The versioning switch's default is incorrect

By crisp on vrijdag 22 februari 2008 01:53 - Comments (2)
Categories: Browsers, Internet, Views: 10.992

In fact, the whole versioning switch idea is bad to begin with. If you still don't understand why after my previous blog-entries and after having read for instance Jeremy Keith's reasoning on AListApart (and failed to see the flaws in Jeffrey Zeldman's entry) here's a break-down of the arguments against the versioning switch and against the proposed default (== IE7 mode):

• it is illogical
It is completely illogical to have a versioning switch in markup have an effect on scripting (eg DOM) and styling (CSS). Although the latter is true for quirksmode rendering based upon DTD the former is afaik completely new; today's browsers also don't really care anymore about the version-information in language-attributes.

• it doesn't advance the web (or standards) as it doesn't educate the un-aware
This is a no-brainer. When people continue to cather to IE's bugs this will never go away...
In every profession there are rules, laws or standards that you need to take into account and need to brush up on regularly. Why should that not include developers?

• we should be working towards a browser-agnostic web instead of creating more proprietary switches
This switch is a solution to a problem of one single browservendor. Why should we (developers) or the public accept that?

• it hurts interoperability for webpages
I foresee a lot of technical difficulties having pages in one IE-mode interact with pages in another. Beyond that there is also a problem with document fragments and 3rd party scripts (bannercode for example) as well: how do we know for which IE-mode they were intended and how can we deal with that?

• it puts the burdon on the people who already 'do it right'
In order to 'opt-out' of this nonsense you will have to 'opt-in' to 'edge-mode' - something Microsoft doesn't recommend (why?). So in order to get the same treatment in IE as in any other browser you will need to do something extra. How come this is not necessary in those other browsers?

• it hurts interoperability in the browser-vendor marketplace
In order to compete in those area's where IE is still dominant (eg corporate businesses) browser-vendors are even more forced to mimic IE's behaviour than they are now (this is hurting standards-compliance already). When future versions of IE have multiple rendermodes each competitor needs to support those rendermodes as well (by means of reverse-engineering).

• Microsoft does not provide any hard data on why this switch is really necessary
A lot of the arguments seem to be focussed on IE-only intranet-applications that make it impossible for Microsoft to really assess the impact of any changes to IE. But then why doesn't MS focus on a solution for that particular market instead of forcing the whole web to follow this stupid idea? Which important websites will break and why?

• it doesn't solve the problem at the heart of it
Apparently todays websites aren't a problem at all given the marketshare of non-IE browsers. The 'IE-centered web' seems to be pretty small these days and those that are still 'IE-only' are pretty fast in cleaning up their act in order not to lose an increasing part of the audience. Where is the problem? This looks like a generic solution aimed to solve a particular problem, but what problem exactly? And is it a real solution or really just a short-term 'fix' that in the end doesn't solve any problems at all but just postpones the problem?

• Why do some 'standarditas' keep saying that this is the 'best solution'?
The answer is simple: they all got fooled. This solution is a business decision made by Microsoft that will ensure their lock-in in the current market. Microsoft is telling them that this is the only way to ever get real standards-support in IE (or better: delivering it as a thread). Well, this is a wake-up call: if MS does not deliver better standards-support in then IE will simply (but slowly) disappear from the browser-map. MS tries to cash-in on their current position in the market because they know they are losing.

So no, I'm not getting fooled by Microsoft and I'm not buying their stupid ideas. If this turns out to be a 'fait accomplice' than I'll just let our webservers be configured to spit out an extra IE-edge header (will that take precedence over META or not?) and I'll just pray that MS won't take any more stupid decisions...

Volgende: IE8: Operation (now silently) Aborted 04-'08 IE8: Operation (now silently) Aborted
Volgende: Some thoughts on HTML5's getElementsByClassName 02-'08 Some thoughts on HTML5's getElementsByClassName


By Tweakers user Gerco, vrijdag 22 februari 2008 07:53

I agree completely that this is a pure business decision to prevent the web from becoming truly browser-agnostic. They could have implemented actual standards-based rendering and scripting and have a IE7 mode switch if they felt it was really required.

They say that they default to IE7 mode to not break all (almost) unmaintained sites on the web. I say: It those sites are not being maintained, they hardly matter anymore, or do they?

By Tweakers user Anoniem: 97824, vrijdag 22 februari 2008 11:10

FWIW, DOCTYPE switching does have limited effect on scripting in some browsers at least. doucment.all for instance. But I'll say it again, DOCTYPE switching is about a limited set of differences that we're not planning to increase over time. New features will work equally well in quirks and no quirks mode.

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