CyberTech Rambler

May 2, 2007

“Opt-in” to standard compliance? May I suggest “opt-out”

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 3:01 pm

Mary Jo-Foley is blogging about IE8 expectation. According to her blog post, IE8 will give developer the choice to “opt-in” to standard compliance mode.

 “Five years ago, no one in the top 200 Web sites was using standards,” [Microsoft’s] Wilson said. “Today it is half of the top 200 Web pages.”

You can see, the remnant of browser wars in the late 90s early 00 is still being felt today. At that time, both Microsoft and Netscape were trying to “lock in” web developers using proprietary technology. Both did not care about standard. Ultimately Microsoft won and the webscape is changed forever, i.e., everyone developing for IE only. As for browser, its development virtually stopped until FireFox resurrected it a few years ago, leading ultimately to Microsoft responding with IE7.

Right now, it is nice to see Microsoft attempting to clean up the mass. It is good to see Microsoft preparing to be more standard compliance. However, I will make the suggestion that rather than “opt-in” to standard compliance, developers has to “opt out”.  The path is more painful for developers, but it does send a strong signal about which way IE is going to go. Probably this is going to be too strong for Microsoft to stomach for business reasons and this is understandable. So, are we seeing IE8 employing “opt in”, IE9 employing “opt out” and IE10 standard compliance only?

That, given that IE7 to IE8 takes about a year, means a mere three years to IE10. Experience says that if IE10 arrive, it will be late as usual and IE10 may not arrived at all if the competition goes away. After all, most people thinks that the browser is dead until Firefox arrived, and Google popularize AJAX.

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