Will Firefox make it?

When it comes to software, I’m very conservative. I was using mainly Windows 98 until March 2004. I think the greatest Homesite version is 3 (without any WYSIWYG). I don’t have RealPlayer or Quicktime installed. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my motto. I won’t even install a new version to see what it’s like…

I have been using only IE since version 3. I never installed, or checked out Netscape or Opera. I saw IE coming, sticked to it, and never looked back.

When I look into the past, I see that I follow the trends that will stick -though I’m very conservative, adopt them pretty quickly when the time comes. That makes me a pretty average power user, but also I think I can see what will stick or at least has a great chance by observing my own behavior.

It’s been quite some time, Firefox buzz has been going on. Never bothered to install it till yesterday, even after some people told me that my blog had a minor visual glitch when viewed with Firefox. ‘If you can’t view my page correctly, you’re using the wrong browser’ was my attitude (which still is)….

Anyway, yesterday I installed Firefox, which in itself means a lot for me. My first surprise was the download size: only 4.72MB. I expected the download to be around 20-40MB. And again to my surprise, I liked it.

Still IE is my default browser, but tabbed browsing, ability to open items in a bookmark folder in tabs, very nice download manager, not a single problem with Flash plug-in and great extensions suggests I might make the switch soon.

Firefox is a nice browser overall, but nothing really special I can’t live without.

Why did I bother installing it? I don’t know. I was happy with IE and I don’t care about security issues much, for I think they’re because of the popularity and you can’t run away from them, all you can do is stay current and install latest patches. I don’t care for Web Standards, I don’t care about open source… And currently I have no intention of installing the mail client (Thunderbird), even to see what it’s like, even after my nice experience with Firefox…

So, out of totally personal experience, I think Firefox is hot and will make it.

BTW, I’ve now fixed the visual glitch on my blog, since I also personally experienced it with Firefox (it turned out it was because of a missing closing tag for a li tag; IE never needed those).

This entry was posted in Misc..

34 Responses to Will Firefox make it?

  1. To clarify, I meant I like Homesite 3 without visual editing.

  2. Jonas Galvez says:

        ”‘If you can’t view my page
        correctly, you’re using the wrong
        browser’ was my attitude (which
        still is)”
    Oh yeah, to the hell with web standards!! :-D

  3. alex says:

    Try avant browser – all of the power of tabbed browsing but it uses IE as the browser engine. Fantastic upgrade to IE.

  4. Thanks for the innocent and healthy sarcasm Jonas… (Does that tag validate? :) )
    As an average Joe using Internet, if you ask me if there should be Web Standards, I’d say ‘definitely, isn’t there already?’. But I wouldn’t care about validation. I would only care if my pages look OK in the browsers I use.
    It was only IE until very recently. Now I also care about Firefox.
    I’m interested in practical sides of things, not the theory.
    As I see, Firefox also has a ‘Quirks’ mode. That’s great, because if I wasn’t able to browse most of the net with it, I wouldn’t use it. But on the other hand, I won’t be fixing any page of mine as long as it looks OK in Firefox whether in quirks mode or not.
    Best regards,

  5. Thanks for the comment Alex.
    That was one of my points. Tabbed browsing is nothing new. There’s also MyIE and others. In fact, I can hack a tabbed browser app that uses IE engine in probably an hour or so.
    Firefox has nothing I can’t live without. And I really can’t pinpoint what made me to even try it.
    But being, hopefully only to an healthy extent, ego-centric, I tend to think this has some kind of an importance.
    Best regards,

  6. bruce says:

    Wow, you make money from the web and you don’t care about standards, and only care about supporting the browser you personally use?
    What an arrogant and naive attitude. I’d hate to work with someone like you on a project.

  7. Not exactly Bruce.
    When it comes to web or web development, I’m an average guy (but not a totally clueless outsider).
    We make SWF tools for Flash users.
    Can anyone tell me where Flash/SWF stands in current ‘Web Standards’?
    Some people see SWF as they see IE. “It’s here today, but when ‘Web Standards’ conquer the world, it will be gone.” I disagree.
    I agree that my attitude sounds arrogant and naive. But I think it’s the average attitude you should expect from someone who is not professionally developing web sites.
    What I belive is that there’s de facto web standards today, the web standards by W3C has not yet suceeded and even miserably failed in SVG. If we need a conclusion today, they have failed without doubt.
    I normally code HTML by hand without any tool, and I don’t see why a closing tag for a li tag is required. IE handles the situation gracefully. Why can’t/shouldn’t standards include that?
    Validated pages are great for programs to process, but I’m a human being, I can make errors while coding. If the standards are forgiving that will benefit me.
    I sometimes wonder if the standards are so strict because they don’t want anybody code easily using a simple text editor, but purchase tools for making even the simplest of pages.
    I care only if my pages look OK, because that’s the only thing that matters: ‘Does it work or not?’. I’m not convinced by any of the arguments why people should use current W3C standards.
    Best regards,

  8. I totally agree about Firefox, what made me switch was the ctrl+ zoom that works on all sites including ones with fonts set by pixel (even though that goes against the ‘standards’, oops). At one point, due to both my monitor setup and eyes, I had trouble reading a number of sites. Given the choice between reading html, and basking in the glow of the W3C, I chose the former. You also have to like any software that ships in less than 5mb : ).
    About standards, I find a lot of people are a bit deluded here. All standards are made by people (or groups of people), w3c or other. All software as well, open source or other. What it comes down to is the people, not the label they work under. Like it or not, some people/groups are better at these things than others — therefore some standards/programs are better than others. The notion that every idea/program that comes out of group X is inherently better is almost hilarious — what is their secret? And how do they keep that secret from the rest of us? And more important, why doesn’t the rest of the world seem to agree? Reality does not suck, thank you.
    A perfect example of how indoctrinated people can get: “I’d hate to work with someone like you on a project”. LOL! Sure, maybe you are one of the top programmers around, but my god didn’t you realize swf went out of fashion last week? Comrade Bruce does not approve.
    PS: Here is somthing people should meditate on long and hard before entering into a ‘standards’ debate:
    Something, such as a practice or a product, that is widely recognized or employed, especially because of its excellence.

  9. jpkeisala says:

    I am Firefox man for now on… Couple of weeks ago I got nasty worm via IE HTA application even I had windows updates/norton antivirus up to date. :(
    And what comes to a web standards and open source. I am fun of both. :)

  10. Thank you so much Robin for the great comment. I didn’t know about Ctrl+ zoom…
    We need to think more, rather than feeling comfortable over people doing the thinking on behalf of us.
    The term ‘Web Standards’ is deceiving. I’ll be using ‘W3C Web Standards’ from now on, and I think this is the correct way of referring to them.
    I wonder if web developers for the current W3C Web Standards provide choices to their customers; w/o using strict W3C standards, the development could take less time, still have the desired visibility among major browsers. For a small business every dollar counts. The future? You’ll probably have your site redesigned next year if you’re doing OK; if you’re out of business by then, who cares.
    I don’t think there’s enough reason to justify doing it the W3C way for small business (and of course individuals).
    IMHO, to succeed naturally, the W3C standards should have been better than the current de facto IE6 standards, in terms of ease of development etc. Now, the W3C standards have to be forced to succeed.
    One would think, at this point people will say: “there’s something wrong with the current W3C standards, let’s go back to drawing board, where did we make the mistake?”.
    But as I see, they keep forcing it without a remorse.
    Best regards,
    (I also believe that the browser or the web standards are too important that we shouldn’t have a monopoly there. Open standards are great. But they need to work, they need to be at least better than what we have now).

  11. Sorry for the worm JP.
    But as far as security goes, you can’t help it. If Firefox becomes the popular browser, there will be exploits for it, before Norton updates the virus definitions.
    Of course, it’s a wise choice right now to use Firefox, because it’s a decent browser and haven’t been exploited much yet.
    But for me, this wouldn’t be a reason enough for making the switch.
    I’m a programmer, I program to earn my life. I sell applications we make.
    When I look at Firefox, I see huge amount of work done there. And it’s free.
    Free small apps here and there are OK. Free software for personal use is OK. But if people starts to expect huge commercial software for free, I don’t think I’d like that.
    I don’t think it’s healthy competition with open-source free software out there, as much unhealthy as MS providing the browser for free.
    I’m ready to open-source and make our software free, but I doubt that I’ll have enough speaking opportunities that I can make a living.
    I think, making free software, other than small utilities or small apps for personal use, is programmers shooting themselves in the foot. Maybe they want a future where there are no professional programmers and all programming is done as a hobby.
    And what next? Free open source web design and development? Free open source consulting? Free open source speaking at conferences?
    Best regards,

  12. Scott Barnes says:

    Well its a different perspective on FireFox and so forth, first I’ve evere seen.
    Having said that, FireFox is a nice browser, but not that overly great compared to other browsers. If your a web-based developer in a mixed system of both DHTML & Flash, FireFox is a wet dream, as it gives you the features you need to debug DHTML (DOM Explorer etc) while still being nice to develop for (ie web standards supported etc).
    The best part of all is that visually it comes out the same on a Mac install of FireFox, which means more possibilities with applications working on both a mac/pc. For that lone i’d shout from the tree tops that thy should install and be happy with it.
    Personally, unless Microsoft can come up with a compelling reason to stay with IE, in years to come I wouldn’t be suprised if it were to be faded out, but because its already installed on all WinX machines, it will still be the first choice for a majority and I guess IE is still the primary browser. So you can’t really fault Burak for this choice, even though it personally goes against my grain on how he doesn’t care, as i find that from a web development point of view bordering on irresponsible.
    We all have to make some kind of stand on how a browser should work, whether that be a flash technology or a html one, the two are closely coupled in many ways.

  13. Thank you for the comment Scott.
    I see and respect that web development professionals mostly care about W3C web standards.
    I’m not a professional web developer, and I care as much as it has effects on me.
    I don’t see why you need a closing li tag. Or why self closing the image tag is necessary. That makes coding by hand harder than what we have today with IE standards. Think of all the image tags and li tags on all the web pages, won’t it be a huge waste of bandwidth when all of them validate? What do we gain in return?
    I also don’t see W3C as the authority. As Robin (Debreuil) once said, I don’t remember voting for them.
    Just visited w3c.org and on a funny note, on their praise for W3C page, (where they have the first praise by their own director, which I also find as a funny practice personally), they have a quote by Al Gore who is also well remembered for his “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet” quote. [As far as I know he never actually said he invented the Internet, but he said it as quoted above, not less funny IMHO].
    Best regards,

  14. To clarify my last comment, please don’t take the last part seriously, it’s just something I found funny. I’m not interested in US politics, being in Turkey, and I’m not even sure if Gore was/is a democrat or a republican.

  15. bruce says:

    Burak, not being a web developer yourself perhaps you need to do some more reading on the implications and benefits of using web standards before you jump in and criticise.
    You seem to be happy with the tag soup many pages were built in years ago… ie. leaving out closing li tags ‘because ie handles it’. The problem with this approach is that is relies on the quirks and behaviours of an individual browser to work. If you don’t have a standard to follow, then you need to check that doing things like leaving out a tag here and there won’t break things when someone is using a different browser… including different versions of IE. You might also be forced to add detection tests and fork your code to get around problems, making development much more expensive and difficult to maintain.
    This might not feel like a big problem if every single person in the world is using the same browser, but they don’t, and hopefully never will. The huge market-share of IE has led Microsoft to stall improvements to their browser… which is a real loss to the web community because there are many things IE could do a lot better. We are also in an age where the web can be viewed on more and more devices. You don’t want to have to buy every single hand-held device out there just to check if leaving out a particular tag will break your page.
    By sticking to a standard (w3c or otherwise), you can begin to assume that valid pages will work in any browser, and not spend ages debugging and checking… it’s a luxury Actionscript coders are well accustomed to by now.
    I understand your point about wanting to hand-code, but using valid xhtml isn’t very difficult. If you understand that every tag must be closed then it’s a logical step to fix your li and img tags. Stick to a few simple rules and you’ll be writing xhtml that you *know* will work for many different users. As for bandwidth, if pages are valid and styled with CSS then they end up being much much smaller in size… even if they contain closing li tags.
    As someone who makes money indirectly from the web, please please try thinking about the future of it and how it can be improved… not just limiting yourself to the lowest common denominator.
    Open standards also help guarantee our livelihoods for years to come. Flash is great – I love developing Actionscript – but I also understand that it’s a proprietary technology that belongs to Macromedia. If they go out of business tomorrow then there’s a real risk it could die.

  16. Bruce, thank you for time and comment.
    I don’t want to rely on quirks of an individual browser. (But I’ll do it if it’s easier and if I can get away with it and if it’s not against the law).
    I want standards, I see the benefits. But I want better standards. I want easier and forgiving standards where appropriate. I am not ready to give up what I already have for something not proved itself and seems worse.
    I mean, I’d propose the following:
    All tags should be closed by default. A li tag is also considered closed when another li tag or a closing ul or ol tag is encountered. (Or something like that. Or exactly as it is in HTML specs which doesn’t require closing li tags).
    Now if that was in the W3C XHTML standards:
    - It will be easier to hand code, for a human. Most of the time forgotten closing tags won’t even cause an error with how page should look, and time will be saved.
    - A newbie will stick to closing all tags, but a pro would just know how this works and omit them when appropriate.
    - Bandwidth will be saved, whether you use CSS or not. (BTW, CSS is there with current IE6 standards. I never used it for positioning, and don’t know if it works for that, but for styles it works as expected. I use tables for layouts but don’t use font tags anymore, using CSS for that is easier).
    - It will be more compatible with existing pages. Less work to do when converting / migrating.
    I don’t see any negative effect of this. Some thougts:
    - Does the W3C standards have a size limit? Is it a problem if the specs are a bit long and detailed? And while you have a simple rule, you can revert to when in doubt, don’t think so.
    - Is this hard to implement for a browser vendor? Don’t think so. Even if that’s the case, so be it.
    - Maybe it’s about XML roots. But when it’s machine vs. human, I don’t think you can justify making things easy for machines to process, ignoring humans, not in this age. What about case sensitive tags? Any purpose for that, other than making things difficult for human coders? (Again this makes it easier for machines).
    - The browser may take a few bytes more in a mobile phone memory. But saved bandwidth could worth it unless you are a phone vendor. (Maybe Nokia demanded for closing li tags. I pay for the bandwidth all the time -with GPRS- but pay for the phone once).
    Can anyone tell me what’s wrong about having a simple rule about closing li tags in the standards? Why did they change this when going from HTML to XHTML? Any good reason for that? (I don’t consider because it’s coming from XML a good reason).
    Agreed, open standards have many benefits. But I can’t just accept what W3C offers without any thinking.
    Now I think that XHTML is a step backwards from HTML regarding li tags and case sensitivity. That’s my first encounter with XHTML, I hope the rest is not as bad.
    SWF is proprietary but still an open format. I don’t see the risk of Flash / SWF disappearing prematurely very high in any case. But I see your point.
    I must say that I’m much more informed about W3C, W3C standards and web standards in general than I was 2 months ago.
    I think W3C is either,
    - Run by idealist romantics who don’t care about the real, practical world, (Academics living in ivory towers of their own)
    - Doing this on purpose, under pay or influence from member companies/organizations, (hmmm. Macromedia is a member and SVG sucks, SWF dominates. Microsoft is a member, IE dominates and it even doesn’t follow the standards).
    - Has a serious PR problem.
    - [A combination of the above].
    In summary, I want standards, I think and agree that open standards are better, but I want better standards than we currently have (de facto IE6 standards).
    Being open is not enough. If anyone is after worse standards than HTML, I can provide 3 open standards a day easily for free.
    Best regards,
    (I’ll try to read and learn more about web standards. The above reflects my current thoughts. I’m not easily convinced. But I’ll post a comment here, when I think differently, and update my position).

  17. Dave Cook says:

    I’m with Burak 100%. Standards? The only thing that is certain is that there are no standards. Why did humans invent 27 different types of screwdriver heads to perform the same task? Money and market share. Why should I have to tighten up my code just to conform to some so-called standard. We’re caught up in symantics, let’s move forward with programming. I’ve programmed for 20 years and I’ve seen every format/standard from here to eternity. Where has it gotten me? … a zillion line browser version detector for my sites and re-writing my code 5 different ways for each of the various browsers. Humans will never standardize on anything as long as there is a buck involved. If anything, let’s loosen up. Who cares about an ending <li> tag.
    Programming would be a lot more fun if it didn’t have so many confounded rules.

  18. PC says:

    You all missed Bruce’s point entirely.
    As he stated, you wouldn’t have to write your zillion line browser version detector if all the greedy ones at MS, Netscape and others had completely followed standards…
    All the proprietary B.S. that MS & others have thrown in have been what has caused the most problems.
    You didn’t vote for the W3C because the founder & director (Tim Berners-Lee) did invent the web & web browser and you wouldn’t be having this discussion without him & others at the W3C. I think that gives what they put out as standards some strong credibility… Sure, you don’t just take what they say as gospel without thinking about it but they surely get the benifit of the doubt that their standard’s recommendations have the merit to be followed.

  19. bruce says:

    Burak, Maybe the li tag was a bad example to focus on. The point with xhtml is to make it valid XML by closing every single tag, whether it is li, img or br. Once you remember that rule, writing valid xhtml is pretty straightforward. It’s a much simpler rule to remember than saying “close a few tags, but don’t worry when it comes to li because we’ll close that for you.”
    I’m all for writing *everything* in lowercase. Saves me having to think when picking up and mainting someone else’s html.
    Even ECMAscript/Actionscript is moving towards case sensitivity these days. We’re trying to get past the point of a bunch of newbies spitting out pages full of nested tables that are impossible to maintain later on.
    It may seem like a step backward at first because it’s less forgiving, but as I said before, it’s a huge step forward in terms of compatibility and usefullness. If you want better standards than we have, then please try to move forward and adopt them, we’re alll trying to move past the IE quagmire. Now that some of the mainstream media is focussing on the terrible security issues with IE, it’s a perfect time to let most people know that if they use a better browser they will be helping the web move towards pages that are not only faster to download but also easier to develop and maintain.
    Dave Cook, I’m surprised that you have programmed for so long but are yet to see the benefits of improving what you do. I for one am supporting the evolution of html so that I’m not writing the same old rubbish in years to come.
    You said “Why should I have to tighten up my code just to conform to some so-called standard.” … which seems like a sign of extreme laziness. I take back what I said about Burak… you’re the real person who I’d hate to work with on a project.
    If you have so much experience you’d know that 90% of programming is about maintaining other people’s code. If coders never adhere to standards then their code is very difficult for others to understand and maintain. Every time you look at a new persons’s work you’d have to waste time learning how they write things. The bigger the project the more time is wasted. Standards may be boring and difficult for you, but they make a lot of people’s jobs a lot easier.
    Imagine if the coding of ActionScript progresses to the point where software can understand it as well as people? Then Burak might be able to deploy a version of Actionscript viewer that can also give you an idea of what a Flash movie does without you having to even read the code! Something along these lines is already becoming possible with JavaDoc and ASdoc standards. Amazing right? Don’t dismiss so readily something which may make your work more efficient, or you have no value as a coder yourself.
    PS. That was a poor analogy, I’ve only ever needed 2 screwdrivers to get most jobs done, thanks to standards.

  20. Jack says:

    You’d probably like a lot more products if you’d try them out instead of maintaining that bad attitude to change.

  21. Probably true Jack. But I don’t have that much time. The time I’m devoting to this discussion is something unusual for me, which I cannot afford much.
    The thing is, assume you have an app that you need, use and gets the job done, then an upgrade or a competitive app comes along.
    Now, even if your first impressions are OK, there’ll new be bugs, quirks to learn, which will take time in addition.
    I tried Quicktime and RealPlayer in 1998, didn’t like them. Never installed another version, I simply don’t use them.
    Firefox calls ‘Save link as…’, what IE calls ‘Save target as…’. I think I like the IE terminology better, save link sounds like it will save a shortcut for the link. I had to learn that because I tried out Firefox. I had to have a mind set change. Now, my time is important for me whether a few seconds or a few years -that’s all I have, as I live on this world-; Will that go into my resume as ‘Can use Firefox.’ or ‘Advanced Firefox using skills’(!), if MS didn’t patent the term, I think Firefox guys wasted lots of 30 seconds of people switching from IE.
    Anyway, I think it’s about how much time you have and regretting the time you spent on trying lots of apps in the past.
    Best regards,

  22. I have no problem with standards, but putting out a standard and then trying to force everyone to use it will never work. You need a good usable standard that people choose to use, moral pressure is meaningless.
    Standards bodies are great, but they should never become cheerleaders for unproven technologies. They can develop it, they can record and distribute it, but as soon as they say you should switch from that brand to this brand, they become like every other entity out there trying to push their wares. The risk here is they will make mistakes, maybe say things like “all animation on your web page should be in svg”, which of course is absurd. They become like any other company/organization, where you can’t trust what comes from their mouths. Politics has no place in standards. Ecma has a way better approach – you want to know about Javascript (or the CLI, C#..)? Here is the standard. And look, they haven’t tried to piggyback 20 other technologies on it, all in various not working stages. You want opinions about Javascript? Look at the technology and form your own opinion. Unsurprisingly, javascript is used in all kinds of environments, and there is no confusion, even though it is way more complicated.
    When Tim B Lee ‘invented’ html, it was a great bastardization of sgml. Either he was too dumb to get it right (and allowed things like the break tag to be unclosed), or he was smart enough to realize that this had to be easy enough for anybody to make pages with. I believe the latter of course. Of course the sgml purists were up in arms, but note sgml did not become the publishing standard on the network. So now in the new and improved world, all these mistakes have been rectified, many many new mistakes added, and things look wildly complex to the average person. And yes I do develop for the web, and no I don’t find it difficult to understand, but if all web pages are made by people like me, nobody would bother with them. Because of this complexity, the history, and some stupidity, very few pages get everything right. So should browsers accommodate this? Do they drop all old html pages? Is it tough luck for my neighbors if the barrier to entry is now too high for them? An analogy – strict typing, oo, and case sensitivity will make a good programmers job easier, but it will make a dabbling programmer’s job impossible – thus the javascript standard in html. It didn’t evolve that way by mistake.
    Re the browser mess – don’t blame MS and Netscape, the W3C has been in charge of www standardization for years, and they haven’t fixed the problem. Most real problems (invalid xml, content/style separation) started with html anyway. But whatever the reason, it is their job, and what they are doing is not working.
    Re being out of a job if Macromedia folds/the w3c didn’t exist – Umm, there are millions of computers connected to each other, and billions of people who want to interact on this network. This is not something that can be brought to a halt by an unclosed markup tag (in fact html is a small part of network activity). If people stop being interested in swf, I’ll stop working with it. It html dies, I will move on to whatever killed it. The only way something can die here is by not being the best at satisfying the needs of these billions of people, but that is as it should be. If the only thing between you and burger flipping is having memorized some html tags or actionscript snippets, then I predict some sizzle in your future.
    Re if we all followed the standards everything would be peachy – Wishful thinking, but the W3C standards range from rock solid to experimental/broken. I’m sure anyone reading this picks and chooses which want they want to use, so no moral high ground for having picked the <b/> tag but not SMIL.
    Re voting for the W3C – I never imagined that this meant they aren’t allowed to put out proposals, just that I’m not obliged to listen to them, and neither is anyone else. They are not the final authority on internet activity, period. And when you look at SVG, you thank the lord for that. PS Tim B Lee didn’t not invent the ‘web’, he created html. And yes, people would still talk to each other if there was no html, in fact they did when there wasn’t, and most people today talk with email.
    Re screwdrivers – Bruce you are obviously not a handy man : ). Why do we still see straight screws in the days of the obviously superior Phillips (star), Robertson (square), and hex? Probably because you can unscrew them with a kitchen knife, and the driver works well for prying, chiseling and digging out nails. There is always the way the world is dreamed of (everyone owns the right tool and uses it in the right way) and the way the world is (hammering in screws with a rock). If you won’t give up prying with a flat screwdriver, don’t expect carpenters to validate their markup.

  23. Dave Cook says:

    Thought my comments might get a rise. Most radical thinking does. BTW, I hate debugging/modifying other people’s code. Have you ever met a programmer that has fallen in love with another guy’s code? Anyway, I’ve fallen in love with Firefox. Look how much effort it has taken to rise slightly above M$ with a better browser. The average bear has no hope against the M$ juggernaut. Too bad.
    P.S. Bruce, luv to work on a project with you sometime…One that involves more than 2 screwdrivers.

  24. bruce says:

    This isn’t really getting anywhere, but there’s a few things I should correct. No-one is forcing you to use standards, all the w3c can do is create the standards and hope that they are good enough for browser developers adopt them.
    Robin, you blame the w3c for not doing enough, and you also claim they have no power… can you draw any connections there?
    Not sure why you’re so hostile towards the w3c, but they’re a body who are trying to make the web better for everyone. And by and large they have been succesful at doing that.
    If I recall his book correctly, Tim Berners-Lee didn’t intend that we’d all be writing html by hand. His initial idea was for web browsers to write the html as much as they read it. Things turned out a bit differently when Netscape exploded in popularity… IE fell in line with that approach when Microsoft decided to compete in the browser space. And yes, Tim Berners-Lee did invent the world wide web. He was the guy who wrote the first web client and web server. Try to at least base your opinions on a little fact.

  25. Scott Barnes says:

    “Its not actually rules, they are more of guidelines” – Pirates of the Caribbean
    I thought this to be a humerous quote for such conversation.
    Burak is right, the W3C aren’t exactly the rules of the web and yes, it would be nice if we had an elected body to decide the future of the Web Development itself. Point is democracy doesn’t also exist in all countries around the world, and its up to each to govern their own rules regulations which pretty much same goes for the web.
    The whole reason for me as a developer for “closing” tags off as opposed to not, is simply allowing me to retrofit my “HTML” as “XML” in many ways, so that in future whatever the technology may be, i’ll have a solid XML packet to feed in and out of.
    Just because FireFox supports web standards and so forth isn’t an argument for today. Browsers pick and choose what standards they adhere to, and the w3c really only “propose” a language upgrade but like all proposals they can be turned down.
    FireFox is more of a thinware client-top wrapper for me, its sole purpose is to deliver an application to both pc/mac computers. The inbetweens aren’t really important in many ways as they WILL work. The best part and as much as you will hate it, they are and most likely will always be backward compatible.
    So we may frown on Burak for not “caring” but he will be supported for years to come, as like he stated “how many other sites don’t close the li tag” which is a fair amount (most IDE’s wrote bad code themselves).
    As for the WebStandards initiative, its a sound idea in many ways, but so was the UN, and if a country doesn’t accept the UN in any form, they aren’t bound by its rules. Its more about peer pressure, in that sure if a technology *i.e flash/IE* gets big enough it can force the issue but until that day happens the best you can do is safeguard yourself against the future.
    For me thats why i close my tags, as i see HTML as really just XML.

  26. Dave Cook says:

    You’re right Scott. Just a lot of venting. I’m outta here….

  27. Thanks Scott, Bruce, Dave, Robin, PC…
    After Bruce’s reply I had already figured out that my problem with current XHTML is not grasping the importance attached to XML format.
    It’s a nice format for data exchange, has pros and cons, but I don’t think it’s the answer to all questions. I tend to think it’s just another format.
    And, doesn’t web worth a few exceptions? It’s like making every text 2 bytes per character because some languages require it. I can understand that 1 byte per character isn’t enough. But 2 bytes per character is an overkill. Now we have UTF8 and I think that’s a great solution. I’d prefer a solution like that rather than going for all XML.
    Dave, I see that you’re frustrated with lack of standards and lost faith. “Humans will never standardize on anything as long as there is a buck involved.” I don’t know, that’s worth thinking…
    MS promoted .NET by mentioning the DLL hell, problems with COM Objects, problems with installations. All created also by MS. (Thank god I didn’t personally experienced any DLL hell, installation problems or the like. I managed to stay away from them). Now, MS is all for XML.
    Everybody, every company makes mistakes. Even .NET might turn out to be a mistake, and a big one at that.
    Is W3C any better than MS in terms of people quality and qualifications? Maybe 6 years later, we’ll hear words like ‘This spec will end the XHTML/XML hell’…
    Will we ever have standard web standards? If so will we have the right one? I don’t know. Just remember the QWERTY keyboard layout, designed in 1873 specifically to slow typists down, avoiding the typewriting machines of the day getting jammed – the layout I am using today like most of us, and how VHS won over Betamax though Betamax was technically a better format -and even VHS is now nearly history…
    Thank you all again. It’s really been informative for me.
    Best regards,

  28. johnb says:

    if you get the UserAgent plugin for Firefox you can switch browser user agent as and when you want – if you get a ‘Best viewed with IE’, then give it what it wants, make Firefox appear to the server as IE and it usually works just fine! I certainly haven’t had problems with sites where i’ve had to do this…

  29. Worldseye says:

    Reasons to code to the standards right now:
    All browsers understand and render the W3C standards acceptably at least partially – saving development and testing time (any excess time will only be spent mostly on tweaking for IE where it screws things up)
    That means – MORE CUSTOMERS can see your site correctly.. increasing the likelyhood that they’ll actually be able to use it to buy your wonderful products
    All future browsers SHOULD render correctly without any changes – saving future upgrades
    Meaning – EVEN MORE CUSTOMERS!!!
    updating and changing design or structure will be easier and faster
    Meaning – Less time wasted that you could be spending on developin and improving great products and getting even MORE CUSTOMERS!!!
    Less code overall! – although I appreciate that leaving off a closing li tag here or there will save a handful of bytes, consider this..
    Part of the initiative towards effectively using web standards is to avoid using tables for layout as this ADDS considerably to the overall complexity and size of the code..
    The bytes you’ll add with a closing li don’t add up to much when you consider how much you’d save by removing unnecessary tables and non-semantic markup..
    Meaning – less bandwidth used, faster download times, faster rendering times.. obvious benefits!!
    The more people who adopt the standards instead of debunking them, the greater chance that they will actually become a “Standard”, which in my opinion would make the web a better place for users and for developers..
    The argument that people will never adopt the W3C web standards is self-fulfilling since it’s perpetuated by the very people that make the argument ;)
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I’d prefer to browse and develop, usable, accessible, well structured websites..
    I wholeheartedly believe that if you make websites, then you owe it to yourself and your users to do it in the best way you can (hehe. no pressure! ;) )
    Recommended reading:
    Kind regards

  30. Thanks for your time and comment Dan.
    After reading the recent XHTML FAQ by W3C at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/2004/xhtml-faq it’s much more clear to me now.
    Here are some parts of the FAQ:
    Q: Why is XHTML needed? Isn’t HTML good enough?
    A: HTML is probably the most successful document markup language in the world. But when XML was introduced, a two-day workshop was organised to discuss whether a new version of HTML in XML was needed. The opinion at the workshop was a clear ‘Yes’.
    Q: What are the advantages of using XHTML rather than HTML?
    A: If your document is just pure XHTML 1.0 (not including other markup languages) then you will not yet notice much difference….If your document is more than XHTML 1.0, for instance including MathML, SMIL, or SVG, then the advantages are immediate: you can’t do that sort of thing with HTML.
    Q: Why are browsers so fussy about XML? They were more accepting with HTML.
    A: This is deliberate. HTML browsers accept any input, correct or incorrect, and try to make something sensible of it. This error-correction makes browsers very hard to write, especially if all browsers are expected to do the same thing.
    (1) It just takes a 2 day workshop to decide on the future of the web.
    (2) No XHTML advantages if you’re not using MathML, SMIL, or SVG.
    (3) The strict/not-accepting nature of XHTML is deliberate.
    In the end, XHTML may be our best bet.
    But I still think the biggest mistake there, is the not-accepting behavior they dictate. Why not have standards on that? I don’t understand at all! So it will be easy to write browsers. But how many people write browsers and how many people use them (make docs for them)?
    If I were Sir Tim, then I’d have done the exact opposite: I’d have made the accepting behavior a standard, most probably somewhat compatible with current IE6. It would have been great.
    I think web deserves exceptions. W3C XHTML uses more bandwidth than equivalent IE6 HTML. I don’t agree with your bandwidth calculation because CSS is also there with IE6. In any case, what’s wrong with using less bandwidth? Remove the closing tags from li and img tags in any XHTML page, and you’ll get a leaner page. But they didn’t care about user bandwidth, they cared about making browser writing easy, they didn’t bother with providing standards on accepting behavior so that browsers can behave in a standard accepting way.
    Again, I think using XHTML might be the best for the near future (though I don’t agree with its design priorities a bit), if someone doesn’t provide better standards soon (like in SWF vs. SVG case); because we need standards, that’s for sure…
    Best regards,

  31. Ooops says:

    Standards are great! Let’s have a lot of them!

  32. flynn says:

    Standards are obviously essential to avoid a horrible and chaotic mess of repetition and mis-repetition. They are just formalisations of conventions that people sharing a common interest will find useful, like browser programmers. The question of who agreed them is largely irrelevant when it is a combined industrial & academic peer group of the people who know most about the subject in practice and theory. If you don’t like a standard, get involved and help change it. If your theories of how a standard can be improved are coherent and your input is persuasive you may find people taking notice.
    Bitching about the concept of standards is like a madman shouting into a hurricane.
    What we really have to guard against is sloppiness like Macromedia co-opting a perfectly good open standards based scripting language, poorly implementing it in their proprietary authoring and runtime environments and then acting like the de facto standards makers of multimedia. Oh yes, and providing the worst set of documentation ever. Why does the term ActionScript exist? Probably just to make their shareholders happy.
    Thats what I dislike about standards, when they are hijacked by technically incompetent profiteers, like MS subsuming Java into their proprietary .NET model as C#. Although, I suppose imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery.

  33. John Bowling says:

    Personnaly, I equate Microsoft’s lack of following the standards as akin to selling an automobile with 4 wheels and only 3 tires. And then expecting you to buy the new model at full price to get the extra tire.