Good. Evil. Bratwurst.

I don’t get it

Posted on by arlen

OK, Andy so you’re mad about the Opera Lawsuit. I get that. You’re also frustrated with the inability of MS programmers to follow a spec. I get that, too. But this just doesn’t make sense to me.

I just don’t see how it’s a practical idea to exclude from the creation of a standard the very people whose job it will be to implement that standard. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how that can work. Is there another working group at W3C that does that? For example, the XML protocol working group includes Oracle, the HTML group includes Microsoft.

Excluding folks who have to implement the standard allows too many opportunities to create requirements that are either impractical or unfeasible. How many times have you heard management directives and had the response, “that’s easy for you to say,” meaning the task as specified was far more work than it was worth.

If this course is followed there’s a grave risk that CSS will become even more of a “wish list” than it already is. I share your frustration with the glacial speed of adoption of CSS2.1 (and even CSS3 — heck, I’m still waiting for MS to fully support CSS1 properly) but this isn’t the way.

The complaint filed by Opera is couched in lofty terms, but I fear Dr. Lie is being just a tad disingenuous. I suspect that if the EU hadn’t ruled the way it did on Windows Media Player this complaint would never have come about, and it’s not filed for standards reasons; it’s filed for money. For the opportunity to get a wider door opened into the MS user base. Everything else is just spin.

As a Web developer, I wish wholeheartedly that MS would follow the standards. I just don’t think this (either the Opera complaint or your proposed restructuring of the CSS working group) will achieve that. Companies, like people, will do what they wish, regardless of what we wish they would do. In fact, giving them no voice in the creation of the next standard would probably have the opposite effect of what you intend; it would make it possible for management to dismiss the CSS working group as “a batch of Ivory-tower types with no connection to reality” and ignore them completely.

Andy, I like your work, I think you’re one of the Good Guys. But I’m afraid here you’re just plain wrong.

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December 2007
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