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US Copyright Office considers requiring Internet Explorer
tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 11:02 pm on Aug 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

The US Copyright Office is considering whether to require IE for online pre-registration of a work. Seems like they're headed in the wrong direction to me:

Today's notice seeks information as to whether persons filing the electronic-only preregistration form prescribed by the Copyright Office will experience difficulties if it is necessary to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser in order to preregister a work.

DATES:
Comments are due no later than August 22, 2005.

[copyright.gov...]


 

Josefu

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:18 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Shall we call this... the pinnacle of all irony?

Or is it? A government service should be democratic more than anything... but it is the very one responsible for protecting everything closed-source, including the software it is, in a way, proposing to promote by allowing only it in its bureaucratic procedure. Odd situation...

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:33 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

If they require IE only then the government should also require ENGLISH only, would certainly cut costs. Personally, I think they should support both Firefox and Opera then provide expanded instructions in Swahili

zafile



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:54 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims."

How long will it take to provide support for the above browsers?

If support is provided in a reasonable time frame, I don't see any problems with the requirements.

Farix

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 1:17 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is more there that is even more disturbing:

At this point in the process of developing the Copyright Office's system for online preregistration, it is not entirely clear whether the system will be compatible with web browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5.1 and higher. Filers of preregistration applications will be able to employ these Internet Explorer browsers successfully. Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims.

In order to ensure that preregistration can be implemented in a smoothly functioning and timely manner, the Office now seeks comments that will assist it in determining whether any eligible parties will be prevented from preregistering a claim due to browser requirements of the preregistration system. Therefore, this notice seeks information whether any potential preregistration filers would have difficulties using Internet Explorer (version 5.1 or higher) to file preregistration claims, and if so, why. More generally, in the interest of achieving support for browsers in the Office's preregistration processing environment, this notice inquires whether (and why) an eligible party who anticipates preregistering a claim on the electronic-only form will not be able to use Internet Explorer to do so, or will choose not to preregister if it is necessary to use Internet Explorer.

In short, they are asking why they should go through the trouble of supporting alternative browsers [we really should find another term for that] when everyone has access to IE (the 90% rule). The thing is that they are approaching this problem entirely from the wrong direction. It's not why should they support browser other than IE but why they shouldn't support them. Why does the browser the preregistrant uses really matter when they preregister electronically for a copyright? What technical difficulties are they facing that makes their systems incompatible with non-IE browsers?

Looking through the actual proposed rules, the form requirements seem simple enough that cross-browser support shouldn't be a problem. This leaves their backend as the main culprit of their technical difficulties.

Addendum: I also have to wonder if the problems they face are the result of using a WYSIWYG editor like FrontPage and they are reluctant to work with HTML, CSS and JavaScript in-the-raw.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 1:33 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

We were fairly close to making low-market share browsers irrelevant before IE's security issues temporarily reversed that trend. Perhaps this will be one small step in that direction... Every major site that refuses to develop for every browser on the market helps small-site developers who don't have the muscle to make the same demands of their users.

If designers insist on developing alternative browsers, the least they could do is make them fully IE compatible. ;)

Josefu

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 1:37 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Beg pardon but who is "We"? And anyone can make any browser they want on any platform as long as it speaks the language of the web. Or are "we" playing provocateur? : )

sharbel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 3:27 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder if they are going to be running client-side hosted controls or something within the app.. That's about the only reason I can think of why something would require IE.

If it's just a standard web-app, there really shouldn't be any reason why any modern browser couldn't use it.

koan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 5:20 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

<i>Every major site that refuses to develop for every browser on the market helps small-site developers who don't have the muscle to make the same demands of their users.</i>

I agree that if everyone was using Firefox it would be easier, but some people do appreciate spyware and lack of standard compliance so we have to comply with the Internet Explorer market.

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 10:56 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sounds to me like they could be sued for restraint of trade.

Insofar as they would not be able to demonstrate that going IE-only was technically required, for a government body to do so must surely break some law or other.

Of course, if I believed in conspiracies, I might think the US Government wanted to exploit security holes to install its own spyware. However, I tend to believe stupidity is more common than conspiracy.

Kaled.

cellularnews

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 11:48 am on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

A lot of the debate could do with a potential missunderstanding of the word "support".

In many industries - they wont offer technical assistance to people using services that are not "supported".

My phone (for example) works fine on my phone network - but it is not "supported" in that if I have a problem that is specific to my handset, then the customer care team won't know enough about the phone to be able to offer support.

So the question is - does "support" mean that the site will physically break without using MSie - or does it mean that if you have problems, then customer care cannot "support" your query?

Farix

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:50 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't think there is a misunderstanding here. Based on the text alone, it is clearly an "our system will not work if you us anything other then IE" line and not a "if you use something other than IE and you run into problems, we can't assist you".

microcars

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 2:18 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as the semantics of the word "Supported" goes, I'm a Mac user, so I'm used to ignoring the phrase "not supported" or "works best with Internet Explorer" because for most web-based stuff it simply means they cranked it out, tested it in IE and thats that.

It sure sounds like an IT person made a list of ALL the available optional browsers and said,
"Do you REALLY want to make sure this site is viewable in ALL these other browsers?
It will consume much of our limited budget just for the manpower to test them all."

At this point, the manager-person looking at the list rolls their eyes and says
"What are all these things? I've never heard of them...does anyone actually use them?
Why don't they just use the Blue E?"

[edited by: microcars at 2:24 pm (utc) on Aug. 10, 2005]

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 2:20 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>So the question is - does "support" mean that the site will physically break without using MSie - or does it mean that if you have problems, then customer care cannot "support" your query?

That's a good question, and I hope it would mean the latter. I.e., rather than test for IE and generate an error message, let users choose their software and take their chances. The emphasis should be on compatability, not branding (just as it always has been in the PC market).

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 2:49 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Presumably they are going to make their registration process depend on some aspect of destructiveX....their IT people doubtless told them it was the most secure hackerproof system out there ...maybe they are just running on doze servers ...

Wont affect me personally but I do find it strange that one US gov't agency is saying avoid IE due to the access that it has to your system in order to (cough..cough..) er "function" ...and there is another agency part of the same machine that says the opposite ...maybe they never knew each other existed?...

Maybe the next step is to oblige all US citizens to use only wintel products and palladium technology ...even to send emails ....sort of privatised echelon :)

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 3:03 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't sweat it. Whatever proprietary code they decide to use in their laziness will be hacked around and working in Firefox within a few days by Firefox lovers - you know that's how it works ;)

Heck, Google Maps might be the most complex commercial dhtml code online today and it works better in Firefox than IE! What's the government's excuse?

zafile



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 4:43 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect."

Users of the above browsers should make sure support is available within a reasonable time frame after preregistration goes into effect.

Users of Apple's Safari should send comments to the address included in the note. It seems the Federal Register failed to take this browser into account.

nickied

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 5:07 pm on Aug 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

The US Copyright Office is considering whether to require IE for online pre-registration of a work.

At this point in the process of developing the Copyright Office's system for online preregistration, it is not entirely clear whether the system will be compatible with web browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5.1 and higher. Filers of preregistration applications will be able to employ these Internet Explorer browsers successfully.

This is complete lunacy. Have they even considered their own government's Section 508? www.section508.gov

. . . the Office now seeks comments . . .

see above.

StupidScript

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 11:58 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Chiming in in support of microcars scenario. And the text says might experience problems. That sounds lawyerly to me, and not so much of a guarantee that the non-IE browsers won't work.

If anyone wants to, go to the article, click a couple of links and tell the guys why you won't/can't use IE. They are asking for exactly that kind of input. I'll bet it ends up working fine in IE, FF and Safari, right out of the gate.

The only issues I can think of are related to developer laziness and thinking that some of the proprietary (non-compliant) stuff MS is trying to force into the standards (except they only work with MS/IE) will produce a "better" app for the client.

Damn those MSDN diploma mills!

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:02 am on Aug 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do they still make IE for the Mac?

That would be too amusing to see an entire segment of computer users "disenfranchised" by the US Copyright Office.

richlowe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 12:48 am on Aug 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

It does seem kind of weird to me. Supporting non-IE browsers is simple - just don't use IE specific things. In fact, making a site compliant with all modern browsers is very simple. Now, if they said they wanted to limit support to HTML 4.01 or XHTML or CSS or something like that, I would understand. I don't even try and code for the old Netscape browser anymore.

In fact, that's what I specify for my coders. Target blah blah version of HTML or whatever. Then I don't worry about the browser, per se, unless there are CSS bugs, for example, to work around.

the problems they face are the result of using a WYSIWYG editor like FrontPage

I haven't found Frontpage to be an issue with non-IE browsers. Nor Dreamweaver or anything else for that matter.

Richard

mahlon

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 8:03 am on Aug 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is always the user agent switcher..?

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 10789 posted 9:02 am on Aug 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Changing User-Agent identification won't help if IE specific code is used.

Having said that, the last time I checked (about a year ago I think) the msdn site only worked on Opera if you changed the user-agent id. It seems the site was designed to fail deliberately under Opera - typical Microsoft dirty tricks!

Kaled.

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