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[css-d] Divergence between compliant browsers

Sent by Jeffrey Zeldman on 29 January 2002 11:11


Eric's fine article 
(http://developer.netscape.com/evangelism/docs/articles/img-table/) 
is helpful and was needed, but in illuminating a difference in CSS 
interpretation between Mozilla and IE, it raises troubling practical 
questions.

Will clients allow us to go back into existing sites -- sites that 
are already published and paid for -- and modify their Style Sheets 
to prevent Mozilla and its derivatives from "breaking" table-based 
layouts?

Will those clients who allow us to do so pay us for our time? If not, 
can all of us afford to do this work without compensation?

Will less-than-knowledgeable clients (i.e. many web clients) blame us 
for for "not having done it right in the first place?" Will 
less-than-knowledgeable clients think Mozilla is broken? Will they 
write off Mozilla/NN6 as "too little used at this time to worry 
about?"

If clients do not permit designers and developers to go back into 
existing sites and alter their Style Sheets to accommodate the way 
Mozilla/NN6 now renders table-based layouts, will users think 
Mozilla/NN6 is "broken?" If so, will this decrease user adoption of 
Mozilla and its derivatives, thus driving even more users to IE? (And 
what impact would such a result have on the future of standards 
compliance across all browsers?)

Will designers and developers who haven't read Eric's article and the 
related quarreling in www-style 
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2001Mar/0169.html) 
think web standards are broken/not ready for Prime Time? Will those 
who've read Eric's article and the related quarreling in www-style 
come to the same conclusion?

I've read the relevant www-style threads, respect the intellect and 
integrity of all concerned, and fully appreciate that they know more 
about CSS than I ever will. I also appreciate that Mozilla/Netscape 
is doing the right thing in fully complying with CSS according to the 
best interpretation of its experts.

But the practical implications of this divergence between IE and 
Mozilla concern me per all the unanswered questions asked above.

Particularly as I don't see sliced image layouts going away any time 
soon, I fear that this divergence between our most compliant browsers 
will make development more, not less, costly and complex.

I also worry that it may negatively impact the already-slow adoption 
of Mozilla/NN6, and could convince some clients and developers that 
web standards are unnecessarily complicated and more trouble than 
they're worth.

If these questions were inappropriate to this list, please let me 
know. I do not intend to stir up theoretical arguments on this list, 
whose ground rules 
(http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/css/discuss/info.html) clearly indicate 
a preference for practical discussion over theory -- a preference I 
share. As a working stiff trying to move my clients closer to W3C 
compliance, I raise these issues in hopes they may generate practical 
discussion and experience-based tips.

jeffrey
http://www.zeldman.com/      http://www.alistapart.com/


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