Re: Alternatives to the W3C
Dave Winer wrote: >We've had this discussion at length on my site, and reached a conclusion. >There are two types of developers in the world: > >1. Web developers, who must look at the content exactly as their users look >at it. For these people, today, that's MSIE 5.x on Windows, not any content >handler, that specific one. These developers are deluding themselves. MSIE 5.x is less than 50% of the current installed base. Even within that subset, users have different fonts, different default window sizes, different monitors, etc., etc., etc. Competent developers who understand the Web know how to design without limiting themselves to the 1% or less of the market that has web browsers set up exactly like their development system. Or perhaps these developers are simply arrogant and don't care about their users. I've certainly met enough unreconstructed artists who couldn't make a living at art, printed some new business cards, and now call themselves web designers. But they don't really care whether or not anyone can use their site as long as they maintain the purity of their artistic vision. In fact a lot of these egotists get a kick out of doing something that the masses can't see. They think that means they're cool or cutting edge. (I think it means they're idiots.) Sites that really want to communicate with readers like amazon.com or the W3C site don't rely on fancy tricks that aren't accessible to the masses. I saw an interesting quote on your site today, Dave. Here it is: Jeremy Bowers has the neatest Manila trick I've seen. You can expand and collapse items on his home page, day by day. Apparently Jeremy's site crashes Mac browsers. Some Mac users think we should only use features that work on Macs. Someday the Mac will catch up and we'll want to know how to do this stuff. Enough waiting. Buy Macs as web browsing machines with your eyes open. You won't be able to use all the sites on the web, until Apple catches up. You actually seem to think it's acceptable to publish a web site that crashes users' browsers! This is the height of hubris. You want every one to change their computers and browsers so they're exactly like yours. And if they don't, then they deserve it if they crash. How obnoxious can you get? Now, I would say that it's first the responsibility of the browser not to crash no matter what; and of the operating system to make sure that a misbehaving application doesn't bring down other apps or the OS. Nonetheless, if I know that my site is exercising a bug in a browser, I will work around it, one way or another. Leaving that aside, I'll give you a practical example. You, Dave Winer, Userland, have lost business because your site doesn't work in all browsers. Personally, I think you're an interesting (if occasionally frustrating) guy, and I like reading what you have to say. But probably 50% of the time I try to follow a link from scripting.com deeper into your site or an Edit-This-Page site, something goes wrong. Eventually I learned to stop following links that go to your own site. It probably won't surprise you that most of the time I'm reading from Netscape on a Mac. No big deal, you can write me off by telling me to buy a PC, or for that matter, to use the PC I already own. I won't do that. It interferes with my work flow. You're not that important to me. Now what impact has this had on you and Userland? Directly, not much; but indirectly the effect has been huge. It so happens I've written what is right now the bestselling introductory text on XML, which thousands of people a month are using to learn what XML is and what it can do. Do you know how many times Frontier, XML-RPC and all the other interesting things you've been doing with XML are mentioned in that book? Zero, nil, nada, not once. Why? Because although I considered writing a chapter about XML-RPC or whatever you were calling it a few months ago, I knew that I couldn't reliably get through to all the crucial information on your site. So I wrote about something else instead. No big deal for me or my readers. There are lots of exciting things going on with XML that I can write about instead. But it's a big deal for you. (Well maybe not a big deal, but I suspect it's ultimately worth a few sales to you). I also run one of the five most popular XML news sites on the web. I do occasionally mention XML-RPC or other ideas you've had, but not nearly as much as I would if your site were actually reliable. In fact the most common thing you'll find about you and your products on my site is a quote from you, because I can do that in pure HTML on my site without worrying about whether your site will be accessible to my readers. (My site, by the way, should be accessible to everyone from Netscape 1.1 up. If it's not, I consider it a bug.) Who else are you losing Dave? Maybe not many people, but maybe more than you think and maybe some key ones. Back around 1995 I clearly remember demoing a site to a potential client and watching with horror as he pulled up his browser, some custom version of Spry Mosaic which couldn't handle the tables we used on our demo site. Maybe everyone else in his company was using Netscape (which had about 90% of the market at the time) but we lost the sale nonetheless. After that I quickly learned to test all my sites in Mosaic. I may not do that any more but I damn sure test them in Netscape 3 on a Mac and a lot of other browsers. I want readers to enjoy my site. I want them to come back to my site. I don't want their browsers to crash. And if that means I have to do a little extra work, or forego a few cool browser tricks, then so be it. +-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+ | Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@m... | Writer/Programmer | +-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+ | The XML Bible (IDG Books, 1999) | | http://metalab.unc.edu/xml/books/bible/ | | http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0764532367/cafeaulaitA/ | +----------------------------------+---------------------------------+ | Read Cafe au Lait for Java News: http://metalab.unc.edu/javafaq/ | | Read Cafe con Leche for XML News: http://metalab.unc.edu/xml/ | +----------------------------------+---------------------------------+ xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@i... 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