Items tagged browsers, webstandards in 2008
Ian’s Acid 3, unlike its predecessors, is not about establishing a baseline of useful web capabilities. It’s quite explicitly about making browser developers jump—Ian specifically sought out tests that were broken in WebKit, Opera, and Gecko, perhaps out of a twisted attempt at fairness. But the Acid tests shouldn’t be fair to browsers, they should be fair to the web; they should be based on how good the web will be as a platform if all browsers conform, not about how far any given browser has to stretch to get there.
If Web authors actually use this feature, and if IE doesn’t keep losing market share, then eventually this will cause serious problems for IE’s competitors — instead of just having to contend with reverse-engineering IE’s quirks mode and making the specs compatible with IE’s standards mode, the other browser vendors are going to have to reverse engineer every major IE browser version, and end up implementing these same bug modes themselves.
Like DOCTYPE switching did in 2000, version targeting negates the vendor argument that existing behaviors can’t be changed for fear of breaking web sites. If IE8 botches its implementation of some CSS property or DOM method, the mistake can be fixed in IE9 without breaking sites developed in the IE8 era. This actually makes browser vendors more susceptible to pressure to fix their bugs, and less fearful of doing so.
Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8. This has huge implications for client-side web developers: IE 8 will include the ability to mark a page as “tested and compatible with the IE7 rendering engine” using an X-UA-Compatible HTTP header or http-equiv meta element. It’s already attracting a heated debate in the attached discussion. # 22nd January 2008, 12:40 pm