When good browsers go bad -- and they all do

Better browsers. Better standards. Better tools. So why are Web pages still breaking?

It did this for cross-browser compatibility, "despite breaking the JavaScript spec," Lawson explained. Opera changed it, breaking the spec in version 9.5, because, Lawson says, "Mozilla and Apple got it wrong and it was breaking many pages -- mostly airline calendar widgets.

"In some cases, we supported the IE technology that the compatibility [layer] worked around but didn't support the Mozilla properties, so we had to force the site to give us the original IE code for that functionality. This is clearly not the best way to develop cross-browser Web sites."

No browser today is 100 percent standards-compliant, says Meyer. "I don't think they ever can be. But they're certainly much, much closer than they used to be."

Tooling up for standards

Offering developers good tools that produce clean, standards-compliant code is critical to having an interoperable, standards-compliant Web. "Tools like Dreamweaver have made tremendous strides forward in standards support," says Derek Featherstone, group lead for the Web Standards Project. This advocacy group is best known for the Acid3 Browser Test, which checks browsers for standards compliance.

Meyers agrees that the improvement has been dramatic. "You really have to work to make them not produce standards-oriented markup and CSS now," he says.

But Web authoring tools are just one piece of the puzzle. Other sources of Web output -- such as Microsoft Word, with its ability to save a document as a Web page, and the default page templates used by many content management systems -- aren't always up to snuff.

"You have many automated tools -- wikis, content management systems -- that produce millions of pages every day. We need to make sure all of those tools provide valid markup," says Le Hegaret. While some tools do a good job -- and some even link to the W3C's HTML validator -- overall "we still have less support in authoring tools than we'd like," he says.

Educating the masses

You can have complete, unambiguous standards in place, fully compliant browsers and state-of-the-art authoring tools that generate compliant code, but nothing will change until Web site developers change their behavior. "There are lots of people who just slap code together until it works," says Meyer. But how do you get the world's Web developers -- and the more than 20 billion Web pages they've created -- up to speed?

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags web browsers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert L. Mitchell

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?