Dec 3, 2005

The Web and open standards

“Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.”

- Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996

The great thing about great men is that they are able to see and foretell something that becomes obvious to the rest of us only after a few years or decades. Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the WWW, predicted the potential danger that open standards faced from proprietary technologies and we can see it today on some web-sites that proclaim their loyalty to one or two browsers and send the rest away, just like that.

One of the most important factors that made the Web so popular is the universal accessibility that it provided to the users. Regardless of the hardware or software they were using, they could easily access the information without worrying about the operating system, network platform, software versions or whatever. And now, the Web is being threatened by one or two browsers that obviously can't accept the beauty of the system and want to dominate the WWW with their own proprietary technologies. What is even worse is that webmasters and page designers actively encourage this trend just to make their site a bit more flashy than the rest by discouraging other browsers which are far more efficient and HTML standards compliant.

I am glad to mention a site, Viewable with Any Browser Campaign, which is fighting this and I suggest you take a look there too. And speaking of better browsers, see this article, Browser war heats up with Mozila 1.5 which speaks of the Mozilla foundation's effort to break the browser dominance on the WWW.

P.S.: I personally use Mozilla and Opera web browsers because they are definitely more faster, secure and respect the HTML guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

4 comments:

Nathalie Cameron said...

Knock, Knock, there's a choir at your door......"We Wish You A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year" Stopping by to wish you and yours Happy Holidays!!

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IdentityMIA said...

I couldn't agree more. I, personally, support Firefox. But, I try to keep my blog cross-browser friendly. I check it with IE, FF, Opera, and Avant. Maybe I'm neurotic. I just don't like the idea of that one person out there that might have a browser I didn't think of being turned away because I'm not going to make my site/s work for them.

rankwil said...

IdentityMIA : The philosophy of the Web is that you can definitely make your site flashier using proprietary technology (and plugins and whatnot), but in doing so, you should not make it any less accessible to other users with a different browser. Many webmasters and designers out there use proprietary technology, assuming that everyone will use the browser they specify. It is just not meant to work that way.