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Re: [css-d] Divergence between compliant browsers

Sent by Ben Henick on 29 January 2002 21:09


Might as well jump in, here.  Hi, Jeffrey.

On Tue, 29 Jan 2002, Jeffrey Zeldman wrote:

> 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 

Lots already do, but that's because Moz/NN6 leaks memory like a sieve.  
Dammit.

> write off Mozilla/NN6 as "too little used at this time to worry 
> about?"

There's that, too.

> 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 

This is a thorny issue.  Given for example the kind of reactions you've 
gotten to the Browser Upgrade Initiative, I suspect they would.

> 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?)

*shudder*

What it comes down to is, "is the official standard broken?"

No.  Mostly.

Ultimately, the move to CSS and standards is about three things (same 
song, second verse, to those who've read earlier posts of mine):

1.  Ease of maintenance
2.  Separation of style/content/structure
3.  Forward compatibility

#1 has already been discussed many times over on- and offlist.

#2 is something we've gotta start doing if we're ever going to live on an 
XML-based Web.  As it stands now, application developers are already 
moving to XML by the numbers.

#3 is a bit trickier, and the question that follows from it has already 
been asked - which will happen sooner, broad standards support or your 
next redesign for that client?

For me, it's straightforward matter.  Explain to the client, in simple 
written terms, the implications of refusing to be forward compatible.

If 12/18mos from now AOL 8 uses Gecko for its Web rendering, it becomes 
possible to POLITELY point out the earlier commo, and let the client make 
the decision for themselves.

<snip>
> 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.

As I've already pointed out, I don't see why slices are necessary in 
tableless designs.  Period, end of paragraph, end of story.

> 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.

That's a situation in which developers can make a difference, I think.

If we conscientously develop for Netscape 6 (an easy enough task if you 
iterate carefully) and encourage its use by all of the end users we know, 
it could catch on.  (Yes, I will admit that the reality of catering to 
client expectations hasn't become much less time-consuming.)

But... there are still the memory leaks to worry about.  There's also the 
fact that folks practicing standards-compliant development are in the 
minority.  Though a tremendous amount of progress has been made in the 
past few years, much of it a direct result of your hard work.


-- 
Ben Henick
Web Author At-Large              Managing Editor
http://www.io.com/persist1/      http://www.digital-web.com/
[EMAIL-REMOVED]                  [EMAIL-REMOVED]
--
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?"
"I think so, Brain, but... (snort) no, no, it's too stupid."
"We will disguise ourselves as a cow."
"Oh!" (giggles) "That was it exactly!"
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