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"Browsers Still Matter"
move away from IE, IT depts are urged
tedster




msg:593299
 11:33 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

The widely distributed E-Week magazine just ran a commentary
urging businesses to move away from IE.

Ironically, Microsoft achieved this dominance for Internet
Explorer at a time when it has let its browser stagnate to the
point where it is probably the least-capable browser on the
market today.

...a great deal of innovation and useful features in open-source
browsers such as Mozilla and commercial products such as the
Opera browser. In comparison, IE 6 has basically the same code
base as IE 5, which was released in 1999.

E-Week Story [eweek.com]

Good to see this kind of coverage. Change may still happen.

 

papabaer




msg:593300
 4:54 am on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Definitely a nice turn...
thanks for posting the link Tedster.

I have a bad feeling about M$ and Longhorn... I know M$ is not happy about 3rd party browsers (that's a given). I anticipate some 'propriety' coding that may make it difficult to use anything but "intergrated IE" in future Windows releases.

But, look for the real battle to take place in the "small screen" arena. Opera is M$'s main competition here. O's small screen rendering is a force to be reckoned with.

In any case, it is interesting to watch things unfold...

tedster




msg:593301
 6:03 am on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

The small screen will be interesting. What "standard" web-enabled devices will emerge?

I'm leaning more towards a PDA with a phone on board - rather than a web enhanced/storage enhanced phone-size device. At least for business use. The larger screen makes sense and browsing on a very small screen with tiny input keys is pretty rugged.

The Opera small screen browser does an incredible job of making a wide variety of websites accessible on a phone size screen. But I'm not so sure about the interactivity, which is the big deal long term.

g1smd




msg:593302
 7:48 pm on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I have a bad feeling about M$ and Longhorn... I know M$ is not happy about 3rd party browsers (that's a given). I anticipate some 'propriety' coding that may make it difficult to use anything but "intergrated IE" in future Windows releases. <<

That will be the day I dump Windows 98/SE and finally switch to Linux.
I haven't seen a single M$ OS since 98/SE worth touching (NT, 2000, ME, XP, etc).

Oaf357




msg:593303
 8:41 pm on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

Microsoft has also announced that they will no longer develop IE as a stand alone browser. Which means that it will be fully integrated into the OS. Development of IE for Macs has also stopped.

I honestly think this is a good thing.

trismegisto




msg:593304
 12:52 am on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

From the article:

This type of future for the Web could become very limiting and proprietary, making it hard for businesses to create standards-based content that is easily distributed across platforms. And given Microsoft's track record when it has market dominance, it's a reasonable concern that Web technology could stagnate.

This is a shame for the World Wide Web, itís incredibly that such a powerful software company as Microsoft itís not interested in enhancing their browser, and therefore, the average web user experience when accesing the web (I think that the vast majority of people surfs the web using IE)

How could we encourage the surfers that come to our sites to start using some alternatives like Mozilla or Opera?

Oaf357




msg:593305
 1:06 am on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, that is a good question.

Perhaps researching a little and letting people know Microsoft's position on their soon to be deprecated browser. Linking to Mozilla and Opera would help but isn't enough IMHO.

grahamstewart




msg:593306
 2:04 am on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen a single M$ OS since 98/SE worth touching (NT, 2000, ME, XP, etc).

Slightly off-topic but I have to disagree. 98SE was rubbish.
XP however, is the first Micro$oft OS that is truly worthy of the name Operating System. Its really rather good (and no I'm not a big fan of M$ usually).

See Any advice on PC configuration for Web developement? [webmasterworld.com] thread in Webmaster General for many more people that agree.

g1smd




msg:593307
 5:16 am on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> XP however, is the first Micro$oft OS that is truly worthy of the name Operating System. Its really rather good (and no I'm not a big fan of M$ usually). <<

... but I am really not interested in an OS that requires you to re-register with Microsoft every time you make hardware changes and so on. Too much hassle.

digitalghost




msg:593308
 5:38 am on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Too much hassle.

Whahhh? Yep, that "click" is way too much hassle. I can purposely whack the registry, install a piece of poorly coded junk, flip the power switch, snatch a memory stick, and watch XP recover.

I can network with no software, slap in any USB device and watch the drivers build and I have yet to install a piece of software and have it fail.

I have a nice reversal for all the folks that cap on MS and IE. If you want to make a statement, sniff for IE and send all your IE traffic to the Opera download page. C'mon, all those IE users must be dolts, I mean, damn, they don't know that Opera is superior...

I think WG proposed a similar challenge to all those folks that wanted to whine about Google's market share, and ended up with no takers...

Captaffy




msg:593309
 4:37 pm on Jun 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

... but I am really not interested in an OS that requires you to re-register with Microsoft every time you make hardware changes and so on. Too much hassle.

I think Microsoft has done everything they can to make it not a hassle, but I still don't agree with the copy protection method they've chosen.

You should seriously consider Windows 2000 Professional then. It doesn't have the bells and whistles that XP has (like native support of digital cameras which I wish it did), but it's stability is definitely up there with XP. It was the first Microsoft OS I've ever had that I actually liked, and I will probably be using it until it's no longer supported.

ricfink




msg:593310
 3:36 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Least capable?
Least capable of what? What's their measure of capability?
These people are buying into someone's bullchips, bigtime.
Somebody paid for that editorial, I assure you. Or else Microsoft doesn't advertise in their publication and they are angry.

Have you ever looked at IE's DHTML model?
Feature upon feature upon feature. Well documented. And it's fast and largely trouble free, too.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a believer in sticking with web standards for the public internet.

However, in cases where you can control which browser is being used, you'd have to be nuts to choose anything but IE on Windows.
I'm currently in the middle of a project where I'm using IE-only code extensively. Doing so, I'm saving my employer a lot of money by replacing expensive third party software that's malfunctional and, in doing so, helping to deliver important content to my company's employees.
And I'm using nothing but free stuff that comes along with Windows: IE and it's secure cousin, HTA. (HTML Application)
(It involves running IE in a secure mode on kiosks placed in different work locations all around a large American city.)
Opera does not give me the tools. Mozilla does not give me the tools. IE does.
What nonsense!

grahamstewart




msg:593311
 3:52 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Your talking about using IE only code in a proprietary situation. Which is fine if thats what your project allows.

The article is talking about IE as a browser though and in this regard IE really doesn't make the grade.

TheWhippinpost




msg:593312
 5:54 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm partially with ricfink on this. It's clear to me that M$ has, since about IE 5, been positioning the browser to be an extensible application platform.

As such it's engine is more flexible and enables developers to build more than "just web pages" - there's a lot of people out there that still don't know you can build a data-driven site/app...fuelled client-side, ie... using a bog-standard server without ASP, Perl, CGI whatever.

The downside to the wider possible uses however, means that by extension, and arguably by design (or is it innovation?!), that it sets it's own generic standards - In many ways M$ is ahead of the standards game because the various bodies can't keep pace with the rate of change.

All the browsers it seems have mis-interpreted the standards and I think they all still do to some degree - Opera was only flagged the other day for some CSS bug.

A lot of developers understandably like Opera for it's features, well MyIE2 has a lot of Opera features, not all of them, but then Opera doesn't have all MyIE2 features either but the thing is, MyIE2 is probably the only browser that shows what the IE engine is capable of...and I don't even believe that it's scratched much below the surface yet, but as freeware, it's done an incredible job. So to say that
it is probably the least-capable browser on the market today.
is wholly not true...the capability is there in the engine.

I'm not M$-obsessed however, I certainly don't want to see an integrated browser melted into the OS, but MyIE2 has made me realise that the browser is the new desktop just as the web is becomming the new hard-drive.

Hester




msg:593313
 10:11 am on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

The problems with IE include the layout bugs, lack of complete PNG image support, lack of features found in Opera and Mozilla such as tabbed windows and pop-up blockers, no simple way to resize pixel-based fonts for disabled users, never-ending security holes, lack of full CSS2 and even HTML 4 compliance... the list goes on.

It is a real shame that Microsoft cannot be bothered (or consider it a waste of money) to upgrade IE6. I get the feeling that the effort is too much to upgrade the engine, so perhaps they are writing a new one for Longhorn. How else can we explain a two-year wait for a new browser? Meanwhile the old one stagnates, allowing Opera and Mozilla and Safari to take a real stake of the market. Microsoft have even given up completely on the Mac.

I love XP though. Sure it has some annoyances, but it's a real step up from 98, being based on NT. I look forward to Longhorn. (Just need to get that 128Mb RAM graphics card first!)

dingman




msg:593314
 4:29 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

you can build a data-driven site/app...fuelled client-side, ie... using a bog-standard server without ASP, Perl, CGI whatever.

Which is a totally bass-ackward way to engineer anything. How on Bob's green earth does it make sense to have a lame, powerless server that requires hundreds of beefy clients? Servers are easy to manage, clients are hard. Clients are heterogenous, servers are exactly what you want them to be, and stay that way for every visitor unless you decide to change them. The thinner the client, the happier I am, both as a developer and as a user.

As a developer, the less stuff I do client side the more confident I can be that the API I want to use actually exists. As a user, the thinner the client, the more likely I can use it on my three year old PDA that I don't want to replace, or my eleven year old laptop, or the public machine at the library that hasn't been updated since the last time someone had time to write a grant, or the internet cafe in Darkest Peru.

As for developing internal apps for IE - can you say "proprietary lock-in"? I can, and it's a reason why I'll never be able to reccomend in good conscience that my employer develop for IE. (Or any other closed, single-vendor technology.) If you have to re-write all your essential internally developed tools just to switch to another vendor, then your current vendor owns you. Unless you're such a huge customer that you own the vendor, too, that's not a good position to be in. There are just too many open, cross-platform tools available for that to make any sense.

Heck, how many places have you seen a group of users within an organization who all had to have *two* computers, one of which was suited for their real job, and one of which existed only because there were one or two internal tools that only ran on platform X? Right now, I'm such a user - to get my work done, I have one machine. To use one single app that I need at most once a day for two or three minutes, I have a second machine that still has to be licensed and maintained by our IT department as if I actually used it.

Yoeri




msg:593315
 7:19 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Feature upon feature upon feature. Well documented.

Never had a "Not implemented!" javascript error in Mozilla or Opera, one of the rich features of Internet Explorer.

Our major product at work is proprietary and completely written for IE only ... I think this is WRONG!

It is a WEB application, thin client, one of the biggest advantages is the the ability to let the client choose which program (browser) he uses to access the application, even if it is installed on a local intranet. I love the freedom to choose the programs I want on my machine.

Since I learned to use standards, and not the "flexible way" of M$, I write my apps for all standards compliant browsers with less efforts than writing it for IE only ...

g1smd




msg:593316
 7:33 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> However, in cases where you can control which browser is being used, you'd have to be nuts to choose anything but IE on Windows. <<

I've tried them all and dumped all except Mozilla.

TheWhippinpost




msg:593317
 8:52 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Which is a totally bass-ackward way to engineer anything. How on Bob's green earth does it make sense to have a lame, powerless server that requires hundreds of beefy clients? Servers are easy to manage, clients are hard. Clients are heterogenous, servers are exactly what you want them to be, and stay that way for every visitor unless you decide to change them. The thinner the client, the happier I am, both as a developer and as a user.

If, for certain operations, I can drop a simple txt file into the cache of the most popular browser by far on the planet, and I can enable the user to go offline to work on the data for whatever solution I've developed for, and so de-couple the client from the hindrances of bandwidth and potential server problems, then it seems to me that I've provided a beneficial service to the widest audience that otherwise wouldn't be attained if I had to constrain my options to minority browser abilities.

Talkin of servers, I think it's interesting to note that many Windows-based servers provide support for Perl, PHP, CGI and ASP, ASP.NET blah blah... the same breadth of options cannot be said of *nix based servers.

As a user, the thinner the client, the more likely I can use it on my three year old PDA that I don't want to replace, or my eleven year old laptop, or the public machine at the library that hasn't been updated since the last time someone had time to write a grant, or the internet cafe in Darkest Peru.
I agree, but the fewer your options are too! That's technology though isn't it. I knew full well that whilst I vehemently objected to XP that one day I would be dragged into it's clutches.

Though standards may always be on a "catch-up" mission, there comes a time when even the likes of NN4 etal are left behind.

As for developing internal apps for IE - can you say "proprietary lock-in"? I can

So did I, in a round-about way. Thing is, if I develop any app that by virtue of it's multitude of features, leaves under-resourced competitors behind, then by extension there can't be cross-technological support for features that aren't within the realms of those same competitors... and yes, that is leaving out the "access to M$" intellectual property court battles, the protection of which, quite frankly, is a condition of the market forces we live within today.

Heck, how many places have you seen a group of users within an organization who all had to have *two* computers, one of which was suited for their real job, and one of which existed only because there were one or two internal tools that only ran on platform X?

Yep, I agree, it's crazy and is again, a result of the democratic market forces that gives our great free nations the luxury of havin, choice... A choice which is as much debilitating as it is liberating.

ricfink




msg:593318
 4:01 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is one of those threads that leaves me feeling like the character played by Charlton Heston in the beginning of the original "Planet Of The Apes" movie: dazed, mute, and wondering just what world it is I've landed on.
Get your nerdy hands off me, you...you...webmonkeys!

Let's untangle a few things:

Hester says:
"The problems with IE include the layout bugs, lack of complete PNG image support, lack of features found in Opera and Mozilla such as tabbed windows and pop-up blockers, no simple way to resize pixel-based fonts for disabled users, never-ending security holes, lack of full CSS2 and even HTML 4 compliance... the list goes on."

First of all, you're wrong about resizing pixel-based fonts. IE has a CSS property named zoom. Works nice, check it out. And unlike Opera's zoom feature which causes a horizontal scrollbar - trading the benefit of larger text for a considerable UI inconvenience and accessibility barrier - IE's zoom FLOWS the enlarged text AND since it's a CSS property, you can pick and choose which elements the user can apply it to. (Does the copyright notice really need to be bigger along with the article on cancer prevention?)
Plus, why is it necessarily the browser's busines to handle the resizing of text at a global level? Why shouldn't it be handled at the page level by the author. More freedom that way, not less, wouldn't you say? (And don't get me started on "alternate" style sheets as defined in the W3C HTML recommendation. Good motives, bad recommendation.)
Tabbed windows? The vast majority of users wouldn't know what to do with tabbed windows if they even knew they had them available. One of the things about the web that greatly helped it grab hold was it's simplicity. Click a link. Go back. Go forward. Simple. Don't assume that new features are necessarily improvements. They aren't.
You won't see even a blip of productivity increase from tabbed windows. You can only read one page at a time, can't you?
Pop-up blockers? I thought the web was about the freedom to be a nuisance? I just stay away from sites that unnecessarily oppress me with popups. They deserve it.
FYI: it hasn't been publicized, but the latest IE updates have done away with some of the popup crowd's crueler tools like no title bar and keeping the window on top with an onblur javascript statement.
But, anyway, how about MY popups. My popups are legit and filled with useful information. (Aren't yours?) I don't want them getting blocked, surely. And that's why IE has the createPopup method in addition to the other more common techniques for creating new windows. Polite and Unobtrusive.
The way it oughta be.
As far as the other minutia you mention - c'mon... is this stuff really that crucial?
What browser is perfect?

Graham says:
"The article is talking about IE as a browser though and in this regard IE really doesn't make the grade."

I don't know... Every time I use IE it browses. And then I use it to browse some more and it still keeps on browsing. Can't remember the last time a page didn't render nicely. What's your criteria for "making the grade"?
Is this the feature=improvement thing again?

(UI guru Donald Norman (MIT, Apple Computer) has done a lot of work on the pitfalls of featuritis and the unwanted loss of usability it causes. You might want to check out his work on the subject.)

Dingman says:
"As for developing internal apps for IE - can you say "proprietary lock-in"? I can, and it's a reason why I'll never be able to reccomend in good conscience that my employer develop for IE. (Or any other closed, single-vendor technology.) If you have to re-write all your essential internally developed tools just to switch to another vendor, then your current vendor owns you. Unless you're such a huge customer that you own the vendor, too, that's not a good position to be in. There are just too many open, cross-platform tools available for that to make any sense."

Ding, this sounds like really well-thought out advice. The voice of experience talking.
My only question is: what on earth are you talking about? Where and for what don't you have to decide on a platform? How do you get by, either in the business world or in life, for that matter, without putting your trust in a vendor somewhere along the line?
I currently have a three year lease on a Lexus automobile - does Toyota "own me" for three years? Or what?
Really, please elaborate. I just can't figure out what you're saying.

----------------------------------

My apologies for going ape!

grahamstewart




msg:593319
 4:30 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

What's your criteria for "making the grade"?
Is this the feature=improvement thing again?

Nah, features come and go. I accept that Microsoft want to keep IE dumbed down for the masses.

What I'm talking about is standards compliance.
IE is currently the least standards compliant browser (out of the big players) by quite a margin.

They only recently fixed the box model bug, they still don't support PNG transparency, their CSS support is way behind the other browsers and their CSS2 support is practically non-existent.

Even their HTML support is dodgy: No quotes on <q> tags? No highlighting for <acronym>, <abbr> or accesskeys?



Every time I use IE it browses.

You were talking about writing apps for HTA using IE specific code. Thats not browsing - thats writing an application that just happens to use the IE rendering engine for its output.

What the majority of use here are concerned about is how it performs as a Internet Browser for browsing public internet sites written to publicly approved open standards.


you're wrong about resizing pixel-based fonts. IE has a CSS property named zoom... Why shouldn't it be handled at the page level by the author.

Because its up to the user - not the author!

We supply the information and 'suggest' how it might be styled. The user should gets final say because they know their particular needs much better than we do.

Hester




msg:593320
 9:21 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

First of all, you're wrong about resizing pixel-based fonts. IE has a CSS property named zoom. Works nice, check it out.

This is the first I have heard of this. However, I refer to the user being able to enlarge pixel fonts. This is possible in most browsers except IE6. Even IE5/Mac has it! Web gurus like Jeffrey Zeldman are forever pleading for Microsoft to implement this feature.

Luckily the new version of Windows called Longhorn allows the contents of all windows to be enlarged smoothly. So a web page is any size you want it.

And unlike Opera's zoom feature which causes a horizontal scrollbar - trading the benefit of larger text for a considerable UI inconvenience and accessibility barrier

That's odd, Opera is usually stated as the most accessible browser. It's native Zoom feature is brilliant. Not only does it enlarge the text but the graphics too. So the page layout is retained.

Plus, why is it necessarily the browser's busines to handle the resizing of text at a global level? Why shouldn't it be handled at the page level by the author. More freedom that way, not less, wouldn't you say?

No. The user should retain the freedom to enlarge text if their eyesight is poor, or to make the page render in any colours they choose, such as black and white. Or to hide all images, to enlarge them, and so on. If such control was left fixed by the author, what a nightmare the web would be for disabled users! It's bad enough as it is.

(And don't get me started on "alternate" style sheets as defined in the W3C HTML recommendation. Good motives, bad recommendation.)

They work flawlessly for me and many other sites. This is one way the author can allow IE6 users to resize their pixel text. Or allow many different colour schemes to be selected. Even move page elements around. It happens instantly too.

Tabbed windows? The vast majority of users wouldn't know what to do with tabbed windows if they even knew they had them available. One of the things about the web that greatly helped it grab hold was it's simplicity. Click a link. Go back. Go forward. Simple. Don't assume that new features are necessarily improvements. They aren't.

Once you've tried tabbed windows, you realise how IE6 sucks without them. They are a definite progression.

You won't see even a blip of productivity increase from tabbed windows. You can only read one page at a time, can't you?

I have to disagree. They speed up my surfing time considerably. I don't have to use the BACK button to return to earlier pages - the pages are already loaded in another tabbed window. Otherwise I have to wait while the page is reloaded. If it sticks due to busy net traffic as I often find even on broadband, then I'm wasting seconds waiting.

There are many other tricks and benefits tabs allow. Download Opera 7 and check 'em out.

Pop-up blockers? I thought the web was about the freedom to be a nuisance? I just stay away from sites that unnecessarily oppress me with popups. They deserve it.

Let's take the example of Wired.com. A site too good to stay away from, but in IE6, I get an ugly pop up advert which crashes every time! I don't want that. Many other sites worth visiting also use pop up ads to annoy the user. Now I can stop them and surf easier.

Unwanted new windows are another source of pain. Ever tried surfing adult sites in IE6? Eventually you have to pull the plug as your computer is swamped with new windows that open more new windows when you try to close them. Some even open fullscreen so you can't see what's going on.

Mozilla and Opera allow you to control pop ups - not just by banning them altogether, but also allowing you to choose them when you want. You can allow certain sites to use them.

My popups are legit and filled with useful information. (Aren't yours?) I don't want them getting blocked, surely.

I'm sure Jakob Nielsen has a thing or two to say about pop ups not being user-friendly or accessible. Don't use them. Nobody wants them.

As far as the other minutia you mention - c'mon... is this stuff really that crucial?

Well things like incomplete PNG support have blocked authors from using this superior image format because IE6 can't handle them. The problem with all the things IE6 can't do is that Mozilla and Opera can. So people are naturally saying "Why can't IE?". These are features authors consider important enough to warrant attention.

Every time I use IE it browses. And then I use it to browse some more and it still keeps on browsing. Can't remember the last time a page didn't render nicely.

That's like saying Netscape 4 keeps on browsing. Yes, but you don't know what you're missing until you see the other side. I regularly see CSS demos that fail in IE, but work in the other browsers. These use code that authors would love to use, that would make their pages so much easier to write, but - you guessed it - the code doesn't work in IE6. What's Microsoft's excuse?

IE6 isn't a bad browser. It's just that it's missing features and code that the newcomers have. By 2005 when Longhorn comes out, IE6 is going to look very tired. Who's to say IE7 will be brimming with all the right features? Why can't Microsoft upgrade IE6 before 2005? Many users are simply dumping it and switching to Mozilla or Opera, or Safari on the Mac. It's a shame because IE6 is now going to be 'frozen' for two years until Longhorn comes out. And how many people are going to upgrade to that? It could take many years. Microsoft is effectively holding back the web!

[edited by: encyclo at 2:47 am (utc) on Mar. 31, 2006]

ricfink




msg:593321
 12:01 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks to all for responding to my points.
Now I feel like we've gotten way more to the heart of the matters at hand and I've really learned something.

In addition to my "day" job I'm also a director of a firm that's a Microsoft Partner. Microsoft is definitely concentrating it's efforts in other non-browser areas these days. (And I'm in agreement on it. Stuff like PNG support is nothin' compared to other problems confronted these days.)
Microsoft is an unusual company in that it will shift it's focus to concentrate on an area that it sees as crucial - like security for example. If people don't feel that M$ is taking care in that area, they are finished no matter how big they are. It's unusual for a big company to be able to do this but it's how they got where they are. (No, no, no, don't start with the monopolistic practices stuff, please!)
Right now IE is being treated with some degree of benign neglect.
But does anybody think that in the long run they will allow themselves to be outdone?

Hester




msg:593322
 12:43 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

But does anybody think that in the long run they will allow themselves to be outdone?

So what are their plans for a future browser then? How will it be better than the competition? Although I guess the answer is somewhat irrelevant as it will only be available for one platform.

mattur




msg:593323
 1:38 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMHO the only thing that matters is what visitors use to visit my sites.

If newer browsers come up with functionality that is sufficient to make ordinary folks switch browsers then thats great. It'll have to be a natural switch though; WASP failed spectacularly in getting folks to switch for webmaster reasons.

In the meantime though, IE is still by far the most popular browser. Personally I prefer telnetting to port 80, but that's just me ;)

TGecho




msg:593324
 1:44 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm... are you saying a huge company that develops everything from Windows to gaming consoles can't concentrate on both security and standards compliance at the same time? Very recently I thought IE6 wasn't that bad. Let's just say it hasn't been growing on me.

dingman




msg:593325
 4:03 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry about the delay. I apparently went home yesterday without hitting "submit".

enable the user to go offline to work on the data

That's not a web app :) As far as I know, the best cross-platform solution for that is Java, which I'm still skeptical of because I've seen so few stable Java apps. I'm not sure how much of that sort of thing you can do in Moz, since I don't usually write such things.

Talkin of servers, I think it's interesting to note that many Windows-based servers provide support for Perl, PHP, CGI and ASP, ASP.NET blah blah... the same breadth of options cannot be said of *nix based servers.

Warning, politics: And it's the result of *nix people being more inclusive in their efforts. That is the case because nearly all such technologies for *nix servers are one flavor or another of Free software, so even if I wanted to there's nothing I can do to stop you from porting my cool new *nix server tool to run on Windows, wherase it's darned near impossible for anyone but M$ to add ASP support to anything without their blessing. I feel somewhat sick at the thought of someone porting my community site software to MS SQL Server instead of PostgreSQL, but if it achieves any significant popularity someone will probably decide to, and on principle I won't stop them. (Or even have any right to, since I'll release the code under the GPL) All this ends up meaning more choice in what you decide to mix and match with *nix/Free stuff. (Notwithstanding the fact that I'm certainly no MS fan, I see many of the same fundamental problems with proprietary *nix software, too)

there can't be cross-technological support for features that aren't within the realms of those same competitors

My experience is that in 99% of cases, there are cross-platform options that do what I want, too, they just use different APIs to do it. Mozilla, for example, is actually a very capable application platform, and it runs on *nix, Windows, Mac, and I don't know what all else.

Though standards may always be on a "catch-up" mission, there comes a time when even the likes of NN4 etal are left behind.

Yech - NN4 was every bit as bad as IE about adding wierd proprietary headache-inducing "enhancements". Those two teamed up to make Mosaic my favorite browser for years after it should have been obsolete :)

A choice which is as much debilitating as it is liberating.

Worlds better than market w/o choice though, isn't it? I just think that right now there are plenty of choices in open, cross-platform solutions without needing to fall back on proprietary development tools that can restrict what I do in the future. I've never taken the stance that I wouldn't use proprietary software when there was a compelling reason, I just find very few compelling reasons. For example, with Gecko out there, I have no need for proprietary browsers other than to test and make sure I support them. However, before Mozilla reached a usable stage, I certainly used NN4, with all its flaws, because it was the best browser at the time. (I know some people thought IE was. I disagreed. Besides, it would have had to be a heluva lot better to justify paying for the BSOD just to use IE) Before OpenOffice was good enough for my needs, I bought ApplixWare, and I'll admit that there are things about it that I miss. (I don't miss Word or Word Perfect.) Having seen a few places get really screwed by lock-in effects, though, I do tend to find that a compelling reason to avoid anything controlled by a single company.

dingman




msg:593326
 5:06 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Really, please elaborate. I just can't figure out what you're saying.

OK.

Ding, this sounds like really well-thought out advice. The voice of experience talking.
My only question is: what on earth are you talking about? Where and for what don't you have to decide on a platform? How do you get by, either in the business world or in life, for that matter, without putting your trust in a vendor somewhere along the line?
I currently have a three year lease on a Lexus automobile - does Toyota "own me" for three years? Or what?

1) Yes, you always have to pick a platform. However, you can pick at a high enough level to have it work in a lot of places, or a few. In theory, Java is a great platform to choose, because it runs anywhere there's a JVM - a Mac, a *nix box, a Windows box, etc. My limited experience with it hasn't convinced me that it's any better than "fails the same way everywhere", but the theory is there. In this context, I'd deffinitely say Mozilla/Gecko is a good platform choice, because it can sit on Mac, Windows, and every *nix I know of and provide the same environment to your app. GTK+ and C or C++ may even be such a solution - I know I've got *tons* of GTK+ and C or C++ apps on my Linux boxen, and I also have some of the same apps on my Windows box at work. I'm not certain if GTK+ is available for Macs or not, though it might well be.

2) As for vendors, no, you don't have to trust one. If I decide tomorrow that RedHat has gone nasty, all my code will still work if we switch to Suse or Debian. The way I write, it's actually a good bet I could switch to one of the BSDs equally easily. I've got a ton of vendors to choose from. Even if I want to stay with the Red Hat distro, I know at least three places I can buy premium support for that distro.

In the rest of life, most of the services I buy could be swapped out for another provider if I wanted to. There are more mechanics in thist town than I can count, and there's not much of a penalty for switching. We just *did* switch veterinarians because we didn't like a staffing decision he made. I bought my bike from one dealer, and I do generally go back there because they treat me well, but if they piss me off there are three others in town with decent reputations as well. Some of the utilities still have deals where I can't get out, or at least not easily, but that's getting a little better in the phone arena and the others still have enough regulation not to be onerous.

3) Leases, eh? Quite possibly, although possibly not as bad. When you own, you can pick your own mechanic, you can add aftermarket changes, and so-forth. With a lease, I assume you have a lot fewer options, since the car eventually goes back to the dealer, and I assume there's also a hefty early termination fee. Really, I'm not so sure how leases work - I've only ever owned, and the same is true of my parents and mother-in-law.

Does that help?

nowhere




msg:593327
 6:47 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why are the people that donít use MS upset that MS isnít upgrading IE? Shouldnít the reverse be true?

futureX




msg:593328
 7:58 pm on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

tbh, theres nothing inherently wrong with IE, it browses the web pretty well. But its the user interface and speed that made me switch to Opera, and only after considerable testing (the the very latest Opera) Opera is a dream, but IE is not exactly scraping the barrel, it has everything users need to browse the web, what new advancements would require Microsoft to upgrade?

And I agree that Windows XP is the best windows to ever be released, just above 2000 :D

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