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The move has led to unrest among companies that rely on their customers to access services over the Internet and led some analysts to conclude that IE's virtual monopoly and status as the de-facto browser standard is about to come to an end.
The author makes a very interesting point about web based applications. A bank emailed it's customers asking them to insure that they had downloaded IE6. The article goes on to say that this defeats the advantage of browsers based applications - they should be standards compliant and be accessible regradless of OS and browsers.
Microsoft are doing other browser manufacturers a favour here. Online application developers will now have to start building standards compliant applications.... which I think is a very, very good thing.
A very interesting article - thanks Brett!
...sent an email to its 600,000 online banking customers, telling them to ensure that they had downloaded the latest version of Internet Explorer before 30 June. According to the email, Microsoft would stop making IE available as a separate download for people using Windows 95 or 98. Microsoft has denied this, saying First Direct made a mistake.
Not to make this a debate, but from a webmaster perspective, I'd go with Opera 7 over Mozilla as a replacement. Opera 7 loads 90% of the IE 5+6 pages out there with little to no code modification. Mozilla is a whole other animal. I usually code for IE, then test in Opera with a few tidy changes, then curse for the next hour while I patch the CSS, etc to work properly with Mozilla.
[edited by: amznVibe at 2:29 pm (utc) on June 30, 2003]
Meanwhile, this makes me wonder whether Microsoft is also ramping down its browser development unit. Anyone know? I'd imagine that they're aware that "embedding" the browser in the OS will result in more people switching to competing browsers, so maybe this means they're backing away from the browser thing altogether.
amznVibe, read further down the article:
Microsoft has already confirmed that it will no longer make standalone versions of IE, and said "nothing has yet been decided" about the future of support for IE 6, the browser's current standalone incarnation. Lars Ahlgren, EMEA support policy manager at Microsoft, told ZDNet UK that he knows it is "very unwise to force customers to upgrade" to a new operating system, and admitted that "if you lock in your users or customers, you will lose out".
However, he is adamant that in order for "browser technology to truly thrive and develop, it needs to be part of the operating system -- that is why we have made this choice".
[edited by: Winooski at 2:37 pm (utc) on June 30, 2003]
By the way, we can now rip out IE from win2000 and XP anyway.
Remember the 98lite people? After a couple years they finally have a next-gen product in beta ([litepc.com ])
AOL, for its part, has just ended its browser-related legal claims against Microsoft as part of a $750m settlement that included a seven-year free license for IE.
Wanna watch a movie? You'll have to go through Microsoft.
Wanna play a song? You'll have to go through Microsoft.
I'm convinced this is what they are doing, leaving IE behind in favor of NextGen browser.
dvduval, I think we will see the nextgen .Net browser incorporting their new spider and msn.
[edited by: korkus2000 at 3:28 pm (utc) on June 30, 2003]
Very interesting article.
Now we start going back to the headache and the increased costs of having different platforms, different rendering.
It scares me to see how poorly the alternative OS makers - linux and Mac I suppose - have been able to deliver any other options. It won't be very long before win2000 starts getting obsolete, or at least that's my instinct.
It disturbs me to see about one third of my traffic is on XP, I hate to see the huge extent of MS captive consumer base.
Sun said in the beginning, the network is the operating system. And now I think the browser is more important than the OS, in a subjective usage kind of way: I mean, in terms of serious work done, I should elaborate on that but I can't...
MS think the same, I think. You'll buy a box to get your access, and MS will deliver its usual ulterior agendas.
I'd love to ditch MS...
I agree, I don't like the headaches of programming for different browsers. Netscape 4 was a dog!
I do think this is their way of getting people to upgrade to XP so they can track your software licenses and get you to pay for every install you have.
I am quite pleased with 2000 Pro and have no intentions of upgrading from IE 6 if I have to go to XP.
In any case, will this really make a dent in MS's browser share, considering the 'already opted in' nature of joe surfer? IE has pretty much been 'integrated' into MS operating systems for some time now, and to use Mozilla, Opera or one of the alternatives will surely require the same 'opt out' that it does now?
If read carefully, the story says that no new vs. of IE will be available for individual download for Win 95 & 98. IE 6 will continue to be available.
Post Win 98 (2000, ME, XP) have IE as part and parcel of the OS. Thus the browser will UPDATE automatically. My XP already does this (I keep getting the message).
I doubt MS will scale back on the browser even 1 inch.
Why - can't you write to standards instead? Validate at validator.w3.org and check your site in IE and Mozilla and you can 99% guarantee that it will work fine on most combinations now.
I don't like the headaches of programming for different browsers
Apart from giving you a headache, it's also seriously wrong to do so. You always should program for one thing only: compliance to w3c standards.
As a developer, I had finally been able to ignore browserA, and build sites for browserB
Being a developer, You develop, of course. Developing for specific browsers is browser development. Developing for the internet implies developing according to internet standards.
I usually code for BrowserX, then test in BrowserY with a few ...
see? see? "I code for browser X" - this is not coding for the internet - it's coding for the browserX manufacturers.
There are no internet markup standards apart from those specified by w3c. Doing something else simply implies doing something else than what you think you are doing.
The statement "I follow standards" is a powerful one. Do not underestimate it. It implies that you are competent, that you actually commit yourself to a quality level that can be checked. It implies that you are educated, have spent time learning, and know what you are doing.
Excuse me if this sounds a bit harsh, but there are no grey zones here and no compromises. The days with "optimized for xxx and yyy" are simply the past. Either You do your job, or you simply don't.
Please remember, that standards allow for flexibility so that individual user agents can be directed to less visually attractive pages if they do not conform to standards themselves.
There are no internet markup standards apart from those specified by w3c.Wrong, there are no internet markup standards apart from those specified by the dominant niche browser - I was particular with the word niche as these days, and in days to come, "browsers", or viewports, are available, and customised for different platforms.
Let's face it, if MS, or any dominant browser didn't conform to any standard but it's own native one, who would we code for?
Sorry, this is going OT but he started it, honest guv ;¬)
Show me the standards document that lists all of the acceptable tags, attributes, and attribute values, their inter-relationship, usage, and meaning, for any Microsoft version of HTML.
Ah, what? There is no such document? Umm, how can it be a standard then, if it isn't documented?
Ah, what? There is no such document? Umm, how can it be a standard then, if it isn't documented?
Of course there is, but the subject was recently mauled over at [webmasterworld.com...] - link to M$ docs are amply provided through the link on message #75
I'm leaning towards the idea that this is being done to force OS upgrades. Surfing the net is the reason home CPUs have become common place. IMO integrating IE and regularly developing it ensures upgrades for years to come.
The Net has a root control point as well the data line. Whoever controls the physical net structure controls the root. (This hardware issue was not the same with PC's because of so many manufacturers)
I think what Yahoo and SBC are the closest thing to controlling the entry point to the Net and Microsoft is or will soon be reacting to the huge implications of this next potential mega company.
I've always designed for standards and tested in as many browsers/versions as was possible and reasonable. Is it more work? Yes. But it sometimes brings to light things in a site that I would have missed otherwise and that helps me provide better quality work.
Also, market leaders can change over time. IMO developers/designers who are in the habit of designing for one browser could find themselves hurting down the road.
I am fine with IE 5 at this moment, i personally will not upgrade it, I understand all the new features of the other systems but there is absolutely no need for me change, and same goes for most users.
They can have longhorn, foghorn, toghorn, or whatever they are going to release, win 98 is fine for me and many other users. If it works fine, why should i upgrade, then again PAY to upgrade.
Look i know quite a few ppl who have xp and have hacked the thing that sends info to microsoft, in any case maybe microsoft finally realised they cannot make money by selling their browser, instead focused on trying to make it through there next OS.
If it works fine, why should i upgrade, then again PAY to upgrade.
Unfortunately that's not an option. I didn't need to upgrade from DOS until the apps I needed demanded it. I grudgingly bought 3.1 and opened it from DOS. In hind sight I think that was silly, mice are good.
I'm using 98 now for I'm guessing 2 more years. Apps grow in OS needs and MS (big in both) likes to keep the ball rolling. Can you blame them?
MS trying this story again about needing integration with the OS is what got them in court before, they must see now that the forces are not great enough to stop them this time.
They have long wanted this. They'll have the default installed base, they'll serve the Web their way, they'll put Gator to shame with their helpful suggestions when it comes to commerce, and they'll strive mightily to sabotage any breath of competition on their desktop.
And we poor folk will have to accommodate that. We'll have to modify our seo to fit MS search, and we'll have to build pages to accord with (or attempt to get around) whatever ways MS decides it wants to render on any given day. And if we do it for clients, they'll have to bear that cost.
And one day fairly soon, a year or two, when MS thinks up a new service or angle, when all that installed base that we hope to sell to begins to receive the service, too bad if win2000 or IE6 just can't access that service. Too bad.
MS doesn't adhere to its own standards between its own app versions, when it has a clear field on the desktop you can kiss standards goodbye - standards are for variants to interoperate, MS doesn't like variants.
MS is not a technology provider, it is a merchandiser, and has been from the beginning.