A Reader Calls On MS To Adopt Mozilla's Rendering Engine

Tuesday September 14th, 1999

Dave Usher of Tiny Communications, a new free-access Internet service in the UK, writes, "Inspired by the recent discussions on MozillaZine I've written an open letter advocating that Microsoft adopt the NGlayout (Gecko) code for their IE rendering engine."

An interesting idea, IMO, which would preserve standards compliance on all platforms while allowing browser makers to compete in the user-interface arena. Instead of putting out competing (and incompatible) rendering engines, why not rally around a single rendering engine which could help guarantee standards compliance by virtue of its Open Source nature and cross-platform architecture?

#10 We need more engines not one

by Anon

Wednesday September 15th, 1999 1:30 AM

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The desire to have ONE rendering engine is the result of the current problems people have with incompatible browsers and versions. Is this really the best solution to the problem?

Is competition a bad thing?

It's already bad enough that people talk about supporting the "two" browsers and various versions, as if there are only two. Giving one rendering engine a seal of approval means that any other implementation will face problems because even "mostly" standards compliant engines will have bugs. The bugs in the "official" engine will become the real standard. There is really no point in having standards at all if there will be only one implementation. The standards bodies could just turn out implementations instead of wasting the effort on specifications.

I'd rather have as many engines as possible out there. Each one should implement standards of course, and any bugs should be corrected. One size doesn't fit all and competition has a role to play.

Do we really want "best viewed with the only true rendering engine" banners floating around? I know I'd rather have "best viewed with any standard compliant browser" banners. I realize that this is just a dream, but it is a dream worth pursuing. Besides, this rendering engine probably wouldn't work on all the classes of devices that will be using browsers (whether they need to or not) in the future.

Pages should not need to be designed with any particular engine in mind. Having a single rendering engine does nothing to address this problem, it just hides the problem and encourages the same old "it works on X, therefore it is correct" mentality. Instead, content should be designed with the intent of supporting browsers which implement standards X,Y,Z.

On a more technical note, the rendering engine does interface with other parts of the browser and tacking on a new UI for each browser might not allow enough flexibility to implement special features in the different browsers. The interface to and/or the implementation of the engine would limit the capabilities of browsers which use it.

Diversity is a good thing. Not just in rendering engines, but in all different parts of browsers, software in general, and even in biology. Independent implementations reduce the scope of security bugs for example.

It might make some people feel better if there was only one rendering engine, but it is not the solution to our current problems. I'd rather have at least a few herds of people than a single herd.