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.'"

#9 Re: w3c != defacto standard

by SmileyBen

Tuesday July 9th, 2002 4:26 AM

You are replying to this message

I'm sorry but this 'IE is a defacto standard' talk is always total crap. To be a defacto standard, IE would have to HAVE a standard, and that's simply something that it doesn't have. Most of the time things that IE does aren't clever or useful interpretations of the standards, they're just plain errors. The problem is that web developers have somehow got the impression that the way to write web pages is to type some random html into a text editor, and see how it looks, refine it, see how it looks, etc. Imagine if people programmed like that?

What people should *actually* be able to do, is design their site, and type html (and css) into a text editor, and know how it will come out when looked at in the browser, without ever having to do so. Obviously it would be foolish not to check, but the process should only require that at the end for aesthetic decisions and to see whether you've made any typos.

I've developed a few medium-sized websites, and I tend to do them by reading standards and references, and then typing. 99 times out of 100 mozilla does just what I think it should, and this makes life easy. IE, however, just has random weirdnesses that just cause confusion. My most recent example was where I had a four columned layout and one of the columns was a few pixels higher than the rest. It turned out that IE randomly did this because I had a second paragraph which wasn't a full line long. Who can say what they were thinking if this was intentional - I'm certainly inclined to seriously doubt they were thinking.

So what am I saying in my long-winded way? Basically just the IE isn't a standard, it's a set of mistaken deviations from standards. Nobody would claim that there is an IE PNG standard - it's just an attempt at the PNG standard which doesn't fully work. I could easily imagine a situation where IE would be a defacto standard - where rather than reading top as the top it read it as the left, or whatever. If this were so, they could publish the specification, and you'd still be able to type and then view, rather than having to constantly work around idiocycrasies. As it is, it isn't any sort of a standard at all.....