This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Browser discrepancies, arghh!

Why oh why do browsers from different vendors (Internet Exlorer, Firefox, Chrome etc) STILL have problems agreeing on the correct way to display a web page and correctly interpret javascript?

The World Wide Web Consortium has been around for 15 years now and defines the standards required for web developers to follow (which I must say I attempt to do very carefully) only to find that most browsers out there don't (or even worse have their own interpretation of them).

The problem here is the W3C leaves it up to the software manufacturers in order to become 'compliant', which doesn't mean much, as there are different standards of compliance, huh?

Microsoft's latest version of Internet Explorer claims it is "standards compliant" and has been riled all over the internet forums for breaking existing websites. Which I think is a very positive move as now these websites must also begin to follow standards or start losing traffic.

I think the only way this can be tackled would a scheme which checks new web browser software prior to market for compliance, and only if it passes 100% of tests can it legally be called a browser. Such a scheme could work in the same way that SSL certificates are issued, and would work something like this:
  • Software is submitted to an independent authority which performs tests on the browser for compliance with current standards
  • Following a successful result a certificate is issued based on a signature of the software, and is unique to that software
  • In order resolve domain names this certificate must be included in DNS requests, failure of which would mean the request is ignored
Assuming this is possible would mean that non-compliant browsers would be less convenient to use for end users (who wants to type in IPs each time they want to visit a page?) and would result in loss of custom, forcing them elsewhere.

On a side note the latest version of outlook express actually uses the Word (yes Word) to render embedded HTML, surely this is a joke Microsoft?

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