Web dev: do we need to raise the bar?

  • web • proprietary • monopoly • prefix • html • webkit • xhtml • specs • css
  • 387 words

Articles like this one and initiatives like "pre-fix the Web", aim to highlight to web-developers how important is to build a cross-browser web. The importance of such a point has been explained in so many places, there is no point in me saying anymore. People like Tim Huegdon can give you a far better lesson on this.

But if you are after a "one sentence to blame them all":

If you write a website caring only to test it on WebKit based browser (worse, only your iPhone!!!), you are a MORON.

Recently I happened to re-read the "How Browsers Work: Behind the scenes of modern web browsers" and precisely the section about the forgiving HTML Parser. I ask myself: why did we (the web people) cheer at HTML5 and killed XHTML2, if not for the forgiveness? Didn't we do this to "lower the bar", to allow "your young cousin to write website for his dad's business"?

We do spend LOADS of time pushing our self and colleagues to adopt best practice, validate code and so forth (and that is great!). Why do we fail to make the logic step of thinking:

The guy that I swear at for using -webkit-* only prefixes, is the same guy that uses/abuses the HTML parser!

On one side we help, and sometimes even endorse stupid people, because we want the web to be accessible (I guess) to young and non-experienced (more content on the web == better web ???). But when they use it to do proprietary shit, things we would have not expected or hoped for, then we go on berserk (I'm the first to do it!) and start talking like grandpas recalling Vietnam when their nephew Is preparing to leave for Iraq:

... It's Internet Explorer monopoly all over again! ... Stop WebKit from taking over the web! ...

A question: what about enforcing HTML parser to be less forgiving? What about a shame-banner built in the browser appearing on the top of the viewport, saying:

This site is shite! Who made this is a moron!

I'm only half joking: either we want stupid people writing bad websites, or we don't. Either we want an easy to access, low-bar web, or we want a web of experts, computer scientists even, that know what-the-fuck they are doing.

What's your take?

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