some subset of HTML/CSS that works more or less consistently or whatever IE provides. You can make the moral judgement of IE being an inferior product and MS being evil. That doesn't change their marketshare however. Web developers have basically three choices: code to the limited subset of standards and accept that advanced features won't work, code multiple versions of a site or code for IE only. The latter option has the best tool support and allows for the most advanced designs. That makes it attractive.