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.'"

#8 w3c != defacto standard

by jilles

Tuesday July 9th, 2002 2:29 AM

You are replying to this message

Like it or not, IE is the defacto standard. When testing, IE is the first (and sometimes only) priority of web developers. Discussions about webstandards tend to be rather religious and hence not very productive. Basically you have two camps: the "w3c==holy" camp and the more pragmatic "I don't care as long as it works in IE camp".

I've converted my site to XHTML 1.0 strict and css and am a mozilla user. I've already encountered a few things that work differently in Mozilla and IE, even though my site is very simple. It seems that standards compliance doesn't give you much more than a pretty 'validated' icon on your page these days.

I can well imagine that web developers are pissed off by the w3c standards since they can be quite complex and rarely work as specified on the primary deployment platform (ie). CSS seems like an overly complex, terribly limited standard (most word processors, even the older ones, offer far superior layout features). HTML is one big compromise of inadequate structural tags and bolted on, poorly designed layout features standardized after the fact (i.e. after the 4.x generation of browsers was deployed). The only standard that works more or less reliable across browsers is the HTML 3.x standard.

It doesn't surprise me that there is so much misinterpretation of and confusion about the css and html standards and I am pessimistic this will ever change. Both are the result of design by comittee and that's not a process that delivers the most optimal solution. Dealing with implementation differences between browsers requires intimate knowledge of both the standards and their various implementations. Most web developers don't have the necessary training for this and will try to work around issues by copying code that works for them, incorporating so-called css hacks and ocassionally accepting that stuff won't work on some browsers.