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W3C's Role In the Growth of a Proprietary Web

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the slow-even-for-standards dept.

Software 228

Paul Ellis writes "Mozilla's Asa Dotzler has said 'It's really hard for me to believe that either [Microsoft or Adobe] have the free and open Web at heart when they're actively subverting it with closed technologies like Flash and Silverlight.' But are they really subverting it? Where is the line between serving the consumer and subverting the Web? This blog post makes the case that the W3C's glacial process should share in the blame for the growth of proprietary technologies."

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228 comments

Please (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103519)

Just keep in mind, there's nothing stopping web developers from using straight HTML, CSS, JPG, PNG and GIF for basic animation. If you need media, you can embed an mpeg or a simple wav file. If you need processing, you can do it as CGI/server-side, at the same time ensuring 100% browser compatibility and avoiding the hijacking the web-client's CPU. Don't blame Adobe or MS or Sun for providing closed or deeply complicated, uncontrollable technologies; blame yourself for using them.

Flash no more "subverts" the web than Photoshop "subverts" image processing, or the GPL subverts how software is published. You want to use these things, that's your choice. There are other options available that are just as useful, and in some cases, more so.

Agree, but... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24103629)

I agree that this article is complete flamebait. SVG is largely usable RIGHT NOW but MSIE have chosen not to adopt it for obvious commercial reasons. It could of course easily be fixed (perhaps the best practical way to do it is for governments to implement and enforce online accessibility legislation which would automatically force major sites to code to standards).

However, the article is completely right in denigrating the remarks of Asa Dotzler. IMHO he is completely overrated as a member of the Mozilla community. He was head of QA at the time of the appalling security REGRESSION in FF 1.0.4. He spends all his blog-time denigrating Opera and Safari instead of getting on with QA. He categorically denied the memory leaks in FF2 regardless of the evidence. It's fine to engage in advocacy but if you want to start being snide to opponents on technical grounds you should really be backed up with solid technical credentials instead of hot air. Fortunately he is no longer really engaged with the QA side of things, and is just a 'professional loudmouth'. PRO TIP: He is listed on feedhouse.mozillazine.org but not on planet.mozilla.org; the signal/noise ratio improves markedly if you subscribe to the latter Mozilla aggregator instead of the former.

Re:Agree, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24103841)

The government already fucks up everything it touches. We as freedom lovers don't need it involved in the Internet too, not more than it may already be.

Re:Agree, but... (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104071)

The government already fucks up everything it touches.

Yes, the colossal failure of TCP/IP is one clear example.

Re:Agree, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104143)

SVG is really not an adequate replacement for most uses of Flash (animation, multimedia). And even if it was, there's no tools at anywhere near the level of the Flash designer.

Although I agree with you about Dotzler, he seems like more of a community relations type (astroturfer) than a technical person.

Re:Please (4, Insightful)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103631)

Although I agree with you, no one is forced into using these technologies, look at the way the Internet is today. Many sites employ IE specific bugs to render and end up being displayed wrong or not at all in other browsers that are fully standards-compliant. "Force"-feeding people with this proprietary and often crappy technologies tends to bind people to these technologies in the long run and slow down improvement therefore diminishing quality.

Re:Please (5, Interesting)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103961)

But don't you see this (coding for IE) as a separate issue (from Flash/Silverlight/PDF)?

I'm totally ticked off whenever I try to open a site that has IE-bug hacks that won't display in FF, or on my iPhone, or Mac. I generally try not to re-visit those sites... but it stinks because there's information out there that would be useful to me that I can't access because it's tied up in some odd display scheme that renders images over the text. (Yes, for really interesting things I could look at the page source, but manually ignoring HTML tags is a crappy way to parse information)

This is because I expect a "normal" page to render in a browser-agnostic way. (OK, "expect" is too strong, because I've been around a while now. But that's the way it SHOULD be). For a basic HTML page, no matter how it's built on the back end, I expect to get something viewable.

I see the Flash/Silverlight/PDF issue as separate, because it's usually (over)used for stupid stuff like an on-line "catalog" where you can actually "flip" the pages (horrors! an IRL metaphor gone badly wrong on the Web) or to do games or something else that is (to me) trivial. I mean, I'm not expecting to be informed by pages that have a 30-second Flash intro...

But that's just me, and I do see how the two issues are related to the problem of "proprietary" stuff on the Web.

Re:Please (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104103)

I see them as related because just like IE-bug hacks weren't necessary to build sites, they were (ab)used and became a de-facto standard. Flash/Silverlight are many times not necessary and still (ab)used as to be nearing de-facto standard too. If Adobe pulls the plug on the Flash plugin for Linux or let it's version fall behind many sites will not display properly on Linux just like many don't display properly on Firefox (due to IE-bug hacks).

Re:Please (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104265)

But don't you see this (coding for IE) as a separate issue (from Flash/Silverlight/PDF)?

Well sort of. I've been guilty of building "IE Only" sites in the distant past. But when the choice was either use DHTML/AJAX with the only browser that had decent support for it at the time, versus Java or Flash, it wasn't necessarily a bad decision. (For the record, these were intranet sites.)

Re:Please (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104287)

Well... that's all well and good, unless the stupid stuff is all the web site provides--and with MS's ability to leverage its monopooly to make sure the majority of people have Silverlight (or whatever proprietary thing they want to force on the world), the temptation to only do the proprietary version is strong.

Check out the new page for weather at www.kcci.com (the Des Moines, IA CBS affiliate). Unless you have Silverlight, it's useless.

Re:Please (2, Informative)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104313)

A few years ago I had a girlfriend (yes I know this is Slashdot) and she was blind. Her biggest complaint was that her reader was completely useless when presented with a site that used Flash for its navigation system. Looking around now I'm sure that matters have become even worse. Flash and Silverlight may have roles in the presentation of data, anything that proprietary and closed should never be used to create the core of a site.

Re:Please (3, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104523)

A few years ago I had a girlfriend (yes I know this is Slashdot) and she was blind. Her biggest complaint was that her reader was completely useless when presented with a site that used Flash for its navigation system. Looking around now I'm sure that matters have become even worse.

Flash accessibility has improved significantly in the past few years. However that doesn't mean that Flash designers always avail themselves of this technology. I suspect the type of designer who would happily use Flash for navigation is the type of designer who is unaware blind people use computers at all.

Re:Please (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104941)

closed source has nothing to do with it, moron. the best designed technologies can still be gimped up with poor implementation. i guess retards like you wouldn't know anything about that though. would ya?

Re:Please (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103693)

Just keep in mind, there's nothing stopping web developers from using straight HTML, CSS, JPG, PNG and GIF for basic animation.

The key word there is BASIC. Complex animations, applications, and games are where Flash excels. Web Browsers did not provide sufficient facilities until recently. And only then because the browser makers got fed up with the W3C's stance that HTML did not need to be updated, and ended up doing an end run [whatwg.org] around their process. In result, most web browsers (except IE, surprise, surprise) support APIs for complex animations. They are also adding support for long term storage, sophisticated networking, predictable parsing, and other features that will greatly aid web developers.

This minor coup has not gone unnoticed by the W3C. In order to maintain the coherency of their organization, they went ahead and accepted HTML 5 [w3.org] as a working draft. The specification is getting top priority and is being handled in an open manner that is most unlike the W3C's business as usual. In other words, a win for both browser and web app developers. :-)

Re:Please (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104973)

I think there are two different issues being talked about here. The first is, "Has W3C done a good job of maintaining and developing standards?" I'm very open to the idea that they could have done better. I've dealt with HTML and CSS enough to have a long wishlist.

The second question, very roughly, is "What's the deal with Flash/Silverlight?" Are they good? Bad? Helpful? Troublesome? I can see how people are trying to connect these two issues, but they really are separate.

If you just want to say that Microsoft and Macromedia/Adobe developed these formats and technologies because HTML/CSS/Javascript weren't good enough, that may be an interesting historical analysis. However, it doesn't address the question as to why these technologies and formats are closed/proprietary. Macromedia/Adobe, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, and everyone else could have joined together to develop and promote web standards other than those run by the W3C (like WHATWG). Hell, they could even develop technologies and formats to serve their purposes, and then open those formats in a way that allows other developers to create their own implementations (like what Adobe essentially did with PDF).

However, they've chosen to keep it all proprietary, and the intent is pretty clear: vendor lock-in. They want you to use their tools for development, their tools for display. In Microsoft's case, it has the added extra bonus that, if their format becomes popular enough, they can drop support for other operating systems and lock everyone into their platform.

And when you get down to it, these technologies don't really address a really great need. I've only seen a couple of good uses for Flash other than for casual games. For most of the content available on the web, HTML and CSS (flawed as they are) are better solutions.

Re:Please (1, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24105031)

And the reason why a website needs to have complex animations or applications is...

That's the sound of silence. There is absolutely no reason that the web should be turned into an application deployment platform, and doing so completely undermines the purpose and nature of the web. The reason that search engines work is that websites, as created with HTML, can easily be indexed and understood by computers. Hypertext is about linking documents -- DOCUMENTS -- together. Things like forms make sense in that context: a form is a document, right? CSS makes sense too: it formats documents. Documents sometimes have images in them; PNG or SVG make sense for that.

Now, where does Flash fit into that? Flash is an application runtime environment, and is really good for multimedia programs. Why would you ever want to embed an program in a document? An program is neither a document nor a part of a document. It doesn't make sense from the hypertext perspective, and that creates glaring problems. When a website is created using Flash, or Silverlight, or Java, or any other application runtime embedded in it, it becomes impossible to index, links stop making sense, sometimes the "back" button doesn't take you to the previous view of the application, sometimes it does, etc. It would make more sense if your Flash website had a hyperlink to a Flash program, which would be opened by the runtime in a separate window -- without a back button, a forward button, or an "up" button (as some browsers have), without the confusing and paradigm breaking nature of embedding applets.

Re:Please (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103713)

MS do stop web developers from using straight CSS. There are so many basic layout features that are not implemented or buggy that I understand why some developers go down the propitiatory route for the sake of a consistent look. And it wasn't that long ago when IE still couldn't display a PNG with an alpha channel.

70-75% of web users can't be wrong.

Re:Please (3, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104085)

Propitiatory is what Jesus' sacrifice was for mankind (completely and exactly covered -- in this case, our sins).

Proprietary is when something is specific to a given entity - not open, not shared, exclusively owned by something.

Please Yourself (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103871)

Just keep in mind, there's nothing stopping web developers from using straight HTML, CSS, JPG, PNG and GIF for basic animation.

And what if they want something fancier than "basic animation"?

Flash no more "subverts" the web than Photoshop "subverts" image processing,

Apples and oranges. Images created in Photoshop don't need any special software to view. Content created in Flash does.

... or the GPL subverts how software is published.

On the contrary, GPL is meant to subvert proprietary software publishing. The difference is that the subversion is deliberate, and meant to open things up, as opposed to the closing off that Flash, which shuts things off, but only as a kind of side effect.

This is rather an old story. Back in 1995, back when Netscape was the biggest operator in a competitive browser market, they took a lot of flack for introducing non-standard features into HTML. And they didn't do it to "close off the market", they did it because they wanted to create web applications that weren't supported by existing standards, and weren't going to wait for W3C to bring the standards up to date.

Then we went through the whole thing all over with Microsoft and Internet Explorer. And because MS really was trying to control the marketplace, everybody ignored the role W3C was playing. And still plays.

Re:Please Yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104629)

And what if they want something fancier than "basic animation"?

Hold on just a second here. I thought the promise of open source was the ability to simply go out and build something and not let one entity hold the goods under it's own thumb. So what has happened to the cawing from the open source soothsayers about stuff like Flash going the way of the dodo?

If the fundamentals of open source are true from the way they have been preached to me, what's gone wrong? Where is the open source version of Flash or SilverLight? Or how about *gasp!* even their own standard to overthrow the other two? After all, according to the OSS mouthpieces around here both Flash and SilverLight is crap. Why hasn't something better been built by the minds who proclaim that the light at the end of the tunnel is OSS?

I love open source about as much as I love closed source anymore. Open sourcers have just become a throng of whiners crying about how Adobe and Microsoft have destroyed the dreams of open source because they've produced a product people want to use over the free alternatives. If you guys really have a better game than why don't you play it instead of crying about it being unfair?

Then we went through the whole thing all over with Microsoft and Internet Explorer. And because MS really was trying to control the marketplace, everybody ignored the role W3C was playing. And still plays.

Oh my. So when Netscape did it they did it with best intentions in mind to spur web innovation but when MS does the same it's because they want to control the market place? Get real. These kinds of arguments are getting old fast. Certainly a lot faster than the open source community has held up to it's promises of a bright future for open and free software.

There's nothing out there stopping this development from happening. Well, nothing except for hollow promises backed up with nonsense excuses from the same people who claimed they weren't chained down by closed software.

Re:Please (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103965)

Don't blame Adobe or MS or Sun for providing closed or deeply complicated, uncontrollable technologies; blame yourself for using them.

But I don't use them and never did. My sites were all 100% HTML/Javascript/JPG/GIF. When Dopey Smurf decided to close his Quake site after graduating from medical school, I sent him a box of invisible rats as a going away present. Rats were his bane in med school; one supposedly dead rat came alive and bit him as he was dissecting it. His parting site mentioned the invisible rats and a link with "whatever you do DON'T click this link! PLEASE don't click this link!" When the surfer clicked the link, the invisible rats ate his web site.

Actually it took the surfer to my site, where a an animated GIF of his site being eaten by invisible rats ran.

I had a music clip start playing when the surfer hit my site, with dancing Stroggs. If you held your mouse over one of the stroggs, Sonic the Hedgehog ran past with the Strogg trying to stomp him and succeeding on the second try. All this was done with .wav files, .gif files and javascript.

This was all before the year 2000. I did all the "web 2.0" stuff ten years ago. Without flash or even CSS.

No, I don't blame Adobe or Sun or Microsoft (whose Silverlight has yet to subvert anything whatever), I blame clueless, lazy webmasters who can't make a web page by hand because they don't even know HTML. And I avoid their sites if possible.

Speaking of CSS, I blame Microsoft for the ad covering the top story on the front page of slashdot in IE because their browser won't do standards, but I also blame the site's authors.

Audio compression and synchronization? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104167)

I had a music clip start playing when the surfer hit my site, with dancing Stroggs. If you held your mouse over one of the stroggs, Sonic the Hedgehog ran past with the Strogg trying to stomp him and succeeding on the second try. All this was done with .wav files, .gif files and javascript.

Which codec did you use for the WAVE audio? And how did you synchronize it to the GIF animation?

I blame Microsoft for the ad covering the top story on the front page of slashdot in IE because their browser won't do standards, but I also blame the site's authors.

Not everybody can afford to test in every possible environment. At what size of web site would you consider forcing the web site's operator to purchase at least three workstations, including one that runs Windows and one that runs Mac OS X?

Re:Audio compression and synchronization? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104247)

At what size of web site would you consider forcing the web site's operator to purchase at least three workstations, including one that runs Windows and one that runs Mac OS X?

That argument disappeared with the introduction of x86 Macs. Buy an x86 Mac and you can test in every major browser on every major platform. And what's the third workstation for?

Re:Audio compression and synchronization? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104677)

That argument disappeared with the introduction of x86 Macs.

But it still means that every operator of a web site over a given size needs to buy a Macintosh computer, enough RAM to run three operating systems at once, a copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac, and a copy of Windows Vista in order to test the web site in all three major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). At what audience size should a webmaster converting his hobby site to a professional site add an iMac to his home network?

Re:Audio compression and synchronization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104965)

one Winbox with IE6, one Winbox with IE7?

Re:Please (2, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104021)

IE has actually provided several critical technologies which have expanded and improved the capabilities of the environment, including XMLHttpRequest without which interactive apps today would be rather difficult. If anything these technologies have actually helped grab back some ground from flash for the browser. Now, if w3c does not recognise these valuable and very important APIs, thats the w3c's problem! Stop blaming Microsoft for taking initiative and implementing features that are badly needed because W3C is too stupid and slow. If w3c doesnt implement these features it only has itself to blame! There is NOTHING stopping w3c from including these APIs in its standards, and they are so useful there is no reason not to. I am actually not an admirer of IE due to its closed source nature, I use firefox, but without a doubt, IE has made several improvements that have been picked up by firefox that really have expanded the versatility of the web tremendously and that without them we would not be seeing todays interactive web apps. w3c is too slow and it is too ignorant of the importance in providing highly flexible mechanism that gives as much control and capability as possible to the web developer. So limiting oneself to the w3c standards would greatly damage and limit your apps capabilities.

wav is not so simple; neither is sync (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104093)

there's nothing stopping web developers from using straight HTML, CSS, JPG, PNG and GIF for basic animation.

What should I use for vector animation? Windows Internet Explorer still doesn't work well with SVG+JS.

If you need media, you can embed an mpeg or a simple wav file.

Like AVI, WAVE is a container that can wrap any of several audio codecs, including MP3. Which codecs more sophisticated than straight PCM are supported in most web browsers? And how can I indicate to the majority of web browsers how a particular MPEG-1 file or WAVE file should be synchronized to JavaScript-mediated animation? I don't know of any web browsers that are compatible with SMIL.

Re:Please (1)

fortyonejb (1116789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104315)

Wish I had some mod points. Well said! I still can't see why flash and silverlight are so horrible anyway. Both have relatively low barriers of entry, are "mostly" browser independent, and do the job. Neither of which are incredibly bloated, and in flash's case, its use keeps us from having to download 101 proprietary movie viewers for youtube and its ilk. I even support silverlight as I never like having only one option to achieve something. I also can't see how these these technologies are subverting anything.

Pff, bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104603)

Photoshop exports to standard formats like PNG. Flash doesn't.

Re:Please (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104643)

If you need media, you can embed an mpeg or a simple wav file

The flash video player was central to youtube's success. Embedded mpeg sucks.

oh please (1, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103627)

The web without all this proprietary stuff would be so boring it would be unreal.

I really don't care who owns flash. All I care about is, can I watch it online and can I make my own content with it and own it. Thats yes and yes.

Problem solved.

As for W3C? They're out of date. They mutter about major players not using their standards, but the simple fact is, their version moves too slow. If we did things their way we'd have perfectly rendering web pages all the time, but the content they hosted would be so dull most consumers wouldn't be interested.

That's evident by the fact that not one of the major websites out there that I can think of (facebook, google, microsoft, and even the bbc to name a few) are fully W3C compliant. Add to this that barely anyone who clicks in gives a damn about this, and you have your answer.

Own it..? (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103709)

Who really owns something that you make in Flash? Just as when you write a document in Word, when you compose in a proprietary format, you hand the keys over to the vendor. You, and anybody who wants to view or edit what you've created, have to go through the One Software Company. And that's permanent; whatever DRM or platform decisions the company makes in the future will bind you as well.

Re:Own it..? (0)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103845)

You own the rights to anything you create. What medium its in is unimportant.

The whole argument of the company who creates the format controlling your work is nonsense. Does Kodak control every colour picture ever taken with their film? Do Microsoft control every document written using their software, or every program written with C#?

Nope, and they never can. To say otherwise is paranoid blathering, seriously.

Format obsolescence is a problem, to be sure, but t'was ever thus. The best defence with digital media is to get your monies worth from the content, then archive it along with an application capable of opening it. Anyone who doesn't do this already is a fool.

I don't even trust these 'open formats' just yet. Lets see what they're like in ten years, shall we?

Software rental (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104353)

The best defence with digital media is to get your monies worth from the content, then archive it along with an application capable of opening it.

Some companies provide software as a service. If you stop paying for the privilege of using the software during any given period, you lose that privilege. Case in point: Microsoft has disclosed [slashdot.org] that it plans to offer Microsoft Office software under such conditions. If you were to create a project using a rented tool, how would you "archive [...] an application capable of opening" your editable project? Besides, how would you archive the operating system on which the editor runs, as well as the hardware on which the operating system and editor run?

Re:Own it..? (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104029)

"Who really owns something that you make in Flash?"
You do.
"Just as when you write a document in Word,"
Yep still you
"when you compose in a proprietary format, you hand the keys over to the vendor."
Gnash for Flash and save as RTF for Word.

"You, and anybody who wants to view or edit what you've created, have to go through the One Software Company."
Umm no. At least not when it comes to Word.
I am no fan of flash but grand sweeping false statements make my feet itch.
Macromedia has documented FLASH and gnu is producing a flash player.
RTF works at least a bit for document exchange.

Re:Own it..? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104555)

Umm no. At least not when it comes to Word.
I am no fan of flash but grand sweeping false statements make my feet itch.

Dude, I'm pretty sure that isn't sweeping statements. There are these powders you can buy....

If I see a website that requires a Flash plugin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104111)

I move along and therefore I don't see your content.

I refuse to purchase more bandwidth just because a few folks insist on using Flash and other piggish content.

I seriously doubt I'm missing anything other than larger ISP bills.

Re:oh please (1)

Luke_22 (1296823) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104197)

They mutter about major players not using their standards, but the simple fact is, their version moves too slow
yes, becouse everyone knows that all browsers fully supported xhtml the day after they finally released it.

uh...wait...

If we did things their way we'd have perfectly rendering web pages all the time, but the content they hosted would be so dull most consumers wouldn't be interested.
I dont think you're really familiar with xhtml... why would adding something like flash make your page not-compliant?

maan, you even got modded "interesting"!
That's evident by the fact that not one of the major websites out there that I can think of (facebook, google, microsoft, and even the bbc to name a few) are fully W3C compliant uh... wikipedia?
anyway, that's becouse the browsers had to get so dam good at understanding what the page-writer was thinking, that now you can't see differences.
Add to this that barely anyone who clicks in gives a damn about this, and you have your answer.
yeah, sure. becouse explorer, firefox, opera and everything else have always displayed web pages the same way. riiiight.proprietary stuff brought new nice things, but also lots of problems.

Entry barriers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104397)

I really don't care who owns flash. All I care about is, can I watch it online and can I make my own content with it and own it. Thats yes and yes.

Not everybody has $700 for Flash. Relying on proprietary formats raises the entry barrier for people who want to learn a technology but do not qualify for academic pricing because they have already completed their formal schooling.

Re:Entry barriers (1)

mb0 (1168691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104939)

A big chunk of flexSDK was opened. You could download it and start compiling swfs right now. There are also open source editors for ActionScript 2, 3 and Mxml.

Re:oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104493)

Please DIE! Your post is hands down the most ignorant uninformed crap I have ever heard. It's also arrogant.

If you want to be amused go watch TV. I don't give a fuck if you think the web is boring. For many people it's about information exchange. They rely on non-proprietary standards to insure the transmission of data.

There have to be standards! Lets say Adobe says fuck http let's make our own, then where would we be? Microsoft would surely come along and decide http and attp don't do X let's make mttp, then where would we be? Remember gopher?

If you disregard web standards you are alienating blind users and others with handicaps. You're also alienating people in third world countries that can't afford computers that do fancy proprietary crap. The list goes on.

You're an idiot.

Okay mods, do your worst! After all, I deserve it. Right? Isn't this flamebait? Or is it a troll? I guess I'll find out soon.

Re:oh please (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104533)

If we did things their way we'd have perfectly rendering web pages all the time, but the content they hosted would be so dull most consumers wouldn't be interested.

That's evident by the fact that not one of the major websites out there that I can think of (facebook, google, microsoft, and even the bbc to name a few) are fully W3C compliant.

Well, there are a couple things about "compliance" to consider. First, because browsers don't always implement the standards fully or properly, you might have to use hacks to get everything to display properly in all browsers. Current web designers have to know browsers' bugs as much as the standards, so many web pages can't comply with the standards and render properly at the same time. That doesn't mean the standards are at fault. The inability to follow standards on the web is largely traceable to a single company which refuses to make a compliant browser.

But also, the real issue of standards is not to force everything into compliance at all times. It's to give a standard way of doing things so that people can expect certain things to be consistent. The point of web standards is so that I, as a developer, can write a web page in accordance with a set of rules, and then have a reasonable expectation that the page will display properly. It makes it so I shouldn't really have to worry about what browser the end-user has installed, because they should all display the page (roughly) the same way. If you wish to violate the standards for some purpose, that's fine, but then you should familiarize yourself with how that violation will effect various platforms. But, in fact, there are even standards about how formats should handle violations of the standard, and so even the violation may be... well... according to the standard.

But none of this explains to me why the standards would make the *content* of web pages "dull". If the content is interesting, the web wouldn't generally be dull. Relying on presentation to make your content exciting doesn't speak well for your content, and on the Internet, content is king.

If anything, it seems like the Internet wouldn't exist as it does today if the HTML standard hadn't been so simple and open. It allowed anyone with half a brain to make webpages and display their content. The ease with which individuals can create content is essential for the P2P "community" nature of the web. If not for that, it would be like TV-- pushed from big companies who have the resources and expertise to make it work. Even expecting someone to buy expensive software (e.g. Adobe Flash) in order to develop content would hurt the web immensely. The barrier of entry is much lower when the only necessary equipment for making content is a text editor.

Re:oh please (2, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104807)

The web without all this proprietary stuff would be so boring it would be unreal.

Really? Why. The vast majority of what Flash can do is standardized in SVG, SMIL and many other standards that Adobe and Microsoft studiously ignore. What do you do on the Web that is so exciting that it cannot be accomplished with SVG and SMIL? Of course there are things that Flash can do but SVG cannot and vice versa. But in general, all of the major Web app categories would be served just fine with SVG et. al.

The W3C? Glacial? (5, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103683)

It always amazes me when people call the W3C slow. As a web developer, there is one main thing holding me back. That is Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 8 is not yet released. When it is, it is likely that it will finally include support for CSS 2. This is one of the most fundamental parts of a modern web browser, and this specification was published over ten years ago.

The rise of JavaScript libraries like jQuery, Prototype, etc, was largely precipitated by the lack of support for DOM 2 Events in Internet Explorer. That specification was published in the year 2000.

The main draw for Flash has traditionally been the ability to use vector graphics. The alternative provided by the W3C, which is SVG, was first published in 2001.

The article complains that the last XHTML/HTML recommendation the W3C published was in 2001, seven years ago. What it neglects to mention is that even the next version of Internet Explorer, version 8, will not include any support at all for XHTML 1.0, let alone 1.1.

Can the W3C work faster? Probably. But how fast the W3C works is irrelevant, as they are not the bottleneck. The bottleneck is the rate of development in browsers, and one browser in particular, Internet Explorer. And it just so happens that the proprietary alternative of Silverlight is something developed and owned by the same company.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (5, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103829)

Right on the mark.

SVG in particular is a sore topic for me. Half a decade ago I had an article in MSDN magazine [microsoft.com] (I considered the odds slim when I proposed it, and was startled when they ok'd it), yet that gorgeous vector technology still isn't realistically usable on the open web today, which is a bit of a travesty. Adobe's purchase of Macromedia pretty much sealed it as a fringe technology, given that Adobe was the one big proponent of SVG.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103883)

True, SVG should be a standard available on all browsers, but only FF supports it. Such a pity.

Perhaps we could do with OpenGL on the web instead. If we can now run C apps in the browser (:) ) then surely it'd be really easy to get going. Then you'd get some developers jumping ship and a whole new range of interactive web-based applications.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104027)

True, SVG should be a standard available on all browsers, but only FF supports it.

Opera, Safari and Konqueror support SVG too. Internet Explorer is the only major browser that doesn't.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (0)

figleaf (672550) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103873)

CSS2 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104109)

CSS2 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

This is simply not true. The CSS 2 recommendation was published on the 12th of May 1998 [w3.org].

You may be thinking of CSS 2.1 [w3.org], which is a candidate recommendation. What this means is that it is ready to be implemented. In order for it to reach final recommendation status, there needs to be at least two interoperable implementations for every feature. To achieve that, browser vendors need to go ahead and implement it.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (2, Informative)

quinks (1172373) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104139)

CSS3 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104335)

CSS 3 is a family of specifications [w3.org], not a single specification. Some of those too are at candidate recommendation stage, ready for implementing, just like CSS 2.1.

In any case, what's your point? I mentioned CSS 2 because it was published by the W3C a decade ago and its features are still not available to most web developers because Internet Explorer doesn't support it. How is the fact that the W3C carried on and started working on CSS 3 relevant? It still means the bottleneck is Internet Explorer, miles behind the "glacial" W3C.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104379)

Their bolding of the 3 was an indication that they were correcting figleaf, not you. Bizarre that figleaf has gotten upmods for such an incorrect "correction".

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (4, Funny)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104705)

CSS4 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS5 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS6 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS7 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS8 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS9 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS10 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

CSS11 is still in the works. The final version has still not been published.

This is a large paragraph full of useless text to get around Slashdot's annoying "characters per line" filter. It is generously padded with long lines of text to increase the average line length significantly over it's originally puny value of 19.0. Ideally, this paragraph will let me post the above comment. I certainly don't recommend reading all this, since it is intended entirely as filler content, like the other nine songs on a pop CD. This is fluff, like the fluff that drifts from the cottonwood trees, or spewed from major news organizations like so many soggy white drifts from an industrial snowblower. Really, I'm losing my mind writing this. Ok, lets try now! Nope, still not good enough. Right now I'm at 25.7. I'm really not sure where the cutoff is, so I'll just keep going. I gotta tell you, I honestly don't think the film rights to this whole saga are gonna be worth much: didn't Dumb and Dumberer tank? Seriously, SCO should move to California where things are already so far off their rocker that even McBride would fit in. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish...A chicken farmer went out, one dark and windy day. He rested by the coop, as he went along his way. When all at once a rotten egg, hit him in the eye. It was the site he dreaded...ghost chickens in the sky. Ok, maybe that's enough drivel. I'll try posting again.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (2, Interesting)

joekrahn (544037) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104041)

So, I think the conclusion is that Microsoft extensions should be avoided and that the web developer community should demand standards compliance, and just require users to install Firefox until MSIE is no longer broken and useless.

However, proprietary extensions from other companies like Adobe seem perfectly fine to use. The problem comes when the OS, browser and extensions are all from one company.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (1)

a_claudiu (814111) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104697)

Maybe they worked fast but in the wrong direction. They focused on display without enhancing the form components. I remember that 7 years ago I wanted to implement a simple combo box (select + edit new value) and had no choice. Now is still the same apart from libraries that are doing workarounds.

Even now looking at the "Web 2 revolution" they are still focusing on stylesheets for display instead of looking for standards for interaction with the users and comunication with the servers.

From what I'm seeing they will still keep the old "presentation only" focus instead of starting making a standard for web applications.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104925)

Maybe they worked fast but in the wrong direction. They focused on display without enhancing the form components. I remember that 7 years ago I wanted to implement a simple combo box (select + edit new value) and had no choice. Now is still the same apart from libraries that are doing workarounds.

Even now looking at the "Web 2 revolution" they are still focusing on stylesheets for display instead of looking for standards for interaction with the users and comunication with the servers.

XForms 1.0 [w3.org], published by the W3C in 2003, includes this functionality, separates the data structure from the UI, and improves communication with the server. Good luck finding a browser that supports it though. Yet another case of the "glacial" W3C being blamed for browsers not keeping up with them.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104707)

Yeah? And how did the situtation get like that? W3C was so fast and complete they got out in front of all the web demand so that Microsoft didn't have to go inventing defacto standards out of whole cloth? When W3C comes up with a platform to deliver complicated interactive animations, applications and HD video, then you can start complaining about silverlight. The IE pain is the result of a brief period where there was no strong pressure for unified standards. Hard to blame MS entirely for the world we all lived in.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24105033)

And how did the situtation get like that?

Once Netscape's "air supply" had been cut off, Internet Explorer's job was done. Microsoft disbanded the Internet Explorer team, assigned the team members to different projects and discontinued development. Things remained that way for five years. That is why Internet Explorer is so far behind.

W3C was so fast and complete they got out in front of all the web demand so that Microsoft didn't have to go inventing defacto standards out of whole cloth?

Microsoft was a member of the W3C working groups that developed and published these specifications. You'll find numerous acknowledgements to their employees in the specifications.

Re:The W3C? Glacial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104955)

And then there's the fact that roughly 50% of the market browsing with Internet Explorer is still using an old version.

News report. [washingtonpost.com]
The Study. [techzoom.net]

The W3C has been burned, too... (5, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103691)

Don't forget that the W3C came up with a standard that included among other things a much better version of embedded images (the FIG tag), and even had a browser built demonstrating them (Arena), that demonstrated a clean browser-invariant mechanism for metadata, captions, and complex alternative content... and absolutely none of it was picked up by proprietary browsers. They were trying to specify stuff ahead of the implementations, and the implementers ignored them.

So now they're trying to coordinate things with the browser implementers, and what happens, they're going too slow?

Soooooooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24103701)

...does that mean that Flash menus are ok now?

WTF? ItÂs free (as in beer). (1, Insightful)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103737)

So if users actually _use_ it, why put the blame on Adobe?

Perhaps the fundamentalist notion that _everything_ must be free (as in speech) is just too extreme for, hmmmm, real people?

Erm... (1, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103835)

So if users actually _use_ it, why put the blame on Adobe?

Perhaps the fundamentalist notion that _everything_ must be free (as in speech) is just too extreme for, hmmmm, real people?

Here's an idea! Let's just assume that it'll always be zero-cost. Let's further assume that it'll always be available on any platform that anyone might like, rather than pushing people towards platforms that the vendor likes.

Now that that's out of the way, I can feel confident putting my content into this format, knowing that I, the content creator, <sarcasm>am in control</sarcasm>.

Re:Erm... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104155)

What is wrong with paying for software. You expect to be paid for your job. You are expected to pay for more basic things for life like Food, and Shelter. Why is it so bad to pay for software. Supply and demand will insure that prices will not go out of control especially with flash. If it goes to expensive cheaper alternatives will come out. Just having silverlight out there is making sure flash stays free for the viewer.

Re:Erm... (2, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104385)

I'm not talking about software, I'm talking about encoding my content in somebody else's format. Anybody's allowed to make whatever software they like to handle it in whatever way, and charge whatever amount, as long as the output is something I have the option of manipulating myself.

Here's your food and shelter analogy: if I'm eating a Wendy's hamburger when I write a book, my readers are not required to be eating a Wendy's hamburger when they read it. Similarly, if I'm writing in an apartment managed by XYZ company, reader's don't require a license from XYZ company.

Re:Erm... (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104341)

Here's an idea! Let's just assume that it'll always be zero-cost. Let's further assume that it'll always be available on any platform that anyone might like, rather than pushing people towards platforms that the vendor likes.

Now that that's out of the way, I can feel confident putting my content into this format, knowing that I, the content creator, am in control.

Let's not buy cars either. The government could decide at any time that we aren't allowed to drive them on roads anymore! I realize that's not the best analogy, but to me it's on a similar level of paranoia.

Be honest here: 99% of what gets put on the web is not anything that anyone will care about in 5-10 years. It is not the end of the world if someone can't see the video of you chugging Diet Coke and Mentos in ten years. There are a million things more important in the world to worry about than whether or not Adobe will take Flash away from in some kind of scheme too insane for a Bond villain.

Further: while that kind of web technology doesn't have open source guaranteeing its freedom, competition in the free market is a good enough guarantee, again, for most if not all purposes.

Re:Erm... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104417)

I have to point out that Microsoft has already tried many of these tactics to take over the Web entirely, and got frighteningly close.

Since when? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104749)

Since when are authoring tools for SWF vector animations free as in beer? And since when are operating systems on which to run SWF players free as in beer?

Flash over function (1)

capnchicken (664317) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103757)

... sells better to brainless consumers.

News at 11.

They both provide their own roles. I'd rather have standards done the right way then have a standard to be to push out shiny things done in a hurry before the next shiny thing comes out.

W3C is own worst enemy (1, Flamebait)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103761)

Being a web developer, what subverts the standard based web environment is the shoddy and inadequate, feature starved nature of the standards themselves. The standards often leave out some important and obvious capability that would make my life a lot eisier in designing web pages and applications. One example is the scrollbar controls in DOM, there was only a way to control the vertical scrollbar and a primitive one at that, but no way to control the horizontal one. There is also the deplorable situation where several essential features which have helped enhance the environment and make it more versatile and flexible, such as XMLHTTPRequest and InnerHTML are the various edit modes was not in the w3c specifications at all. There are also problems with the lack of any kind of dynamic font loading to use custom fonts in a web page. It almost seems the people who write the specifications do not actually use them in real world situations or the need for these would be more apparent. So w3c almost seems to be its own worst enemy when it comes to the brain damaged nature of the web programming environment.

Re:W3C is own worst enemy (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103941)

There are also problems with the lack of any kind of dynamic font loading to use custom fonts in a web page.

The W3C put font loading [w3.org] into the CSS 2 specification over a decade ago. The browser vendors ignored it until recently. Now, ten years later, the browser vendors are starting to implement it, and apparently this means the W3C moves too slowly?

Scrollbars? (0, Offtopic)

jwkfs (1260442) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104853)

Why does a webpage need to be able to screw with my scrollbar? Under what circumstance do I want the content that I'm viewing to be able to change how my viewer looks or behaves?

I'm visualizing horrible webpages that want to make my scrollbar bright pink and install 'comet cursor' on my machine...

W3C glacial process? (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103769)

I find it funny that someone (especially from Mozilla) blames the W3C for glacial process, when even Firefox 3 still doesn't have something as basic as box-shadow (with the "-moz" vendor prefix of course, since the spec is still a draft).

And Opera, which used to be the "latest" in W3C support (even draft), still doesn't support border-radius nor box-shadow in their latest version.

Like it or not, Safari is pushing W3C standards faster than Opera and Firefox combined.

As for Microsoft, they're still trying to kill the web in two ways: with extremely slow/buggy compliance with W3C standards and with proprietary crap like Silverlight.

Adobe has Flash and Air, which isn't really better except for the fact that at least they're trying to push their crap on many platforms, not only Windows.

Even Flash could be replaced on websites like YouTube if the browsers finally supported HTML 5's media tags.

Re:W3C glacial process? (1)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103989)

Actually if you really try you can find why Opera don't have border-radius yet (hint - there was some quirks about how separate corners should be made round, and when it was resolved it was kind of late, since 9.50 was about to go final). And it is implied that there will be support in future versions.

Re:W3C glacial process? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104047)

Well, I don't care why they don't support it (even with a vendor prefix), I just know that they don't. I did assume that they will support it in a later version, though. This is Opera, after all. I'm not expecting a delay of more than one or two minor versions before it supports it.

I must admit that I find it strange to see Safari 3 support both border-radius and box-shadow while Firefox 3 only has border-radius and Opera 9.5 has neither of them.

No workable free alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24103869)

I there was a clean non-crashing FOSS alternative ( a browser plug-in maybe ) to Flash and the 'upcoming' Silverlight that both pleases developers and users alike it would be more popular than the others. No doubt about it.

"Get Firefox" (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24103919)

Gonna post this as AC...

For as long as I go and load some websites with Opera or Safari and get a warning message about using an unsupported browser, along with a huge "Get Firefox!" banner (or even wrong rendering or JS errors due to stupid Gecko bugs - event capturing, anyone?), Mozilla employees have no business talking about a free/open web and subverting anything.

At least Flash and Silverlight sites are browser and platform-agnostic.

There's a lot of zealotry when it comes to browsers. However, not once have I seen a website that doesn't work properly in Firefox and tells people to download Opera or Safari. The opposite is true more than any reasonable person should like.

The success of Firefox was great for the web. However, I would personally rather have an IE-only website than a rabid Firefox-fanboy-webmaster telling me to fuck off because my standards-compliant browser of choice isn't the same as his. Bonus hilarity points for those sad individuals who think the browser is called FireFox.

Subverted by Silverlight ?!?! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103945)

is there anyone among us who has been subverted by Silverlight ? I'd rather be subverted by my living room light bulb than Silverlight.

Subvert? (3, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103991)

Oh whatever. If you want to do everything in the kludgy, poorly-crafted alphabet soup hodge-podge of W3C standards, be my guest. Silverlight is too new to say, but the success of Flash is evidence of the failure of the open standards process to meet the needs of developers (and the businesses that employ them) in a timely fashion. Frankly, I suspect it will always be this way. The normal course of events is for private parties to develop new technologies and for standards committees to enshrine them in formal standards after the fact. Take for example C and C++ (or practically every other standardized programming language), which were standardized after they were successful languages. Having standards committees drive the process is the tail wagging the dog, and it's no wonder web technology is so far behind the curve that people get excited every time some feature as trivial as AJAX is added to browsers.

The fact of the matter is that it is still much harder to build a complex client-server application in a web browser than it is to use traditional desktop GUI tools. And given the pace of prior developments, the W3C isn't likely to change that while it still matters.

video (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#24103995)

Here is some perspective, HTML5 has finally added a tag for handling video. Flash 6 came out with video support in 2002!

HTML has had a tag for video, from the very beginning: anchor. <A HREF="blahblah.mpg">watch this video</A>

Re:video (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104189)

You're confusing a link to a video file with a video embedded directly into the webpage itself.

Re:video (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104337)

IE has supported <IMG SRC="blahblah.mpg"> for years.

The problem with video has to do more with vendors warring over proprietary codecs and trying to shove their spamware media players into everyone's face. I tend to give the W3C a pass on this one because specing out a tag ain't exactly complicated.

Re:video (3, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104435)

That's not really an alternative to Flash movies, which are usually embedded in a page rather than linked to. The alternative to Flash movies would be <object type="video/mpeg"> , which was introduced with HTML 4 in 1997.

Re:video (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104495)

Here is some perspective, HTML5 has finally added a tag for handling video. Flash 6 came out with video support in 2002!

HTML has had a tag for video, from the very beginning: anchor. <A HREF="blahblah.mpg">watch this video</A>

Not the same thing. That is just a link, that would open either a new web page, or fire off an external app. What about the embedded movie player as per flash? THAT is what is being referenced...and HTML still doesn't it.

Re:video (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104985)

HTML has had a tag for video, from the very beginning: anchor.

There are a few problems with using <a href="URI of video file">watch</a>.

First, no widely used specification recommends any specific Content-type for video that browsers SHOULD [ietf.org] support. W3C tried to specify Content-type: application/ogg, but Nokia bitched [slashdot.org]. So all your users will see is "Windows cannot open this file. To open this file, Windows needs to know what program created it. Windows can go online to look it up automatically, or you can manually select from a list of programs on your computer."

In your code example, you recommend ".mpg", which commonly represents MPEG-1 video with MPEG-1 layer 2 audio. This codec isn't as space-efficient as FLV, nor does it have the vector animation capability of SWF.

An anchor link to does not allow the end user to interact with the video other than by fast-forwarding or rewinding. Even interactions comparable to DVD menus, which are straightforward to implement in something like SWF, have no counterpart.

Finally, some people who publish their video on the web want some soft security [wikipedia.org] to deter people from downloading and redistributing videos and watching them out of context. SWF provides ways to obfuscate the FLV URL from casual users; <a href="URI of video file">watch</a> does not.

anyone remember vrml? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104053)

virtual reality markup language. didn't think so

a standards body should be slow, not out front, writing standards for things no one knows will be successful or not

in fact, the commercial players SHOULD get proprietary, aggresive technologies out there, seeking new markets. let them play and crash and burn

then, after something proves successful, the standards body plods along and picks it up and makes it canon

the idea that the standards body should get out front, leads to standards being written for things no one uses. the idea that commercial companies won't try to capitalize on owning the technology presumes that corporations are interested in not making money. let a company write nonstandard tech. its a gamble for them, and could hurt them. let them get hurt then, and make space for things like firefox

so the whole basis for the story here is preposterous: ok, we have different browsers and competing platforms and different standards and proprietary tech. big. fucking. deal. get your head out of your anal retentive ass and deal with it

oh it takes 10 hours to program a page that should take 10 minutes to program were everyone fascistically devoted to standards? well then you wouldn't have a job genius. you wouldn't be needed. the mess you have to deal with is proof you are needed. if it weren't messy, you'd be downsized and replaced by a perl script

people who whine and bitch and moan about standards and noncompliance are motivated by the same shrill cloying need as grammar nazis. and if you understand why grammar nazis are essentially useless, annoying, and just don't get it, you understand whats up those who are so shrill about standards

the world is a messy place. get used to it

Re:anyone remember vrml? (1)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104561)

the mess you have to deal with is proof you will never get promoted, do anything useful and joy of work will only happen in sex (on vacation, because coming some at 2 a.m. and cursing about browsers is not exactly romantic)

There, fixed it for you

Re:anyone remember vrml? (0)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104591)

Wow. Where to begin?

a standards body should be slow, not out front, writing standards for things no one knows will be successful or not

in fact, the commercial players SHOULD get proprietary, aggresive technologies out there, seeking new markets. let them play and crash and burn

then, after something proves successful, the standards body plods along and picks it up and makes it canon

Well this hasn't worked well at all. We have companies that are in the business of making money (nothing wrong with that), and one of the ways to insure a steady income is to have a captive audience. So unless a coalition of competing companies propose a standard, the successful company will have a monopoly of that particular technology. Just look at the Microsoft Word document format as a case in point.

I will say that nothing prevents an open source application from competing against the proprietary program and eventually become a standard (ie. OpenOffice, and in some ways Apache).

oh it takes 10 hours to program a page that should take 10 minutes to program were everyone fascistically devoted to standards? well then you wouldn't have a job genius. you wouldn't be needed. the mess you have to deal with is proof you are needed. if it weren't messy, you'd be downsized and replaced by a perl script

Very weak argument. Most of my time is spent trying to come up with what the customer (in my case primary investigator) wants, and not screwing around with browser quirks. There are libraries available to help with the browser part. If the only thing keeping you employed is the perceived difficulties associated with "non-standard" browsers then I think you may find yourself outsourced...

and what is wrong with that? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104785)

Well this hasn't worked well at all. We have companies that are in the business of making money (nothing wrong with that), and one of the ways to insure a steady income is to have a captive audience. So unless a coalition of competing companies propose a standard, the successful company will have a monopoly of that particular technology. Just look at the Microsoft Word document format as a case in point.

and what is wrong with that? if i build a word processor with a proprietary format, i'm making a bet. i'm betting i will own the market, and everyone will be locked into my tech and become returning customers. if i lose the bet, i provide a greater incentive for someone not to use my product. its a dangerous and risky bet

in fact, it is why firefox exists. ie's nonstandard lack of compliance is exactly this kind of bet. and the frustration with ie led to the development and adoption of firefox. now ie's noncompliance works against them, and accelerates firefox adoption

so why do you want to fight the hubris with which greedy companies destroy themselves? why, in the desire to lock customers into proprietary formats, do you see a threat? i see an opportunity: customers hate being in a straightjacket. so shhhhhhhhhhhhhh... let the big corporations make their arrogant risky bets, and crash and burn. how many examples of sony time and time again coming out with some retarded proprietary standard and reaping nothing but venom?

so in your argument above about microsoft word, you are arguing for microsoft's continued existence. you examine a failure of theirs, and chastise them on the failure. in that failure, i see the seed of their downfall. so frankly, shut up and stop helping microsoft and sony and other big companies. let them fall on their swords. you can't stop geedy corporations from being hubristic and arrogant. nor should you if you want to see them fall!

Re:anyone remember vrml? (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104731)

I'm probably wrong here but didn't VRML it kill itself via multiple patents across multiple companies and a continued shift from usable markup to nebulous mess?

Re:anyone remember vrml? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104735)

oh it takes 10 hours to program a page that should take 10 minutes to program were everyone fascistically devoted to standards? well then you wouldn't have a job genius. you wouldn't be needed. the mess you have to deal with is proof you are needed.

That's the broken window fallacy. Work for the sake of work is not an accomplishment, it's an embarrassment.

if it weren't messy, you'd be downsized and replaced by a perl script

I've actually replaced somebody's weekend work with VBScript. You're forgetting that somebody needs to write that script. If you are competent, you shouldn't be scared of unnecessary, repetitive, annoying work going away, you should welcome it.

then lets put it this way (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24104921)

new tech is an act of creation. it is try, and fail, try , and fail. corporations are motivated by profit to try, and fail. no one, NO ONE can get out in front of this messy process of new technology creation and write standards for it, because no one is omniscient about what isn't even in existence yet

the fallout of course is competing technologies as various companies get the hang of it. once upon a time, there were competing electrical grids, competing rail tie size, competing shoe sizes, etc. now, all that is standard. because it is about who wins the war of new tech creation. but during and shortly after the acts of creation, there is a mess to deal with, a babylon, and that's just part of the process. its inevitable, and its not by design or in the control of anyone to stop it

in other words, i understand your criticism of what you think my point of view is. but you aren't actually criticizing my point of view. you think it is possible to write standards for things that don't yet exist, and think i oppose it out of indolence, or something. no, i'm saying it is inevitable, this babylon, not superior

the mess is just part of what you have to deal with for being on the trailing edge of tech creation. it sorts itself out in the end. in the meantime, there is incoherence and pain. and you can't do anything about it. its inevitable

so just accept it. not because i'm messy, but because tech creation is messy. i'm not trying to convert you to my inferior point of view. i'm trying to tell you reality is inferior to your pristine standards. you're not rejecting me, you're rejecting reality. don't shoot the messenger

Re:anyone remember vrml? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104829)

you really need to learn to capitalize your sentences and use punctuation it would help readability and make you not look like a complete smacktard even when you have something worthwhile to say you should try it sometime the world may be a messy place but if you play nice with accepted standards it can be slightly better for everyone

devil's advocate: IE has kept the web sane (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24104113)

If there's one thing that's preserving the one last ounce of content on the web rather than flash-whizz-Web-2.0 useless crap, it's that it's really hard to get such a site working in IE and everything else.

Frankly, there is nothing useful in HTML that hasn't already been supported by all mainstream browsers for 8+ years. If you believe otherwise, then either:

(1) You're not interested in delivering content, just eye candy;

(2) You're not actually using HTML to markup documents, but to write "web apps". In which case, you get everything you deserve for using crayons to build an automobile.

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