The Broken Web 3

The Broken Web 3
   There is still some slight probability that even after reading The Broken Web and The Broken Web 2 there are still optimists about the future of the web among the throng of readers of this no-blog. After all with so many readers chances are that some of them will be in severe error. Of course I am here to help them get rid of their illusions because the sooner they see the truth the lesser the pain will be. Today I will tell you about the company that has thrown the greatest amount of shit in the fan of absurdity that we call World Wide Web, but before that let me point once again some random thing that went very wrong with the so called "web standards".

   I was browsing through the "standards" docs the other day when I encountered this quite funny part regarding the BLOCKQUOTE element. It says that BLOCKQUOTE is used to render quotations. Like most things in the HTML standards it is completely optional what the user agent will do as long as it designates a quote. The docs say that user agents "generally" render it as indented text. A few lines down one can read that W3C recommends that user agents render quotes around the content of a BLOCKQUOTE but in the very next sentence W3C recommends that user agents NOT render quotes because authors have used this element merely to indent text and not to designate quotation. These are real world "standards" for you! "Standards" that the average web developer has not read and will never read. I hope that now you see that things will not be fixed just with good will. Someone has to make a push.

   There was this company, that I will call the Soft, that was about to make a push. The plan was simple. They intended to conquer the browser market and gain a complete monopoly. This way everyone will know how certain markup is supposed to render because the One browser renders it this way. Even if there were some browsers with about 1% market share they would be forced to mimic the behavior of the most popular browser. The Soft proceeded with their plan using not only superior browser technology but also unfair business practices. Within several years they managed to kill every other browser gaining more than 95% market share for their Exploder 6. Exploder 6 was actually a remarkable browser at the time and had features that the competition could not reach. Previous versions of Exploder pioneered technologies like XMLHttpRequest (the foundation of AJAX) and the IFRAME HTML element in the race to become the One browser. The smoke settled down and it looked like web developers would be able to enjoy the long-awaited peace.

   However at the Soft's headquarters everyone suddenly went nuts and decided that they can close the division that developed the Exploder. (Actually they merged it with the OS division) No new version, no new features. According to the Soft Exploder 6 was supposed to be the version that everyone was going to use forever. I think that the brain of the man who took this decision was not only soft but probably liquid or even vacuum. Whoever you are I hate you. You have fucked up what the Soft achieved and brought us the pain of having multiple browsers again. You are personally responsible for all other browsers that we have to deal with now. The developers who built these browsers cannot take credit for their popularity because all credit goes to YOU.

   A bunch of rebels were planning to resurrect Exploder's greatest enemy with a project called Phoenix*. They worked for years and added very special feature called tabs. Their browser sucked hard but it had tabs so people started using it. Meanwhile the Soft were pulling out surveys out of their asses claiming that people did not want tabs. Yeah, sure! Even if these surveys did happen the Soft should know better than anyone that PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WANT! After several years the Exploder team was formed again and they started working on version 7. It had tabs. However it was too late. Phoenix was gaining market share and attention. It was also drawing attention towards the dreaded web "standards". In a remarkably stupid move that can only be compared to the closing of the Exploder division the Soft decided that they should go after the standards chimera and tried to make Exploder 7 closer to the "standard" breaking backward compatibility with Exploder 6. Fast forward in the future of 2009 - Phoenix is gaining more market share, several other browsers have market share above 1%, Exploder 7 has gained a solid market share of about 45% but Exploder 6 still has like 20% and the Soft are releasing Exploder 8. Exploder 8 has ONE MORE rendering engine that is even closer to the "standards" (read: Breaks even more things). They have introduced Compatibility View that is not fully compatible supposedly due to changes in the JavaScript engine. The changes are small and reasonable but they seem to break compatibility. It seems that the Soft do not understand one basic fact - When you introduce a new rendering engine the old one does not disappear especially when your browser is bundled with an OS that you are still selling. I cannot comprehend how the Soft fell for the "standards" bullshit… at least they do not support XHTML yet.

   What can we do? Basically nothing. I suspect that with time we will either have several types of sites that we will open with several different browsers or every site will have different version for every browser. Most probably the latter because it seems that we are very close to this situation right now. Look what I found in MS AJAX.NET library:

switch(Sys.Browser.agent) {
   case Sys.Browser.InternetExplorer:
       Sys.UI.DomElement.getLocation = function Sys$UI$DomElement$getLocation(element) {
           ... Skipped about 30 lines function definition for IE ...
   case Sys.Browser.Safari:
       Sys.UI.DomElement.getLocation = function Sys$UI$DomElement$getLocation(element) {
           ... Skipped about 40 lines function definition for Safari ...
   case Sys.Browser.Opera:
       Sys.UI.DomElement.getLocation = function Sys$UI$DomElement$getLocation(element) {
           ... Skipped about 30 lines function definition for Opera ...
       Sys.UI.DomElement.getLocation = function Sys$UI$DomElement$getLocation(element) {
           ... Skipped about 50 lines function definition for the browser that does not deserve to be mentioned by name ...

   I believe that other JavaScript libraries do similar things because we have web standards you know and all browsers support them.  Our best chance is using the latest version of Exploder (version 8 is pretty good) in desperate hope that one day the Soft will put the gene back in the bottle and will get 95% market share again. I hope for the next version of Exploder they will use WebKit as they hinted several times. This way they will reduce the number of engines on the market because several other browsers already use WebKit. It will also be very cool if the Soft buy Opera. Maybe someday someone will save us from the stupidity of the Soft and let us hope that they take notes.

* Phoenix was renamed before its first release
Tags:   english tech 
Posted by:   Stilgar
19:47 03.04.2009


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Posted by   JOke (Unregistered)   on   02:08 04.04.2009

in most cases this is not true
the web is broken because of Microsoft and IE not because of all browsers
In most cases this looks like this :
switch (browserID) {
case 'IE6':
// do som stuff
case 'IE7':
// do other shits
//maybe soon we will have :
case 'IE8':
// do many many shits
case 'IE8-with-strange-emulate-mode':
// mix of IE8 and IE7 fixes
default :
//rest of the browser TO THIS !

Naiden Gochev

Posted by   JOKe (Unregistered)   on   02:13 04.04.2009

ou yes
let me give you real example not stilgar or someone else .net lover imagination :
This is jquery plugin  which I use in real applcation :
it looks nice right ? ( not under IE8 ... never mind even in compatability mode it is buggy but it works under rest of the browsers )

if you see the source you will see two fixes for IE6 ( soon you will see fix for IE8 too )

the custom IE only lines of code are :
<!--[if IE]><script src="../other_libs/excanvas_0002/excanvas-compressed.js" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script><![endif]-->


<!--[if IE]><link href="demofiles/demo-ie-fix.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><![endif]-->

So keep broking the web.
OR ? use firefox :) even microsoft program can install it ! :)

Posted by   JOKe (Unregistered)   on   02:18 04.04.2009

ou yes this is helpful :


Posted by   Stilgar   on   04:02 04.04.2009

But of course AJAX.NET is not a real world application and neither is the application shown in Broken Web part 2. Applications that break on browsers != IE are not real world applications.

The web is broken by no browser. The web is broken by design (as explained in the Broken Web 1). Microsoft were about to make it barable but failed. They lost 95% market share because they are full of shit. If they had kept this market share our lives would be much better.

The other great mistake you are making is that you are counting by number of browsers instead of number of users. Everything was just fine in the IE only web and all browsers (i.e. the One browser) were rendering every page correctly. Then the other browser came along and decided that they should render stuff differently than what 95% of the users were seeing. That's what I call incompatible!

The things are hopelessly screwed. There is no single browser that can render something as simple as a BR tag in plain HTML correctly. 99% of the people who write HTML never read the standards (even the standards for IE or other browser let alone the W3C ones) and the most terrible thing is that people are actually writing(not te be confused with using) XHTML. WTF?!?

Posted by   JOke (Unregistered)   on   17:02 04.04.2009

Stilgar there is no moment in time where only one browser exist. I remember in the past when I first time start using internet one of my friends come and install me a netscape. Yes netscape was not very very popular but it was popular( what i like in netscape was that it was not only a browser ) after time netscape was dead but maybe months after mozilla was born. At this time i start using Redhat Linux 6.2 and I was using mozilla the web was not broken most of the pages was ok in metter of fact I didnt have Windows at all but i assume that the web was ok under IE too. After firefox was born wich was a mozilla but only a browser without a chat, email client and other stuffs. The firefox was ok and was starting faster so I start using it. Then warcraft 3 was born ( maybe not was born but this was the moment i saw it ) so i install windows I remove linux but installed firefox on my machine and this was till now. In the near past there ware all kind of fixes for IE 6 and before and the web was "not perfect but kind of ok" when IE 7 was born some of the things ware better than IE 6 nothing radical change BUT NOW WITH IE 8 everything is fucked. I hope that microsoft released IE 8 only to make silverlight more popular but because IE and Silverlight and most of the microsoft products are UNUSABLE under non windows pcs than we will have aways 10-15-20% of users which dont have IE or Siliverlight installed SO i hope SP1 of IE 8 or something like this to fix the microsoft mistake.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   20:18 04.04.2009

IE8 is closer to the way other browsers work than any IE and you are unhappy? Welcome on board:)

Posted by   JOke (Unregistered)   on   03:34 05.04.2009

As I said before :

I sign the petition with this comment :
because it is better than IE 8

Posted by   Stilgar   on   12:20 06.04.2009

I completely agree that the closer IE gets to the "standard" the more problems appear!

Posted by   conjurer   on   16:16 18.04.2009

You are both retarded.
"the web is broken because of Microsoft and IE not because of all browsers" - retarded. If anything, it's because of the users.

"So keep broking the web. OR ? use firefox :)" - retarded. I don't even have to explain why.

"the most terrible thing is that people are actually writing(not te be confused with using) XHTML. WTF?!? " - retarded. XHTML clarifies the form of the language, not with the way it is rendered by the browsers.

"I completely agree that the closer IE gets to the "standard" the more problems appear! " - super retarded. Even if IE is the ONE browser, why would MORE problems appear if it gets closer to the standards? What I'm getting from your ramble is that this is so because the standards aren't specified very well. It may or may not be true, but how do you know that IE's "standards" are specified better? You don't, you just blindly trust them. Even if you are right, and they are specified better, because some more qualified people hired by MS put more time into it, what prevents MS hiring people to work for bettering the standards themselves? Nothing, that's not even pocket money for them.

Stilgar, your "idealistic" idea about standards being generally flawed is really dumb and one-sided. Let's say that tomorrow the Soft's competitors from "the Pineapple" introduce a new way to access the internet, for example through "the Dildo outlet". What happens then? They can't use the Soft's closed browser standard, so they make their own one, which is bound to have some differences from the Soft's one. This limits the users experience in a number of ways. Standards are the only way to solve this, and it's been accepted by pretty much every major software company in the world. You are not smarter than all of them.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   17:21 18.04.2009

XHTML is bad because:
1) people don't know how to use it (they only know how to validate it)
2) the major browser does not support it and will not support it ever.
3) because of the above it forces the browser vendors create a mixed HTML/XHTML parser which is not valid for either of them

So do you think the people working on IE are not qualified?

How well standards have solved the problems is evident by todays situation. As I see it there are two problems

1) HTML is a document format used for applications
2) HTML appears easy but is actually very hard. The problem is that you can write absolutely valid HTML that renders the same on all browsers and it can be totally wrong because of semantics. Because the web is full of this wrong HTML browser vendors have trouble implementing the standards.

Posted by   conjurer   on   17:31 18.04.2009

I don't think people working on IE are not qualified, on the contrary, I'm sure they are some of the best software engineers available.

Problems like this one can't be just "solved" overnight. Continued effort to solving them is needed. Just because the situation is messy due to the enormous legacy doesn't mean we should ignore this legacy and start over from scratch. We simply can't do this. We can't go over to the other extreme either.

Preaching about something being THE solution to the broken web problem is not gonna make everyone believe it and start using it. Continued effort toward improving the situation needs to happen, and compromises need to be made because of the legacy. I don't consider myself too competent in XHTML so I will believe you that it might have its flaws, but we can't just go to war against this or that company because someone at Microsoft believes something won't work out for the best. Matters like this need to be solved by the internet community as a whole, and monopolism won't do it.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   17:38 18.04.2009

Well having one browser won't be a solution but it will contain the damage somewhat. The only solution is to have tools which are designed for a web-like environment unlike HTML which was designed at a time when no one could imagine what is going to happen.

Also it would be good if we could have some kind of certification like the doctors do. If you do not know the standards you cannot practice Web :)

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