Linked by Adam S on Fri 11th Jul 2008 04:37 UTC, submitted by peskypescado
Internet & Networking A recent post about Firefox and my general view of corporations and organizations has caused a bit of a stir. It even caught the attention of Asa Dotzler. He said "It's really hard for me to believe that either [Microsoft or Adobe] have the free and open Web at heart when they're actively subverting it with closed technologies like Flash and Silverlight." But are they really subverting it? Where exactly is the line between serving the consumer and subverting the web? I think the W3C should share in this blame.
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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 11th Jul 2008 06:25 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

The W3C is an open body. Microsoft are in this body of members, yet don't generally contribute at all. The same as with Microsoft being in the OASIS group.

If other people have other agendas, they are going to go off and do them, regardless of what the W3C are up to.

Microsoft and Adobe are driven by money and the W3C is not. I cannot see placing the blame on the W3C for being mentally slow as useful when the two melodramatic villians are clearly in the room with you.

It's lack of uptake of W3C standards, because of IE. No other browser, just IE. Browsers can do incredible things now, but people are still coding for IE6 and missing out on all the flash-negating technology available and ripe for the picking.

Reply Score: 13

RE: Comment by Kroc
by pompous stranger on Fri 11th Jul 2008 06:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

Agree. Even the best browsers haven't run out of W3C recommendations to implement, and then there's IE...

Even if the WHATWG was working on HTML 12 right now, we'd still be stuck with HTML 4 quirks mode by default due to the sad state of one popular browser.

Edited 2008-07-11 06:49 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by google_ninja on Fri 11th Jul 2008 12:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

First of all, W3C puts out a lot downright awful standards. There are many parts that are overly complex or ambigious. Secondly, the W3C is not a independent body, it is a consortium of companies, each with its own agenda, which is a big reason of why the standards it puts out are so horrible, and why nobody can really fully implements them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by sakeniwefu on Fri 11th Jul 2008 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

Exactly, people blame Microsoft but are they the culprits? I believe you cannot really single out anybody in this mess.
First you have the original HTML; it wasn't very good to start with. Then you have the old browser wars with Netscape and Microsoft introducing extension after extension. Now Javascript. Then Vbscript. Then CSS. Java plugins, ActiveX, Flash, XML, Silverlight... Most of it is now standard and don't you dare to break the pink on green web page I wrote in 1993 with marquees, midis and heaps of animated gifs.
Nobody is innocent here.
It is amazing that we can actually use the web as it is for something.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by systyrant on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

I'm not going to argue your points because I don't know that much about the W3C as an organization, but here's where we are today.

I can, with some minor exceptions, build a standard website that will work the same in Firefox/Mozilla, Opera, Safari, KDE, etc., but it will be a mess in IE 6 and 7 (version 8 is a different story). I can build a site that works in IE (excluding version 8) and it won't work in any of the other browsers.

My conclusion. While maybe IE didn't create the problem they sure as hell haven't done much to solve it either. Maybe the W3C's recommendation aren't all that great, but it seems like every other popular browser is able to support them. So why is Microsoft unable to?

As A side note. I have been using version 8 of IE and frankly it's a much more compliant browser. Even though it's still a beta program it seems to work fairly good. However, sites that work in IE 7 or older don't work in version 8 without turning on the IE 7 mode. That's saying a lot I think.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Kroc
by ljgshkg on Fri 11th Jul 2008 14:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
ljgshkg Member since:
2008-03-25

I guess it's OK as long as the tools (plugins) required to run those proprietary components remains free AND we still have good enough web standard technologies allowing us to do rich web sites without those proprietary components (e.g. AJAX).

What we want are choices, and good enough open choices. We don't need everything to be open anyway.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by ljgshkg on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
ljgshkg Member since:
2008-03-25

If someone -1 my message, may be you should at least leave a short message. -1-ing me without saying anything'd just keep me wondering what exactly you're opposing...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Kroc
by dagw on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

The W3C is an open body. Microsoft are in this body of members, yet don't generally contribute at all.

Um, take a look at the w3c site and the standards and recommendations they've published. You'll find Microsoft and Microsoft employees involved in a great many of them. MS is an active and contributing member or w3c.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

"The W3C is an open body. Microsoft are in this body of members, yet don't generally contribute at all.
Um, take a look at the w3c site and the standards and recommendations they've published. You'll find Microsoft and Microsoft employees involved in a great many of them. MS is an active and contributing member or w3c. "

Welcome to Kroc's reality-distortion field.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by kaiwai on Sat 12th Jul 2008 01:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The W3C is an open body. Microsoft are in this body of members, yet don't generally contribute at all. The same as with Microsoft being in the OASIS group.

If other people have other agendas, they are going to go off and do them, regardless of what the W3C are up to.


It doesn't help when things take so long for standards to become standards; just look at OpenGL and the effect that its dawdling it has had on the gaming marketplace. Microsoft jumped up and promised game companies they would no longer have to be held hostage to the slow progress of OpenGL - and offered DirectX as an alternative. As they say, the rest is now history.

The w3c is a standards committee that can make strong decisive action when required - and for it not to be held to the whims of the individual members, because lord knows, there are a number of members in there who will scuttle any possible attempt to improve the status quo.

Microsoft and Adobe are driven by money and the W3C is not. I cannot see placing the blame on the W3C for being mentally slow as useful when the two melodramatic villians are clearly in the room with you.


True, but at the same time, when it takes *YEARS* for standards to develop, there are some major bottlenecks that need to be removed - lets also remember that this extension of the standard is hardly new.

Netscape did it years ago when fighting Microsoft by introducing extensions to IIRC Javascript which few took advantage of. Microsoft extended HTML with some useful enhancements (image trying to get some of those through the standards committee - no matter how good they are!) and developers took advantage of them (because they were useful).

It's lack of uptake of W3C standards, because of IE. No other browser, just IE. Browsers can do incredible things now, but people are still coding for IE6 and missing out on all the flash-negating technology available and ripe for the picking.


Unfortunately it is the chicken and egg scenario with vested interest thrown in for good luck. When you are Microsoft, and your 'trojon horse' is Silverlight, and yet, there are technologies that negate Silverlight in the form of open standards - who do you think is going to win? that is why Internet Explorer is so horrendiously broken. Quite frankly, what I would have loved to see is completely throw away all backwards compatibility and make IE 8 100% standards compliant with all the web standards, and simply provide extended support to IE 7 - then kill it off in a year. I

f companies can't be bothered upgrading their internal applications and website owners are too lazy to do that job - tough is all I say.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by JacobMunoz on Mon 14th Jul 2008 02:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
JacobMunoz Member since:
2006-03-17

While I agree with the basis of your point, you can't ingore the fact that nearly all W3C members ARE driven by money, perhaps not the W3C organization itself. I used to work for the W3C (via the management group that ran it), and I can safely say of course money did/does have a major part to play. The participants are from companies that have their own agendas, their own products, and their own preferences - so they defend them. This is somewhat unavoidable (just like democracy being vulnerable to extremist majorities), they play the rules - well - and get their way. But I've frankly never deemed the W3C as an important group, development is progressed by the IETF, IESG, IRTF, IAB, ISOC, etc.. To me, the W3C is simply the 'corporate face' of internet development, and little more. Just another place to use buzzwords and explain them to CEO's...

..and the meetings were soooooo boring. The IETF was MUCH more interesting, with many attendees/members who participate without corporate backing. It was a place where you NEVER heard the word 'shareholder', at least not back then (1999).

It's hard to say we can blame any one group for the majority of this mess (aside from MS, of course ;) ), but as standards groups have no 'enforcement' to speak of - perhaps we can only blame ourselves for choosing particular proprietary software. I blame myself for caring what a webpage looks like in IE because if I focused on Netscape/Moz/et al, I could force the user to try a _BETTER_ browser and not just the crappy one they use by default. Or perhaps they would just go to a different webpage... there's the conundrum.

Reply Score: 2

Completely disagree
by Clinton on Fri 11th Jul 2008 06:26 UTC
Clinton
Member since:
2005-07-05

I believe Paul Ellis's article is well written, and he obviously has thought a lot about the topic, but I completely disagree.

Like them or not, the W3C has delivered a standard that I can correctly interface with on my 32 & 64-bit Linux machines, my OS X machine, my OpenBSD machine, my FreeBSD machine, and even a Windows machine; if I owned one. Neither Microsoft nor Adobe can say this.

The W3C has also been a driving force in getting various browsers to adhere to a standard. Doesn't Paul remember the fun we had with proprietary browser technologies back in the late 90s? That's the sort of mayhem Microsoft and others brought us as they competed for market share.

What is wrong with 7 year old standards anyway? I would much prefer to have a 7 year old open standard that worked pretty much the same everywhere rather than some new proprietary technology that didn't.

The author complains about HTML, CSS, and SVG not being cohesive. Are you kidding? Let's look at the "cohesive" mess that is .NET web programming; ASP, C#, VB, XML, blah, blah, etc. Let's look at Java with all its various frameworks, libraries, etc. that attempt to tame its verbosity.

The author also complains about the difficulty of using Ajax. I agree that there are many better scripting languages in the world that Javascript, and manually setting up Ajax calls sucks, but is he honestly trying to sell the idea that Silverlight and Flash are somehow easier to program?

Flash and Silverlight have their place, to be sure, but they are not examples of what is right with the web. They are, once again, two incompatible technologies competing for market share.

I'd take the open standards over both of them any day.

Edited 2008-07-11 06:27 UTC

Reply Score: 16

RE: Completely disagree
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 07:07 UTC in reply to "Completely disagree"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

You totally missed the point. Nobody is criticizing the W3C for delivering HTML. That's a straw man. The REAL problem is that the W3C didn't move quickly enough to develop video and animation standards within HTML, so private companies such as Adobe and Microsoft stepped into the void.

That said, I don't think that it's really possible for the W3C to do much better than they've already done. Developing standards is DIFFICULT. It requires consensus from a diverse set of comittee members -- people with different and shifting motivations -- and this takes time. Companies such as Adobe and Microsoft don't need to get consensus in order to develop their own software. They're primarily interested in time-to-market, and creating a proprietary solution is almost always easier than waiting for a standard to emerge.

So, no matter how quickly the W3C operates, private organizations will stay out in front of them, and I wouldn't criticize Microsoft or Adobe for filling a need.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Completely disagree
by Kroc on Fri 11th Jul 2008 07:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Completely disagree"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

If Microsoft and Adobe had put their weight behind the standard, they could have all come to a conclusion over video and audio standards in web documents overnight. The fact is that rather than helping the W3C reach standards quicker through collaboration, they decided early on to go do their own thing, knowing that it was directly overstepping the very standard they were supposed to be helping define.

It's like the two bullies have gone off to play whilst the geek is left to do their homework for them.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Completely disagree
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Completely disagree"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

If Microsoft and Adobe had put their weight behind the standard, they could have all come to a conclusion over video and audio standards in web documents overnight.


I disagree. It takes time to develop standards. Even when you don't have two competitors on the advisory committee.

The fact is that rather than helping the W3C reach standards quicker through collaboration, they decided early on to go do their own thing, knowing that it was directly overstepping the very standard they were supposed to be helping define. It's like the two bullies have gone off to play whilst the geek is left to do their homework for them.


No, that's not true. Microsoft and Adobe have always been a part of the W3C process. It's just that they were working on their own approaches SIMULTANEOUSLY. There's nothing which prevented the W3C from moving forward on video standards during that time frame, but the W3C essentially dragged its feet. Microsoft and Adobe didn't "sandbag" the W3C, either. The W3C just moves at a glacial pace.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Completely disagree
by tyrione on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Completely disagree"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

"If Microsoft and Adobe had put their weight behind the standard, they could have all come to a conclusion over video and audio standards in web documents overnight.


I disagree. It takes time to develop standards. Even when you don't have two competitors on the advisory committee.

The fact is that rather than helping the W3C reach standards quicker through collaboration, they decided early on to go do their own thing, knowing that it was directly overstepping the very standard they were supposed to be helping define. It's like the two bullies have gone off to play whilst the geek is left to do their homework for them.


No, that's not true. Microsoft and Adobe have always been a part of the W3C process. It's just that they were working on their own approaches SIMULTANEOUSLY. There's nothing which prevented the W3C from moving forward on video standards during that time frame, but the W3C essentially dragged its feet. Microsoft and Adobe didn't "sandbag" the W3C, either. The W3C just moves at a glacial pace.
"

Do you have a reading deficiency? He made it painfully clear that whilst the two high standing members always keep their foot into the pond they haven't build the pond, but instead have built a competing pond through which they have marketed the hell out of in order to gain a lake which dwarfs that pond.

Later when that lake has flooded the pond out of existence it's quite clear that we have a wasteland left behind.

Apple made a point by disallowing both platforms on the iPhone Dev environment and is targeted WebKit with open standards pre-existing and upcomping HTML 5 which they have been driving and finally the W3C wisely stepped in to endorse.

Who are the editors of HTML 5?

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/

Editors:
Ian Hickson, Google, Inc.
David Hyatt, Apple, Inc.

Two very smart guys.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Completely disagree
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 21:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Completely disagree"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

He made it painfully clear that whilst the two high standing members always keep their foot into the pond they haven't build the pond, but instead have built a competing pond through which they have marketed the hell out of in order to gain a lake which dwarfs that pond.


That's one way to look at the past 10 years -- but it DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT that the W3C DRAGGED ITS FEET in coming up with video and animation standards for the Web. Microsoft and Adobe didn't PREVENT the W3C from moving forward on these standards. Marketing be damned. Microsoft also marketed the HELL out of MSN when it was a proprietary Web, and the standards-based solution won out in the end. So, stop pretending that marketing always trumps standards. If the W3C had PRODUCED a meaningful video/animation standard in the time frame in which it was needed, it wouldn't have been necessary for Microsoft and Adobe to go in their own directions.

Later when that lake has flooded the pond out of existence it's quite clear that we have a wasteland left behind.


Rubbish. What Microsoft and Adobe produced DID NOT prevent the W3C from producing standards. The W3C's failure to act, however, made them IRRELEVANT.

Apple made a point by disallowing both platforms on the iPhone Dev environment and is targeted WebKit with open standards pre-existing and upcomping HTML 5 which they have been driving and finally the W3C wisely stepped in to endorse


The only reason that Apple "disallowed both platforms" is that they don't want competitors getting a foothold on the iPhone. If you've been paying attention (and I have to assume that you are), Apple has done everything POSSIBLE to prevent 3rd party apps from being able to unlock and run on the iPhone. It had nothing to do with dedication to standards. Apple has proven time and time again that they want to own the ENTIRE ecosystem, and part of that strategy is in preventing competitors from gaining an advantageous point of entry.

Edited 2008-07-11 21:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Completely disagree
by Clinton on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Completely disagree"
Clinton Member since:
2005-07-05

tomcat,

Having written for the web since back in '94, I can say that the W3C has done a tremendous service to everybody by standardizing the web. No, it still isn't perfect. However, nobody with an ounce of sense can deny things are much better today because of the W3C.

You are acting like Microsoft and Adobe came to the rescue because of the sheer lameness of the W3C.

Bovine excrement!

What has Microsoft done that has brought the web together? Created yet another "me too" technology in Silverlight? Have they made IE standards compliant yet?

IE 7 certainly sucks less than the worthless bubble of anal wind that is IE 6, but it still isn't that great to write code for because it doesn't support the 7 year old standard very well. Maybe when the most widely used browser starts adhering to the 7 year old standard, you can complain about the W3C being slow.

Edited 2008-07-11 22:08 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: Completely disagree
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:34 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Completely disagree"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Having written for the web since back in '94, I can say that the W3C has done a tremendous service to everybody by standardizing the web. No, it still isn't perfect. However, nobody with an ounce of sense can deny things are much better today because of the W3C.


I've never questioned that.

You are acting like Microsoft and Adobe came to the rescue because of the sheer lameness of the W3C.


No, reread some of my other posts. The W3C isn't lame. They're just slow. And as I pointed out in some of my other posts, I don't blame them for being slow. Getting consensus is tough. You have a lot of players with different ideas on the way that things should work, and you have to get all of these guys to play nice. Takes time. But that doesn't change the fact that the lack of standards created a vacuum in the market that Microsoft and Adobe filled. I'm not commenting on how well (or poorly) they filled that vacuum, because that's an entirely separate conversation.

What has Microsoft done that has brought the web together? Created yet another "me too" technology in Silverlight?


Again, I'm not here to critique anybody's specific technology.

Have they made IE standards compliant yet?


Apparently, IE8 is.

IE 7 certainly sucks less than the worthless bubble of anal wind that is IE 6, but it still isn't that great to write code for because it doesn't support the 7 year old standard very well...


This conversation has officially gone off the rails...

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Completely disagree
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Completely disagree"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The only reason that Apple "disallowed both platforms" is that they don't want competitors getting a foothold on the iPhone.


I also suspect that Adobe would ask for licensing fees in exchange for releasing a Flash player for the iPhone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Completely disagree
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 22:36 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Completely disagree"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I also suspect that Adobe would ask for licensing fees in exchange for releasing a Flash player for the iPhone.


I doubt it. The competition with Silverlight has changed the playing field, since SL runs on OS X. Adobe knows that it would be lucky to get onto the iPhone, period, so it would seem unlikely that they would push as far as licensing fees. But I could be wrong. There's no accounting for insanity.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Completely disagree
by roel on Fri 11th Jul 2008 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Completely disagree"
roel Member since:
2007-06-08

primarily interested in time-to-market, and creating a proprietary solution is almost always easier than waiting for a standard to emerge.


Being first in a market, gives you most of the time a big market share after stabilization of that market. And a big market share could be a de facto standard. Being the "owner" of the standard gives a company a competitive advantage. Even more so, if it's a closed standard (reverse engineering takes time). An open standard still gives an advantage, because the owner can more easily steer the standard in one direction.

Adobe did publish pdf (and now flash) as a standard, and opened the documentation. Again, they are doing this to hopefully gather industry wide support. This could then lead to a standard again. I think for example that PDF is the standard for electronic documents.

Microsoft tries to keep standards closed (or ambigue) and proprietary wherever they are the market leader. In other markets (e.g. pdf) they use the open standard strategy to erode the market power of the competition. And at the same time, they are showing their goodwill in supporting open standard. I'm still surprised that IronPython stays so extremely close to the "standard" Python. Normally, I would rather expect them to embrace and extend (remember Java) open stuff like that. I don't have much in the .NET market, but so far I know they remain a remarkably good citizen.

bye
rm

Edited 2008-07-11 16:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Completely disagree
by kaiwai on Sat 12th Jul 2008 02:03 UTC in reply to "Completely disagree"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What is wrong with 7 year old standards anyway? I would much prefer to have a 7 year old open standard that worked pretty much the same everywhere rather than some new proprietary technology that didn't.


There is nothing wrong with 'proprietary' technology either - as long as it is properly documented and the specifications are open and available to anyone to implement.

Case in point, the Flash specifications which once could only be obtained through signing an NDA are now available for every person to access. The specifications are open (although Flash isn't an open standard) and thus, the opensource world should be putting their foot down on the accelerator peddle and pump out a free opensource Flash implementation.

I'd love to see a version of Flash that doesn't actually suck on Mac OS X - anyone who has used MacOS X will rant about just how terrible it is; CPU hogging, browser crashing. Then again, from what it appears, Apple seems to be happy with 'the third way' which avoids some of the problems but ignores the fact that atleast with flash there is 'one format on the web to rule them all'. If their idea ever takes off, one will have the 'joy' of having to have 6 different media players install just to support the potpuri of formats out there.

Reply Score: 4

MS IE6 100% to blame
by mabhatter on Fri 11th Jul 2008 06:28 UTC
mabhatter
Member since:
2005-07-17

the blame is Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. That version is the one that destroyed Netscape and didn't fully implement the W3C standards like CSS2 and the XHTML1.0 the author mentions when it was released. Microsoft engineers were on those W3C committees. Microsoft didn't update any features in IE6 until into 2007!!! with IE7.

Alternate browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Opera only broke single digit usage numbers in the last 18 months or so (we're still only at about 25% of web traffic to big sites). There have been updates, but one leading company is simply not listening... even in IE8 they claim being "standards compliant" will break too many pages. What's the point in new specs when they are not implemented.

If we could simply stop supporting IE at all, the web would advance 5 years overnight! Many cool features can be emulated, and many cool new features are simply ignored because IE won't ever use them. iPhone and Firefox are the big drivers of W3C standards right now. I think HTML 5 needs to happen soon, with big marketing just to see if we can shake the IE ship. Stuff like SVG scripting can meet 50% of flash uses, the other uses of flash are because companies LIKE the fact that it's not open, Adobe actively adds features to lock out users from pulling down content if the authors don't want them too. That's both opposed to an open web and orthogonal to the open web argument because locking down content is not on the W3C agenda. Part of HTML5 was to guarantee open media standards for everybody like Ogg Vorbis and Theora video would be implemented on ALL browsers... quickly shot down by all the big companies not wanting to play open source anymore.

Blame the companies that sit on W3C committees and deliberately sabotage the specs for the mess... Adobe, IBM, Microsoft... with real marking power sent engineers and simply refuse to implement the finished work because THEY might not make money on it. All the big companies need to be thrown out of the W3C and the new specs need to become a counter-culture for things to move ahead.

Reply Score: 8

RE: MS IE6 100% to blame
by google_ninja on Fri 11th Jul 2008 12:32 UTC in reply to "MS IE6 100% to blame"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

the blame is Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. That version is the one that destroyed Netscape and didn't fully implement the W3C standards like CSS2 and the XHTML1.0


Netscape was destroyed by ie 4, which was a great browser. IE6 was the result of years of maintenance work and no real development.

Also, nobody fully implemented CSS2 until safari some time a year or two ago. Firefox only made it there with v3, which was just released.

even in IE8 they claim being "standards compliant" will break too many pages. What's the point in new specs when they are not implemented.


By being standards compliant, ie8 is going to break pages that have ie specific hacks in place. ie8 is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to standards compliance, just as 7 was a huge step in terms of security.

Stuff like SVG scripting can meet 50% of flash uses, the other uses of flash are because companies LIKE the fact that it's not open, Adobe actively adds features to lock out users from pulling down content if the authors don't want them too. That's both opposed to an open web and orthogonal to the open web argument because locking down content is not on the W3C agenda. Part of HTML5 was to guarantee open media standards for everybody like Ogg Vorbis and Theora video would be implemented on ALL browsers... quickly shot down by all the big companies not wanting to play open source anymore.


Lots of things wrong here. First of all, flash is open now. Secondly, SVG scripting has a LONG way to go before it even comes close to flash in features and perf let alone tooling. Ogg Theora is VP3, which is a very old version of what flash uses for video, which is VP7, a FAR superior codec. MS is using VC-3, which is not only in VP7s class, but also is pretty much the high def standard at the moment, AND they paid for a license in moonlight, which is an lgpl implementation.

Theora is ALREADY outdated and there is absolutely no need for it.

Lastly, the W3C is not some group of benevolent wise men sitting on a mountain somewhere, it is a consortium of companies with interests in web technology, which put out recommendations for said companies. We are not talking about ISO or ANSI or ECMA, we are talking about one step up from an internal R&D group sending white papers to the production team.

which is why if this happened

All the big companies need to be thrown out of the W3C and the new specs need to become a counter-culture for things to move ahead.


there would be nobody left.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by Kroc on Fri 11th Jul 2008 14:41 UTC in reply to "RE: MS IE6 100% to blame"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

"flash is open now"
Don't make me laugh!

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by google_ninja on Fri 11th Jul 2008 18:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: MS IE6 100% to blame"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The spec is open, the VM is open, the googlebot is indexing it... I don't understand why that makes you laugh

Edited 2008-07-11 18:34 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by Kroc on Fri 11th Jul 2008 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: MS IE6 100% to blame"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Compile it yourself, put it on a CD and sell it.
Then it's open.

Oh you can't?
Because you don't own it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by google_ninja on Fri 11th Jul 2008 19:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: MS IE6 100% to blame"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Why can't you?

Reply Score: 2

Thats not the point
by galvanash on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: MS IE6 100% to blame"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Compile it yourself, put it on a CD and sell it.
Then it's open.


The Specification IS open (at least mostly):

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/pdf/swf_file_format_spec_v9.pdf

There is still some important bits missing - the big ones being RTMP and the spark codec stuff - but whats there has been open since May. But to be clear, its not open source - but it is an open spec.

Implement a player yourself. Then you can compile it, put it on a CD and sell it. If that is your definition of open then its open. You just have to do the hard part - implementation. They don't provide an open source reference implementation.

Now having said that - I still think Flash sucks and the way forward is through text based vectoring formats (SVG, canvas, etc.). Standardization of audio/video media codecs and graphics/vector libraries should be developed independently imho.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thats not the point
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:11 UTC in reply to "Thats not the point"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Thanks for posting the link. Some people don't like to hear the truth, even when it's sitting right in front of them...

Edited 2008-07-11 20:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by intangible on Fri 11th Jul 2008 21:10 UTC in reply to "RE: MS IE6 100% to blame"
intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

Ogg Theora is VP3, which is a very old version of what flash uses for video, which is VP7, a FAR superior codec. MS is using VC-3, which is not only in VP7s class, but also is pretty much the high def standard at the moment, AND they paid for a license in moonlight, which is an lgpl implementation.

Theora is ALREADY outdated and there is absolutely no need for it.


It's not supposed to be better than all others, it's just supposed to be open enough and good enough to be a last resort fallback that you can guarantee will work on every browser on almost every device. Right now, your only fallback option for video to work on most browsers is ancient MPEG, and that's not even guaranteed. Going with Theora would not be the best solution for hi-def movies, but AT LEAST you'd know you could serve video to everyone on every device that implemented HTML5.

By having no standardized codec at all, we are in exactly the same situation than we are now with hoping people have or will download a plugin to play our content... Or we can just do it in flash and hope that works (Not for you iPhone users).

Having Theora as a standard does not preclude you from using a better codec as the first choice.

Edited 2008-07-11 21:10 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: MS IE6 100% to blame
by Finalzone on Fri 11th Jul 2008 21:22 UTC in reply to "RE: MS IE6 100% to blame"
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Ogg Theora is VP3, which is a very old version of what flash uses for video, which is VP7, a FAR superior codec. MS is using VC-3, which is not only in VP7s class, but also is pretty much the high def standard at the moment, AND they paid for a license in moonlight, which is an lgpl implementation.

Which bring software patent issue that moonlight and VP7 have. Are those patent holders warrantying they will not sue anyone for these modifications and uses of codecs?

Edited 2008-07-11 21:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

It's not as though what W3C say has to be used. They decide how to do things and everyone else figures it out.

Thankfully, for the most part, everyone but Microsoft and Adobe is concerned about doing the right thing. I get the feeling that the mobile web will push things in the right direction more quickly than anything else. For all the grumbling, Apple's iPhone 3G will push Microsoft's mobile platform out of the way and Internet Exploder usage will go down. As Flash and Java have been refused by Apple, it's possible W3C will have a clear path to a non-proprietary solution.

If more phones had implementations of good browsers based on Opera, Firefox, and WebKit, the W3C could become more of an authority.

Edited 2008-07-11 07:56 UTC

Reply Score: 7

Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

Thankfully, for the most part, everyone but Microsoft and Adobe is concerned about doing the right thing.


To give Adobe some credit, they did at least port Flash to Linux, which is more than we've seen from Microsoft with Silverlight.

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

"Thankfully, for the most part, everyone but Microsoft and Adobe is concerned about doing the right thing.
To give Adobe some credit, they did at least port Flash to Linux, which is more than we've seen from Microsoft with Silverlight. "

Rubbish. Microsoft has been working closely with Novell engineers on Moonlight, the Linux port of SilverLight.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/sep07/09-04Silverligh...
http://www.novell.com/prblogs/?p=387
http://www.linux.com/articles/136608
http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

Reply Score: 1

I Disagree
by thecwin on Fri 11th Jul 2008 08:41 UTC
thecwin
Member since:
2006-01-04

their last XHTML/HTML recommendation (XHTML 1.1) was in 2001. That was seven years ago,

Well, what's to be expected? As the quote mentions, W3C recommended XHTML 1.1 in seven years ago. CSS2 was 1999, even older. Yet still, we're fighting with Microsoft for decent support for either of these standards.

W3C can't exactly move at lightning pace when the browser with the most marketshare still isn't implementing their specifications. Microsoft should be working on implementing the drafts of CSS3 and XHTML2 before they're released, rather than 10 years afterwards.

Developing these standards requires large input from lots of different people involved in all aspects of web development. If MS and Adobe properly supported the W3C in this process, they might be able to churn out better specs, faster.

Besides, I suspect that features from HTML5 are going to be worked into XHTML 2. It shouldn't be hard, given it's modularity. XHTML2 is interesting and nice, but it's very controversial and will take a long time to standardise. To be honest, the W3C slowing down combined with the receeding marketshare of IE seems to have prompted a renewed interest of Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft into the standards development process.

Reply Score: 6

java
by Darkness on Fri 11th Jul 2008 10:12 UTC
Darkness
Member since:
2005-08-27

Microsoft and adobe are certainly not the only ones. Look at Sun with their Java... That was also closed source until recently.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Nycran
by Nycran on Fri 11th Jul 2008 13:04 UTC
Nycran
Member since:
2006-02-06

I'm not sure I agree with blaming the W3C, but i do agree with the sentiment that the lack of rich features supported by HTML4 and XHTML1 has created the market for Flash and Silverlight.

In the end, I don't care whose fault it is, but I want richer native widgets within the browser (datagrids, trees, etc) and local data storage (like Google Gears). Native video would be a bonus.

Over the next decade there will be a continued shift from desktop apps to web apps, and there's completely missing functionality that's available natively within browsers.

Advanced javascript toolkits do help, the likes of extjs, jquery etc, but in the end they're a patch to a problem that needs to be fixed upstream.

By the time 2012 rocks around, Flash and Silverlight might be so wide spread that HTML5 will have an uphill battle, and if that happens, Linux will be in a very bad position. Indeed, Silverlight might be seen as a long term strategy to keep Linux at bay.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nycran
by tomcat on Fri 11th Jul 2008 20:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nycran"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I'm not sure I agree with blaming the W3C, but i do agree with the sentiment that the lack of rich features supported by HTML4 and XHTML1 has created the market for Flash and Silverlight.


Who created the HTML4 and XHTML1 standards ... ?

Reply Score: 1

wow, lotta posts about microsoft
by Yamin on Fri 11th Jul 2008 13:54 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

Wow, quite a lot of posts about microsoft.

Quite frankly, I wish we got a more 'forceful' implementation earlier on which was more feature rich.

You can compare it to Java, and Java was controlled by SUN. I mean minimizing a program to the system tray is very useful desktop feature. I think Windows 95 had it. Sun's Java support for it?.... Java 6 in 2004 I think (dates could be wrong... argument is valid ;) ).

Seriously, what have we managed to 'recreate' on the web? We've now just recreated regular application development which we've all known how to do since forever:). To top it off, we created it off a mishmash of technologies. Wow! tabs, lists, tables, asynchronous udpates, video players!!!

MS/Abobe should have more forcefully developed silverlight/flash years ago instead of trying to work with the W3C on open standards. They know how to make things practical and how to build development environments. At best, the W3C should have pushed Adobe/MS to open up their specifications to build runtimes for all platforms.

Edited 2008-07-11 13:59 UTC

Reply Score: 1

v JSenior Match
by kikiloveu2 on Fri 11th Jul 2008 15:55 UTC
RE: JSenior Match
by wannabe geek on Fri 11th Jul 2008 16:07 UTC in reply to "JSenior Match"
wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

and I guess you need silverlight for that?? O_o

Reply Score: 2

So much to cover.
by deathshadow on Sat 12th Jul 2008 05:11 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

I'll have to break this into two parts.

The original blog post about Firefox reminds me of a precept of law I was taught at an early age. In order for a law or ruling to be fair it must be applied equally and without predjudice to all parties. Simple fact is most of what has been applied against Microsoft has nothing to do with monopolistic practices and everything to do with sour grapes. I don't see the EU going after Apple for bundling iTunes or Linux distro's for bundling Totem - just as he doesn't see Firefox catching heat for not making you choose a search engine at install. If you have to nail one company for an action everyone else is doing too, the problem does NOT lie with the company you are singling out.

As to the new topic of blaming the W3C, the blame needs to be spread around equally here. Let's face facts, prior to four years ago most web developers had never even HEARD of the W3C, much less practiced 'web standards'. Why? Because it was undeployable. All this talk about specifications being a decade old or taking decades to implement misses that nobody actually tried - In fact the first company TO TRY was in fact Microsoft.

It's easy today to blame IE6 for all the CSS woes developers struggle with. A buggy box-model, elements not rendering to the standards unless you set 'haslayout' on them, the dreaded 3 pixel jog, margin doubling on floats and haslayout elements wrapping floats when they shouldn't - There's a lot wrong there... and yet when it was released, IE6 was the most standards compliant browser released to date that was suitable for daily use - You don't see a lot of people browsing the web using Amaya, do you? (funny the W3C has its own browser even developers don't use)

Let's face it, Netscape 6 was buggy as hell and nowhere NEAR the W3C specs, and neither were the mozilla's that sprung forth for it until Netscape 7 / Gecko 1.0.1... Opera didn't really hop on the standards wagon 'for real' until version 7... and after that, who else is there?

Much of the problem of web standards stems from adoption of new versions of software. Joe six-pack is annoyed by constantly downloading and updating their software. While geeks like us (assumption, you're reading OSNews - geekcheck) might spend the time to keep all our software up to date, within a month of a fresh install grandma has gotten pissed about the update managers cropping up in the middle of writing an e-mail to pookey, and has nebfered any form of update checking. This results in the majority of software on the majority of machines being 'stuck' at the same revision for the life of the hardware - 3 years minimum and you have the people STILL nursing along Win98 boxes because it does everything they need it to do.

You combine the long development cycles with the long deployment cycles, and you are looking at 6-10 years for a published "standard" to be adopted. Let's face it, while CSS layouts were cute how deployable were they REAL WORLD just four years ago? Most developers were still coding to support Nyetscape 4 or had given up on alternative browsers alltogether and coding strictly for IE. We can be honest here - prior to Firefox, Safari and Opera 8 the number of developers who gave a **** about 'web standards' could be counted on one hand. Simple fact is it took six years for CSS2 to go from finalized to deployable (and deployable does not mean fully implemented) and another two years for it to become common enough practice - and still most of the top sites do little more than lip service.

This means LOT of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of "developers"... and the people who screw around using WYSIWYGS like Frontpage or Dreamweaver and have the UNMITTIGATED GALL to call themselves developers. How many websites out there actually validate? You have a look around - E-Bay doesn't validate... Google doesn't... Amazon, Yahoo, SlashDot, OSNews, Woot - none of those validate... The rubbish put up on myspace sure as shine doesn't. (Again, want a laugh? MSN validates) If the code doesn't pass validation, it's NOT HTML, it's gibberish. If you can't be bothered to write valid HTML in the first place, you're in the wrong business.

Between piss poor coding practices, the rubbish vomited up by WYSIWYG's and passed off as websites, and the use of outdated code that were bad ideas when they were new (javascripted rollovers, javascripted menus) it's a miracle the web works at all. Mostly these issues can be attributed, to borrow from General Eisenhower - Urgent directives from above and protest from the occasional "Alarmist" could not eliminate an apathy that had its roots in comfort, blindness and wishful thinking.

Much of that comes from the error handling in browsers, which is ABSURDLY forgiving - and ABSURDLY inconsistant. This is where things like the ACID2 test shine since it tests not just valid markup, but valid handling of errors. Developers tend to put more time into making sure VALID code works than they do handling errors the same way... again invalid markup, good luck getting pages to work properly across browsers - WORSE, most developers write the entire site to one engine, don't validate, then thrown hack after hack after hack at their code bloating it out to try to make it work everywhere else... The PROPER technique is to test each section as you code it in each browser and to avoid hacks as much as possible... The mantra you often hear in web development forums like Sitepoint or Digital Point is "Code for FF, hack for IE" - a recipe for /FAIL/ if ever there was one.

NOT that developers shortcomings are entirely their own fault - this is where Paul's talking about "eleven years after XHTML 1.1" comes into play. Before something can be implemented people have to learn how to do it. This takes YEARS for most people. If we had a three year development and deployment cycle on the web how in the devil would you even TEACH it at the college level? This is a problem plaguing schools nationwide when it comes to the technology sector as by the time you graduate everything you learned in your freshman year is already on the trash heap. (if it wasn't already a decade out of date when you started).

NOT that very many schools offer actual HTML or CSS classes - they prefer to teach rubbish like using the Dreamweaver WYSIWYG... because they get a kickback from Adobe, because any idiot can learn how to use it and therin teach it, because it hides the underlying technologies that change at a faster pace than the UI, etc, etc. They don't care if it generates invalid markup, teaches bad coding habits, outputs a 10:1 ratio of markup to content, rarely works cross browser, doesn't make pages that are accesability friendly (enjoy those fines in the UK guys!), don't index well in search engines, don't make proper separation of presentation from content, or the entire host of other issues that make it a cute toy. As I keep telling people the only thing you can learn from Dreamweaver is how NOT to build a website... and once you have the knowledge to do it properly, continuing to use it makes little or no sense. (therin why waste the hundreds of dollars on something you can do better in a flat text editor?)

Jumping back to the problem with the various browsers, next in line being Gecko (and by extension Firefox) - it's repeatedly touted as being standards compliant yet there are gaping holes in it's HTML4 implementation dating back a DECADE. (have a look at bugzilla #915 for a GREAT example). Much as you have coders wasting thousands of hours on stupid nonsense like new skins for every blasted release, you have coders jumping the gun blowing time implementing stuff from CSS3 and HTML5 - specifications not even out of DRAFT - when they've not even got HTML4 and CSS2 done yet!!! Sorry, but I need to say this: ***holes.

--- to be continued ---

Reply Score: 2

RE: So much to cover... continued
by deathshadow on Sat 12th Jul 2008 05:13 UTC in reply to "So much to cover."
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

continued from http://www.osnews.com/thread?322610

Yet for all the browsers faults Paul is correct, the blame can be equally distributed to the W3C and it's absurdly vague and cryptic specifications. Take form elements for example - while the code to make them is well documented there is little or no specification on what they should look like or how they should react to CSS. You say "code a cross browser form with full accessability" to most web developers and they shudder. Since the specification doesn't say how things like INPUT[submit] should handle styling, as Dan Shulz once told me: "They all went and did what they do best when left to their own devices; Do it their own way and to hell with what anyone else is trying to do."

Let's look at the 'handling' of a INPUT type="submit"

Trident (IE) adds arbitrary padding and margins and bases the height off line-height and not height

Gecko (FF et al) adds 0.2em to the sides that you cannot remove and has the habit of ignoring attempts at vertical alingment in it's parent elements line-height (meaning it's not behaving as an image or as an inline-block would) - this behavior can be traced back to Netscape 4.

Webkit/KHTML (Safari/Konqueror) ignores your attempts at CSS styling and does it's own goof assed thing making even lining up inputs with their labels a pain in the ass, breaking many websites designed with styled forms.

Presto/Kestrel (Opera) treats them as inline-block elements accepting all CSS explicitly.

Hmm... Which one of these makes the most sense again? (here's a hint, it's not Gecko)... and this is just making a submit button - long before we talk about the train wrecks that are fieldsets, legends, and a bunch of other things that you cannot entirely blame the browser makers for because the specification doesn't actually say how they should work.

It gets worse when you start throwing in stuff like Ajax, Silverlight, and Flash. Flash is one of the worst offenders NOT because it's a bad technology, but because it is repeatedly used for stuff that is a total /FAIL/ in terms of accessability and convenience. Want to make a game or embed a video - Flash is the man. Using it for presentational elements on a website, site navigation and a whole host of other things you see it ABUSED for not only bloats out the page unneccessarily, but is a miserable failure in terms of accessability and often costs more in development time and deployment than it delivers. Basically, there's a reason it's called flash and not substance.

But you see technologies like javascript... uhm, I mean DHTML... uhm, I mean AJAX... Uhm, oh for **** sake just pick a ***ing name already... (ooh look, we added a handful of commands - the lanugage needs a whole new name) You see it abused as well. While Ajax is great for things like web applications, doing so at the cost of conventional navigation is outright stupid and shortsighted. A typical 'misuse' of ajax is to supplant 'target=' since target no longer validates (it was deprecated for a REASON! STOP DOING THAT BEHAVIOR!!!) or to emulate framesets on things like tabs, with no graceful degredation to non-javascript. Desktop browsers are not the be-all end-all of the internet, nor does everyone browse with scripting enabled... Just as not everyone browses with plugins (like silverlight or flash) enabled. Websites are SUPPOSED to be about access for everyone and the ABUSE of these technologies unneccessarily is as eqally to blame as anything else.

Basically, there's plenty of blame to spread around - and using phrases like "the real culprit" is typical of people wanting to point the finger at one cause so you can rally around an easy fix - whether that fix would actually work or not.

*** Side Note *** - Don't take anyone talking about web technologies seriously if they use the term Web 2.0. It's a marketspeak buzzword that nobody can even agree on the meaning of and is akin to describing Poochy the talking dog as "proactive"

Reply Score: 2

Agreed.
by TBPrince on Sat 12th Jul 2008 12:24 UTC
TBPrince
Member since:
2005-07-06

100% agreed.

This guy has a clue.

Reply Score: 1

OSnews please stop linking to Rants
by ashyanbhog on Sun 13th Jul 2008 16:45 UTC
ashyanbhog
Member since:
2006-08-24

Quality of articles OSnews promotes seem to have taken a nosedive since the days Eugenia(can we have you back on this site, please) stopped being the lead editor. So many of the author's interpretations are based on false assumptions, he's clearly posting with an agenda.

OSnews has lost its direction, and is no longer the site one visits to get updates on all sorts of home brewed and exotic Operating systems and programs that don't get covered elsewhere.

Almost all articles on front page are mainstream news that one can find on any other site. OSnews staff, please rediscover your roots.

Reply Score: 1