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Web Designers Ignoring Standards and Support IE Only 1279

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the doesn't-that-burn-your-bottom dept.
An anonymous reader says "According to this story on news.com, it is becoming harder for users of Microsoft-free systems and browsers to view the web. This seems to be a new call to arms from the standards groups, and it is something we should be thinking about. Without help from web designers, using browsers like Mozilla and Opera will effectively cut off our ability to view web sites 'correctly.'" My pet peeve is when sites hype and announce new-and-improved sites, and then they come out and they are simply a gigantic flash application.
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Web Designers Ignoring Standards and Support IE Only

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  • by Mr Guy (547690)
    For Lynx references?
    • Lynx rules (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tune (17738) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:25AM (#3841504)
      Though Lynx may seem hopelessly outfashioned, don't forget that some search engines (like Ilse [www.ilse.nl]) still use it as a prefilter. Experts say nothing beats its power to convert HTML into plain text, though it obviously cannot handle flash, pdf, or even frames properly.

      Lynx is also a good test to experience what your site looks like on a cell phone (WAP-converted).

      Last but not least, imagine what your site would "feel" like when "viewed" by blind people. Forgot that "ALT" text with you IMG tag? You're all alone in the dark with Lynx as well.
      • Re:Lynx rules (Score:3, Informative)

        by Your_Mom (94238)
        Honestly, I've dropped lynx for Links [browser.org]. Links, I must say is God's gift to text-only browser, it takes the best parts of lynx, and then gives it all the stuff that lynx lacks (tables, frames, etc). Plus, I just alias lynx to links and I am all set.

        Screenshots [mff.cuni.cz]

  • Sad, very sad.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stevenbee (227371)
    The irony is, that I'm running IE6 and it's identified as follows:

    You are using: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)

    But I guess that MSFT has succeeded in polluting the standards to the point where
    IE can totally ignore IEEE compliance.

    Not a troll, just a lament

    :-(

  • ...yes... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonathan_atkinson (90571) <jonathana@@@cleanstick...org> on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:17AM (#3841424) Homepage
    This is, er, total rubbish. While a lot of smaller web designers may be MS focused, most large sites will try very hard to make their sites work across platforms. Just check out most of the discussion on alistapart [alistapart.com], which primarily deals with new web technologies, and how to implement them in a cross-platform manner. While a lot of the 'amature' web may be strewn with proprietary tags, a lot of the larger sites really do care about users who use different browsers; from Netscape 4 to WebTV.

    --jon
  • No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AirLace (86148) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:18AM (#3841427)
    I see this as an advantage. Ever noticed how the "Flash" sites are the very ones which tend to be filled to the brim with adverts and little else, or otherwise "arty" sites by self-important 'blogging nuts who think their combination of morphing pastel colours needs to be seen by the whole world? Sorry, but that's not what the Web is to me -- I use it for information, and that's why I use Mozilla.
  • by Lxy (80823) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:18AM (#3841430) Journal
    And I always hear him say stuff like "Well, *I* run IE, so I assume most everyone does". For awhile I had just assumed that Microsoft was sleeping with W3C, until I met a few web programmers. As I see it, there are really two types of prgrammers. Those who learned HTML in the beginning, and those who learned Frontpage so they could be 133t and have their own website. Since the latter outweighs the former, there you see the problem.

    In their defense, from the user's point of view, the easiest tools out there are made by Microsoft. Click, click, click, oh look! I have a website. Sure, it's 8 MB in size without graphics, but it's all mine! Sadly only the geeks care about standards anymore.
  • ...instead of just using Frontpage for everything, we wouldn't necessarily have this problem.

    Oh, and what's the point really, of a Standards Body, if they can't to an extent enforce the standards? Just a thought.
    • Maybe if the designers learned to program ... instead of just using Frontpage for everything, we wouldn't necessarily have this problem.

      Web designers do not use Frontpage.

      However, home-brewed amateur sites ("Oooh, quilting circle will love this site.") and sites made by worker bees ("Jones, make a department web site.") may be done with FP.
    • Why should designers need to program? Programming is for programmers. Designers design. There are lots of people who are both, but you can't expect good design from someone just because they are a good programmer.

      Also, designing a web page hardly ever involves anything that could be called "programming". (since back-end stuff has nothing to do with how it's rendered in different browsers)
  • by brejc8 (223089) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:19AM (#3841447) Homepage Journal
    When I find that a website doesnt work with Linux or my browser then I send them an email.
    Often they just ignore them but for examle the inquirer [theinquirer.net] just this morning corrected their site after I emailed to the webmaster on friday with the bug.
    • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday July 08, 2002 @10:18AM (#3842156) Homepage
      I agree that complaining is the way to go. Without any feedback, what is to prevent the web designers from taking shortcuts and ignoring browser compatibility? In the case of corporate sites with the IE-only defects, the good-old "contact us" generic mailto might be worth a shot. The trick is to get the site owner to start whining to the web developer, "Why do people complain about our website being incompatible with their computer?"

      Of course, the real problem is the choice of lowball labor for the task of website development. If you hire a high school webmaster wannabe or a disposable HB1 and pay them minimum wage to produce your website, this is what happens.

      We hired a supposedly reputable company to make a simple but graphically pleasant corporate website. Browser compatiblity was an afterthought for them too. They did all kinds of funny things with tables that just happened to work in IE but not with anything else. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the first prototype and it included (for no apparent reason) a Flash intro that was really more like an infomercial. Our marketing manager insisted we needed more bandwidth to support the website, which led to an interesting discussion about page bloat and it's effect on load time for dialup users.

      The people who develop websites for a living need to realize that browser compatibility is one of the things that distinguishes the professionals from the wannabes.

    • by vanyel (28049) on Monday July 08, 2002 @01:59PM (#3843849) Journal
      As long as a large enough percentage of users are using IE, complaining won't help much. You can help educate them with a variation of the following stuck in your <head></head> section:

      <script language="JavaScript">
      <!-- Hide the script from old browsers that don't recognize scripts

      var browser_name = navigator.appName;
      var browser_version = parseFloat(navigator.appVersion);

      if (browser_name == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") {
      document.write("<font face=\"Futura, Kudos, Helvetica, Arial\">");
      document.write("<center>\n");
      document.write("My condolences! ");
      document.write("You appear to be running Internet Explorer.<br>\n");
      document.write("I highly recommend checking out ");
      document.write("<a href=\"http://www.opera.com\">Opera</a>\n");
      document.write("as an alternative...\n");
      document.write("</center>\n");
      document.write("</font>\n");
      document.write("<p>\n");
      } // -->
      </script>
    • Agreed. The article mentions that e-commerce sites, due to whiz-bang view cart/checkout features, are often the least likely to work. These tend to be very receptive to your complaints, if you email them and say, "Hi, I'd like to buy your product, but I can't - you don't support my browser!"

      I did this for an online recordstore once, and the webmaster wrote back to apologize, and request that I use IE in the meantime. I wrote him back to explain that MS doesn't make IE for my platform, and he replied to that rather shocked, "What platform is that?!" I gave him a quick Linux spiel.

      What do you know - a few months later their site is redesigned, works fine with Konqueror, and no "You must be using IE" warnings to be found!
  • I for one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sirgoran (221190)
    Speaking only for myself, As a Web Developer, I code first for NS/Mozilla products first and IE last. My only complaint about NS is the lack of standards support in the 4x versions. However, as folks around the internet upgrade my job becomes better and better. The latest versions of Mozilla are very easy to build sites for, while M$ still gives me and some of my co-workers headaches.

    Goran
  • Harder and harder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saintlupus (227599) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:20AM (#3841454) Homepage
    According to this story on news.com, it is becoming harder for users of Microsoft-free systems and browsers to view the web.

    That's odd... I've been using Mozilla as my sole browser for a few months now, and I haven't had any problems at all. That's compared to a year and a half ago, when M18(?) was completely stymied by a lot of sites.

    Seems to me that things are getting better, not worse. Then again, stories about things improving don't get the ad impressions.

    --saint
    • by irix (22687)
      Seems to me that things are getting better, not worse.

      I was about to post the same thing. I have been running an up-to-date version of Mozilla/Galeon for quite a while, and things seem to be much better now that Mozilla has matured. The also plugins seem to be much better now - I usually find that Java Applets and Flash work just fine too.

      I very rarely find a website that I can't view correctly. That being said, we still need to keep up the web standards [webstandards.org] pressure to make sure this trend continues.

    • by SPYvSPY (166790) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:59AM (#3841902) Homepage
      ... is MSN's games page. [msn.com] (Note: You will see an error if you're not using IE.)

      When my girlfriend tried to log in to play her favorite time-wasting game, she saw this message and told me (again) that Macs suck. It's so nice to see Microsoft mind control at work in your very own home.
  • The sad truth. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swagr (244747) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:20AM (#3841457) Homepage
    The boss tells the web designer what to do. (I wan't Flash, dynamic animated menus, this, that, etc.)
    The boss uses IE.
    The boss doesn't care if some small percent isn't using IE.

    • I see your point, but at the same time, I'm sure the percentage not using IE is not "small". I don't know the exact numbers, but even if it were as low as 10%, that's still a lot of people, a lot of which will be pissed off that your site doesn't work when they see it.
    • Re:The sad truth. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym (126579)
      Well then your boss is a fucking idiot. Imagine running a real store where you turn away 10% of your potential business, simply because they're black or chinese. It's just stupid business, especially where those customers could make the difference between bankruptcy and success. At the very least you're turning away more profit which is just as dumb. Businesses stupid enough to turn away customers who have taken the time to visit their site deserves to fail and a lot probably do.

      The same for business who stupidly as to lock themselves into a single vendor for their intranet. It might mean short-term relief from writing a system that works with any reasonable endowed browser but let's see how smart it the next time Microsoft clobbers them for licence fees.

      Long live Darwin.

    • by lugonn (555020) on Monday July 08, 2002 @12:20PM (#3843110)
      This exact thing happened to me. I told my boss about coding for different browsers. He said as long as it worked with IE and AOL he didn't care.

      He figured his client base would be using whatever came pre-loaded on the machine (i.e. IE), or AOL. After I explained they are the same. He told me not to waste my time with the other browsers.

      Well, I ignored him and made sure my code ran under NS6 and IE5 to W3C specs (CSS and NS4 == TNT).

      A few months ago I proudly showed him an article explaining how AOL would be dropping IE and going with NS in the future. He said I should look into supporting NS. I told him the code already does...scored some brownie points.

      Point is...don't listen to your boss when you know your right. Especially when they are lawyers with money trying to start a tech co. Always do what you know is the right way of doing things, fuck the bosses shortcut suggestions. I've spent the past year showing my boss how clueless he is concerning computers, and now he listens to me.

  • Personaly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:22AM (#3841464) Homepage Journal
    I usually design web pages using w3c documentation, but Microsoft's MSDN documentation is a lot easier to sift through for a some of dynamic things. I'll usually design using IE and then tweak it until it looks good in IE and Moz. (even when using 'cross platform' code, it still never works right in both, in my experience)

    Netscape 4 users can go fuck themselves, though. Seriously.
    • Re:Personaly... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mlas (165698) on Monday July 08, 2002 @03:01PM (#3844343) Homepage
      Two links of relevance:

      First, note this list of CSS bugs [css.nu]. Note that a number of valid markups CRASH NS4. That's why NS4 is a thorn in the side of standards compliance... otherwise valid code can flat-out cause the browser to tank. Not good. Just as a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a little CSS compliance is a train wreck. In response to one of the above posts, I'd much rather code for Lynx than NS4. And I do code for IE, opera, Netscape 6, Mozilla...

      But there are workarounds, some painful, some quite painless. Go here for an FAQ on dealing with NS4 [mako4css.com].
  • I have put together a few well used sites and have forgotten to check something new on IE and I feel stupid when somone tells me that it don't work on the browser they are using... Nothing works like shame.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft and Macromedia have used the embrace and extend model successfully and if you want to add something fancier to a web site you are starting down the path towards platform dependency.

    Any news on standards based vector animation?
  • by Masem (1171) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:23AM (#3841473)
    They've covered 3 of 4 (or 4 of 5) participants in web standards: the browser makers, the web designers, the end users, and possibly the web standards setters. However, they're missing the biggest reason why a chunk of web pages are incompatiable: poor web page authoring programs.

    Even if you ignore Frontpage's effects, a lot of the more recent authoring programs don't put out the cleanest code. Not necessarily as bad as tag soup of the past, but still putting out code that works with no problem in IE, but not good in Netscape/etc. And unfortunately, if you consider the cycle of web advancements, they are typically late to the game (that is, they won't add support for a standard until a browser with majority support includes it). So we're only now seeing these WYSIWYG editors including support for XHTML and CSS level 2 stylesheets, despite all the major browsers supporting these (to a good extent).

    Of course, there are some that say "the best HTML editor is Notepad" (or vi, or EMACS, or...), and those are the people that I expect to have no problem with any browser on their sites. Unfortunately, that group is the minority, the majority seem to want to ignore HTML and just get it right in the WYSIWYG. And right now, that approach can easily lead you to the IE-only site.

    • by toupsie (88295) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:43AM (#3841714) Homepage
      "the best HTML editor is Notepad"

      Close. The best HTML editor, ever, is BareBone's BBEdit [barebones.com]. It Doesn't Suck(TM)

      Its also one of the best Text Editors ever made, if not the best ever made.

  • by Havokmon (89874) <rick@@@havokmon...com> on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:24AM (#3841497) Homepage Journal
    I used IEradicator [98lite.net] to remove IE from the company presidents desktop, and replaced IE with Opera.

    "Wow. Now I see what you mean about web sites not being compliant." She told me. "Our site looks ok, why don't others?"
    "They don't properly test them, or think some flair is really necessary that's only supported in IE 5.X. They forget Web Browsing is like window shopping in a Ferrari. You move on to the next one REAL quick."

    Though I have to say Opera's pop-up management sucks compared to Mozilla's. Since I've installed Mozilla for her, I havn't heard a peep. Before it was "Some links just don't work anymore" - which was due to Opera not opening REQUESTED Javascript URLs.

    BTW, I just didn't think it was a 'grand' idea to replace the presidents browser, but IE kept storing/retrieving some virus in it's cache (maybe from Eudora's preview?), and the calls from the president about viruses on her PC were getting annoying. Not to mention the reboot required to delete the IE Cache file that's ALWAYS open due to the wonderful Win98 integration! ;)

    (*sigh* No, once the file is detected by NAV as having a virus, you can't do anything with it.. But it's open so it can't be quarrantined... get it? :P)

  • by Neil Watson (60859) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:25AM (#3841507) Homepage
    I was in a meeting lately when following web standards was debated. These was some resistance as it was going to take some people longer to design their web pages. My boss hit the nail on the head:

    Don't think of it as having to change your design for 5% of the people. Think of it a designing to gain 5% more customers.

    • Think of it a designing to gain 5% more customers
      Not to mention that one never knows what the next version of IE (6.5, 7.0) does and implements.

      By sticking to the standards, and not to what current IE happens to implement, you have more chance that your site keeps working with future versions of any browser, including IE. So even in an IE only world (god forbid) it is risky to use non-standard HTMl/Javascript.

  • Not only are these web sites supporting IE only, they are supporting IE for Windows only. As a Mac OS X user, I have encountered many web sites, using IE for Mac, only to be told that my browser will not work with their site, because I didn't make the "smart choice" of using Windows.

    So not only is this a problem with web designers targeting IE, but IE on Windows.

  • by aallan (68633)

    ...it is becoming harder for users of Microsoft-free systems and browsers to view the web.

    Not any bits of the web I actually want to use, I haven't come across anything I want to see that isn't still Netscape 4.x compatible, let alone compatible with Mozilla 1.0. As far as I'm concerned the web is still working just fine...

    Al.
  • in the past, this has not really bothered me. I've come across several sites that really only worked with IE, but they were sites that I could ignore, or limp by with poor rendering.

    on more than one occasion, I've sent letters to the company sale people (not the IT people) saying that they just lost a customer because of their stupid IT / Web people.

    I agree the problem has gotten worse. Just yesterday, a site simply did not ALLOW access unless there was an IE tag. It was the AC2 game website. Thankkfully, Opera's "Identify as..." feature got around the server block, but it just as well may not have.

  • Even though all the major browsers are considered to be up to snuff on standards compliance, some Web authors still find it easier to code directly to IE--and test only with IE--rather than to open standards.

    Ah, but what version of IE? IMHO, just because is works in 5.0 and 5.5 does not mean it will work in 6.0. Service packs have a huge impact as well. From a testing standpoint, this is STILL a huge pain.

    I find if it works in Mozilla, it will probably work in most everything. IE tends to be too forgiving, rendering bad or malformed HTML too well. For that reason alone, I prefer to test with Mozilla first -- then a cut or two of IE...
  • If you're reading this, thanks -- I've got a question about a topic that has been bothering me for a while. With Mozilla, if you see adbanners on a page, you can right-click on them, and then scroll down to "Block Images from this Server" and presto, no more ads. While this is simple with clickable imagemaps, its not possible with flash adbanners (at least with mozilla's builtins....).

    Does anyone have any commnets/opinions or hints on how to "disappear" the flash adbanners?

  • The Pope is Catholic

    There's a war in Afghanistan

    CmdrTaco's grammar and spelling leave something to be desired

    Your cat only loves you because you feed it

    That girl would go out with you, if you'd only ask

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

    Let's meet our next contestant, Sybil Fawlty. Special subject: The Bleeding Obvious.

  • by Your_Mom (94238)
    I hate to tell everyone, but IE has become to the de facto standard for web sites.

    I hate it too, but the sad truth is, there are not enough users of other web browsers to justify $BIGCORP investing $BIGNUM bucks to make their website 'standards compliant' when someone can hire a monkey that knows how to point and drool in Frontpage to make a pretty website. This isn't a call for more standards commitees, its a call to make your neighbor/friend/guy on the street use something other then IE. Only then will we see a standard compliant web.

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:39AM (#3841670) Homepage Journal
      Boy, imagine if your code monkeys were saying that. Gee sir, I can code this up faster if I ignore all of the design standards and just stick GOTOs everywhere and skip the documentation. Or how about: we're not bothering to stick to the TCP/IP standard on our stack, we figure that it'll work OK with Win98, and it would cost more to actually make it standards compliant. What do we need standards for anyway, most of our users are still using Win98. Nobody in the software design field would last long with that attitude, but yet we allow it in our web designers. How odd.
  • Bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autechre (121980) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:27AM (#3841538) Homepage

    I'm sure that there will be plenty of poorly designed Web sites that only allow proper functionality with IE. For that matter, there will be poorly designed Web sites that are not really helpful at all to the person who wants to buy something, due to their (lack of) organization and structure. I deal with these sites in the same way: I buy from someone else.

    I can't remember having run into an IE-only problem on a commerce site; the second type of problem is much more common. I've been able to use my bank's Web interface with Mozilla for months (and before then, I only had to use NS4, not IE).

    That said, I was pleased to read about the push by the people in Netscape/Mozilla to get Web designers to create compliant sites. Sure, I'm never going to visit most of the sites on the Web, and if I have a problem with one, there will likely be an alternate. But it's nice that one browser maker is pushing for people to have as much choice as possible (it's likely that their efforts will also help users of Konqueror and Opera).

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:28AM (#3841545) Homepage Journal
    Pretty soon AOL is going to be using gecko [com.com] for its HTML renderer.

    In short order, developers taking this tack loose about 30 million customers. Do you want to be the one to explain to your boss why the company site doesn't work on his wife's computer?
  • by Schnapple (262314) <tomkidd@viatexas.cPERIODom minus punct> on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:28AM (#3841548) Homepage
    Well if anyone out there has fooled around with VisualStudio.NET and its GridLayout mode then on a web server with the .NET extensions loaded (yeah yeah I know it's a Windows-only technology thus far) when the .aspx page is loaded the proper page is given to the client based on what browser they're using. Whatever trick you want is passed over as whatever the client will understand, be it VBScript, JavaScript or simple HTML links - whataver works. Whatever graphic layout you specify will come across as the correct DHTML specification based on the browser.

    I took a DHTML page I made in Visual InterDev that would simply not work in non-IE browsers and re-did it in VisualStudio.NET - it worked 100% perfect in all browsers (well, except Konqueror). Sure, not everything works or looks 100% right (some tricks I tried didn't have as good results but they did the job) but for all the fuss that Microsoft is trying to shut out non-IE users, .NET sure does seem to be doing a lot to try and keep all the browsers happy.

    • by Reziac (43301) on Tuesday July 09, 2002 @02:26AM (#3847871) Homepage Journal
      On a similar note, I'd noticed that sites made with Frontpage 2002 lack most of the bugs and annoyances I'd come to associate with older FP sites. Guess M$ got tired of being the laughingstock of the HTML world :)

      But here's a fine irony for you: On my WinXP machine, the IE6 that came with XP will NOT correctly render the M$ knowledge base pages!! In fact it doesn't even come close -- tables are mangled and some text simply vanishes.

  • Site designers (Score:2, Informative)


    Some website designers are not aware of the difficulties of non windows users. A couple months ago I went to www.mancow.com and it was flash only. I e mailed a note to the webmaster and a few days later received the following:

    An apology and explanation that no attempt was being made to alienate users

    A request to view his NEW page the front page was graphically cool enough and then it linked to "Flash version or HTML version"

    So, not everyone does this deliberately.

    BTW As a courtesy (if his servers can take it) this was also a plug for www.mancow.com.

    Karl
  • My school [www.mcmaster.ca] is re-designing it's page. It's about time for a new web page since it's currently old and bulky. But the company that has been hired to do it worries me a bit. Their site is built on flash mostly.[www.cossetteinteractive.com]

    Mac's site will not be a flash based application, because the content is the most important but I have a feeling we are looking at IE & Netscape > 5.0 browsers for CSS and java code (my mozilla doesn't have a java plugin!).

    Anyway, it's going to be interesting to see how the university reacts to this change.
    It's nice when things look pretty, but if it doesn't say anything, or not everyone can read it, then you've just spoiled your "target market" and your "branding" doesn't matter any more?

    Chris
  • I maintain several sites that do lots of nice things using CSS and HTML...they work on and have been tested with multiple versions of Netscape, IE, and Opera (at the very least). As a Government entity, we've also got to consider ADA accessiblity and have accounted for that.

    Making a site so that it works on only one browser demonstrates a lack of talent.
  • by llamalicious (448215) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:31AM (#3841584) Journal
    Make a repository of sites which break on non-IE browsers.. Basically, a net-wide site-bug watch. Launch it as a universal database, and submit the reports to each webmaster in turn (as well as publishing the information on worst-offenders)

    Anyone know of something like this? If not, I'll take the initiative and build it damnit.

    Oh, and how many of you complaining wussies are posting via IE on windows anyway? Go sit in a corner.
  • AOL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:32AM (#3841592)
    "From the beginning, the situation has been that we listen to our customers and deliver what they ask for," said Whitney Brown, a representative for Shutterfly. "We have had very few requests for Opera--most of our users are on a PC using IE, and the next largest group is on a PC using Netscape. We have a pretty mainstream user base, which has moved away from the early adopters who may be aware of other browsers out there."

    The solution isn't that hard.

    As soon as AOL starts using Mozilla as their standard browser everyone who maintains an IE only page will be forced to sort their HTML out or lock out a potential 34 million customers [aol.com] .

    That should give them food for thought.

    • Re:AOL (Score:3, Funny)

      by PhxBlue (562201)

      I'm no corporation, but you've just given me 34 million good reasons to reject any non-IE browser from viewing my personal webpage.

  • by M_Talon (135587) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:36AM (#3841632) Homepage
    (and I'm going to ignore that "complaining about flash" != "debate about coding standards")

    Right now IE is the dominant browser. As we all know, the winner of a war gets to write history. Thus, IE is the standard as far as most business and personal users are concerned. Your average Joe Blow off the street doesn't know or care about any standards body making rules. All he cares about is whether www.whatever.www will work in his browser, which statistics show is most likely IE.

    We can lament the failure of Opera, Mozilla, etc to be the Redmond giant, but that doesn't change the fact that programmers will be told to code for IE because that's what everyone uses. When time is an issue, the big suits are going to want it working on the majority of systems in the shortest amount of time. That means coding for IE and leaving the rest behind.

    If you want to make a difference, go to the sites that are coded for IE only and let them know there is a demand for them to be cross-browser compliant. Word your email rationally and explain why they are losing customers due to their lack of support for other platforms. If they don't respond, don't go there anymore. Enough people doing that should get the suits attention (if they care, and if they don't then why do you bother). MS will only take over the web if you let them.
  • by tuxzone (64722) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:41AM (#3841698)
    I did a small research in the Netherlands for uselab.com. We tested 22 municipal websites for accessibility using Mozilla 1.0 on Win2k and IE 5.1 on MacOSX.

    The result: over 30 % of the websites had serious accessibility problems on Mozilla and on IE on the Mac. Problems where mainly caused by improper use of dynamic HTML and erroneous handling of the useragent-string (ie. trying to deliver a non-existant Mozilla webpage).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:45AM (#3841748)
    One thing that is rarely mentioned in web page standards discussions is the growing requirement to make web pages accessible to _everybody_ - this includes those with special needs. This is where a lot of the W3C work really comes into its own.

    Standards make things like client side style sheets for translating pages into something a text to voice system (for the blind for example) can actually understand much simpler. Mainly as parsing and translating valid XML or HTML is much simpler than broken HTML (IE). Braille output systems are another example of where good use of XML/XHTML/CSS could make a huge difference.

    Web designers who don't stick to the standards should especially take note of this as there is growing legal pressure to force accesibility of web pages. Many government and university pages already HAVE to be standards compliant for these very reasons.

    As for flash - I have no idea how you convert those pages into braille?

    Not relevant you say? Only a small percentage of the population? Think about how many wheelchair access ramps you've seen? Why do you think they were put there?
  • by Gorbie (101704) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:49AM (#3841790) Journal
    For sooo many years mac users (and linux...and whatever non-M.S. platform you use) have felt the frustration of not having the same level of application choice. Companies develop where the money is, and that was in the big windows market.

    So, the web designer says to the company looking for the site: "Hey...what customers do you want to reach?"

    Company: All of them! (typical)

    Designer: All of them? Okay...lets take a look at the possible conditions under which you can view a web site. You can have this generic looking site that will distinguish you from this peanut in that the peanut isn't on the screen, and it is dumbed down enough to be viewed by everyone. That's cheap. You can have this terrific looking site, but for every different scenario that you want someone to be able to view it under, it will cost an additional 'X' dollars. Or...you can develop for M.S., get 85% of the potential viewers, and have it cost the original quote"

    Company: Do that. THat sounds good!

    And that is the world we live in!
  • by mocm (141920) on Monday July 08, 2002 @09:55AM (#3841867) Homepage
    the w3c validator [w3.org].
    Sometimes the webmasters of the site even respond and are surprised that such a thing exists. If people would keep doing that, web desingers might use the validator as well.
    The real problem are those so-called authoring tools which produce invalid html in the first place. Everybody who bought such a program should complain to the manufacturer.
  • by jilles (20976) on Monday July 08, 2002 @10:03AM (#3841937) Homepage
    Discussions like this show that browser wars are back on the agenda. IMHO that is largely the result of Mozilla adoption which has a modest but growing market share (yes also on my desktop). For a while the browser field has been fragmented you had netscape 3.x, 4.x, opera, mozilla milestones, various IE versions, konqueror. However, the non IE versions are all becoming more and more standards compliant (or disappearing). So effectively there's only two camps: the standards compliant camp and the MS camp.

    While the latter camp has the largest marketshare (95% according to some sources), the standards compliant share is made up of a group of very active net users (mostly techies) who do a lot of online shopping, browse a lot of sites and see a lot of ads. For that reason, webdevelopers have an interest in keeping that part of the internet community happy and adhering to standards enough to make their sites usable in alternative browsers.
  • I see a lot of comments here along the lines of "we're still going to use IE because thats what 99.99% of my users use and added development time costs money" and that just sickens me. Why? Because if coding a site to standards is even a question, then you shouldn't be in that line of work. Doing the job correctly is part of doing your job. If you write proper xhtml (all your attributes are quoted, every tag is properly closed including <p> and <li>, etc.) then your site will usually look correct. If you learn how to do a "neat trick" by looking at code generated by a Microsoft editor, then you'll have problems.

    But, but, but... most of my users use Internet Explorer! If everybody tailored their work to "most" of their audience, there would be no handicapped spaces in parking lots, restaurants would not have vegetarian menu items, record stores would only carry "Top 40" music, and bars wouldn't serve Guiness. I don't want to live in that kind of world.

    But coding to standards is more work! Yeah, and not falling down the stairs is more work than walking down. But that's the way it should be done. If you can't do it right, don't be surprised when somebody who takes pride in his/her work shows up and gets your job.

    But I want to use those special IE-only features! Most of the world can do without page transitions. If you need some special eye candy, it can most likely be done with Java, Flash, or plain old DHTML coded properly. The flash plugin exists for the major browsers (and works under linux too) and can be done properly, but again that takes some work on the developers part.

    And to those who are hiding behind their huge IE user bases, think about this: What if some other browser begins to get significant market share? Maybe current users will generally not notice that the gecko engine can't render your site the way you want it to look, but users next year might have some problems (especially if AOL does indeed incorporate the gecko engine in an upcoming release). Is it better to learn how to write proper HTML/XHTML now, or write quick semi-correct HTML now and then have to fix it in a year? And chances are, if you aren't writing proper HTML now, you're not commenting your code eaither.

    In conclusion, I agree that blame should be placed on web developers who only want to develop for IE because that's easiest. If you don't want to do the job right, then too f-ing bad. That's why they call it work. If it was supposed to be easy, then they wouldn't pay you - they'd pay the neighbor kid because "he's good at computers." Do the job you're paid to do. People might not find out if you slack, but the more you slack, the harder it will be to correct it when the time comes.

    Disclaimer: My site (listed above) is not currently XHTML compliant. There is a new version being developed which will be compliant, though. And if you see browser-specific features, that's because the template for the site is chosen based on the user agent string.

  • by maiden_taiwan (516943) on Monday July 08, 2002 @11:42AM (#3842772)
    True story.

    At a world-famous corporation (that shall remain nameless here), the chief technology officer mandated IE as the official company browser. Compatibility with all other browsers was to be ignored for cost reasons, for all intranet sites.

    The CTO announced the mandate on an intranet web page.

    The page, when rendered in IE, crashed.

    Of course it displayed perfectly in Netscape.

  • by c.jaeger (30528) on Monday July 08, 2002 @01:40PM (#3843706) Homepage
    Webmasters/designers would change their behavior overnight if (search engine of choice here) presented hits which either rewarded/penalized web pages for standards compliance.

    e.g. Your search for "Natalie Portman hot grits" returned 1,000,000 hits...

    page 1. #1-50. web sites - (standards compliant)
    page 2. #51-100. web sites - (non-standard)

    The point being that a pass for standards compliance lifts you up the rankings whereas IE-only would drop you onto page 2 or later.

    --cj

    PS: I can hear it now. "Jetson!!! Why is Cogwell Cogs higher on this search site than Spacely Sprockets?!"
  • Surf with Mozilla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jagasian (129329) on Monday July 08, 2002 @02:43PM (#3844208)
    Allot of slashdotters here spend hours just surfing the net. One easy way to help out is to surf the net with Mozilla, and everytime you encounter a site that doesn't work correctly with Mozilla... report it to the web admin! Not only that, but web servers can see and log what browsers its users are connecting with. Surfing with IE may seem harmless, but in fact, you are continuously voting for Microsoft each time you use it to surf.

    Honestly, how many of you guys posting to slashdot are using Internet Explorer right now? For shame, for shame. Even if you are at work, you could still install Mozilla, as it doesn't take up much space at all and you can still use IE alongside it if necessitated by work.
  • by RedSynapse (90206) on Monday July 08, 2002 @03:06PM (#3844380)
    First off I want to dispel the myth that only small fry peon sites have standards compliance problems. Bugzilla [mozilla.org] currently has 1920 Tech Evangelism bugs open. These bugs all deal with websites that have poor coding resulting in problems rendering properly in Mozilla. These are sites like:
    • National Australia Bank [national.com.au] Click "Register Now" and you get a "Your Browser Version is not supported"
    • CN Rail [www.cn.ca] North America's Railroad (Excluding non-NS6 users).
    • Bank Of America [bankofamerica.com] Try to apply for a gold card and the form gets screwed up.
    • Benjamin Moore [benjaminmoore.com] Sorry our page is designed for IE only, buy your paint elsewhere.
    • Novartis [novartis.com] Screwed up rendering.
    • Connectsite [connectsite.com] Exchange, Collaborate, Connect! Unless of course your using a non IE browser, then go away.

    This isn't counting the 1720 Tech Evangelism bugs that have already been resolved. Sites like salomonsmithbarney.com, yahoo.com, cbs.com, citrix.com and many many more have all resolved improper coding issues that screwed up non IE rendering. But the positive news is that in 1720 cases web administrators have changed their websites to make them unbroken.

    Here's an example. One of the most highly reported bugs (bug 114812) that has since been fixed was with hotmail. Due to faulty javascript implementation if you would select the "ALL MESSAGES" box in your inbox only one message would actually be selected, so to delete the mountains of spam that accumulate daily you had to click the box beside _each_individual_message_. Clicking 200 checkboxes after not checking your mailbox for a few days does not a fun time make. Anyway after about 6 months of pestering microsoft finally fixed it. The moral: If complaining can make Microsoft make its pages standards compliant well the sky's the limit.

    Anyway if you want to do something to help check out Mozilla Evangelism [bclary.com] The site is chock full of advice about how to report and deal with non-compliant websites. You can even use the Letter Writing Tool [bclary.com] to write and send a nifty letter to website administrators who haven't yet seen the light. Obviously the site is geared to getting things to work properly in Mozilla, but the fact is, things tend to work in Mozilla if they are standards compliant.

  • Pet peeve? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Monday July 08, 2002 @03:50PM (#3844736) Journal
    Fix the page widening bug in slashdot then get back to us about not creating cross-browser compliant sites.
  • We had a supplier... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arfy (236686) on Monday July 08, 2002 @04:31PM (#3845012)
    We had a supplier who switched from Apache on some flavor of UNIX to IIS /SQL Server on at least two WinNT boxes. BIG mistake, whoever did the work for them set it up so that Netscape browsers were denied online transactions.

    We gave them a few months to try and fix it, meantime we phoned in our orders but we weren't going to switch to IE internally. Their IT head was stubborn and the business owner bought the marketing line about how much money he'd save. I'm sure it wasn't the only factor but they're gone now. I spoke to one of their workers who bailed to another company and he told me that they'd lost more customers than just us over the Apache-to-IIS conversion and general unworthiness of the new system and that the client loss plus absorbing the costs of the upgrade and running maintenance costs of a system that never worked as well as the old one took the company down.

    All this so the CEO could have a pretty GUI to look at instead of a character-based terminal! Somebody should've bought him a Mac, put pretty pictures on it and told him they reflected some sort of reality and to leave the IT work to the pros.

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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