Fixing the web? Fix your browser!

By crisp on Sunday 17 June 2007 01:08
Categories: Browsers, CSS, HTML5, Javascript, Views: 6.016

Molly E. Holzschlag calls for a full stop on the HTML5 progress. I wonder why?

First of all it is important to know that Molly has recently joined the Microsoft IE-team as a contractor to work on standards and interoperability issues; it seems she's already been brainwashed or at least got a pair of new glasses that blur her once impartial vision as a standarditas. As someone who is supposed to work on issues regarding webstandards, and a co-worker of Chris Wilson who is co-chair of the W3C HTML WG, I simply cannot believe that she is ignorant about the goals of the said HTML WG and the WHATWG HTML5 specification draft that has been chosen as a basis for the new HTML5 specification: it's all about completing and fixing the HTML4 specification in order to make it implementable in an interoperable way.

Who needs such a stop, who would benefit from it? In practice standards development already stopped more than 7 years ago when MS released IE6 and sat on it's ass for 6 years untill they decided it was time to blow some dust off of the ol' Trident renderengine. Surely when they did that and with the sound of Steve Ballmer's 'Developers, developers, developers!' still echoing they also put a team on the task to rewrite Trident to become a fullblown standards-compliant renderengine while the IE7-team applied some band-aid patches on Trident for the most imminent bugs?

That put together with the fact that MS promised a more frequent release cycle of it's Internet Explorer (of around 18 months) should mean we can expect a standards-compliant IE8 somewhere beginning of next year, right? Where's the bèta?

So what's the problem? I'd say the HTML5 progress is actually the least of the problems since it doesn't really touch the fields where IE is most lacking: CSS, javascript and DOM. Besides: why would the other browservendors have formed the WHATWG when they did not feel the need for progress? Actually the call for progress on that level is pretty substantial and everyone except Microsoft is responding to that.

CSS2.1 and DOM already proved to be implementable in an interoperatable way and has been by most vendors up to high degrees of conformance. The same goes for HTML as far as possible given the vague nature of the spec and the fact that f.i. the XHTML specification makes it impossible to create a UA that fully implements both specs. Practice also proves that implementing HTML as an SGML-application (as per spec) is just not feasible. Besides: HTML5 is still a good 3 years from becoming a recommendation, so why the fuss?

Sorry Molly, but it seems you're becoming too much MS-focussed here despite what you say. To me it just looks like another stalling technique to prolongue MS' lock-in on the non-standards based market.

Volgende: HTML5 - why not use XML syntax? 07-'07 HTML5 - why not use XML syntax?
Volgende: HTML5: Microsoft and the opt-in catch 04-'07 HTML5: Microsoft and the opt-in catch

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