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Browser Wars Redux: This Time It's the Apps

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the everything-that-rises dept.

Software 170

itwbennett writes "Yesterday's release of the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader brought to mind the bad old days of the browser wars, but with a new twist: while the app works on any iOS device, it only works on computers with Safari and Chrome. Blogger Brian Proffitt knows as well as anyone that 'this isn't a deliberate snub of the other browsers. Clearly the developers of this web app had to get it to work on Safari, because that's the only vector to get it onto an Apple device. And, since both Chrome and Safari have a shared ancestor in WebKit, it makes sense that what would work in one browser would work in the other.' But it raises an interesting question: 'If HTML5 and other web technologies are supposed to be open and standardized, then will web app developers have to continually tweak their apps in order to accommodate deficiencies or advantages between browsers, or will browsers have to constantly stay in sync with each other's features just to be able to run all the web apps out there?'"

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170 comments

Steam (2)

zget (2395308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060018)

It works in Steam too, since they also changed to WebKit. The in-game and Steam store browsers feel so much faster with it, too.

Browsers aren't magic (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060068)

I'm not sure how "running it in the browser" is supposed to magically erase all the problems that in years past were associated with running in multiple operating systems. The more power and control is given to the browser, the more complex they become, and the less likely it is that different browsers will be able to provide the same experience.

This isn't "browser wars", this is "Operating System Wars, The Sequel". The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060274)

The more power and control is given to the browser, the more complex they become, and the less likely it is that different browsers will be able to provide the same experience

This isn't necessarily true. After all, there is the historical counterexample of Java. While it isn't particularly popular for desktop applications these days, it did manage to provide the same applications on any OS with a JVM without any serious discrepancies. It's certainly possible for this stuff to work out very well, we just don't have much faith in the browser makers, for good reason.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

ewibble (1655195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060432)

Even with java there are problems, may not be major but even one minor problem can make a app not work. Even if you are talking about just sun java.

I wouldn't release a app on any platform and say it was supported unless it was first tested on that platform

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060478)

True, and I get the point your making, but Java wasn't just some (draft) spec that a bunch of different groups were implementing independently, and it didn't have to have backwards compatibility mixed in to deal with old specs and non-spec features.

The GP statement doesn't make sense to me either - this is "browser wars". Chome on all OS's that support it with the same revision runs stuff close enough to the same on all OS's. It's Chrome versus IE versus Netscape versus Opera versus all the previous versions of all of those that is the problem.

I mean, yay HTML5 and all that, but it'll be years (maybe 10?) until most of that spec is supported in 90+% of browsers that are in use. At least with java, one could just point to Sun and tell the user to d/l what's needed for their OS, and they're off to the races for all java apps. I'm just glad it's Chrome/Safari they picked to support (because it's on most OS's and has an open source version) rather than IE (which could have happened if they targeted Windows Mobile).

This is why I believe Flash will stay around for a long time to come (even if I dislike it), as will non-HTML5 web pages, java apps, native apps, etc.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061540)

Not for any app more complicated than "Hello World". Java is write once debug everywhere.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060308)

With operating systems you distinguish with #ifdef at compile time. With browsers, you have to do it at at run time. With Javascript, no less. So, pretty much the worst of everything.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060510)

So..when will Firefox run HTML5?

I've got version 5, and it won't run the Kindle Cloud app....

Re:Browsers aren't magic (0, Offtopic)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060564)

Just install Chrome and don't worry about it.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (5, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060692)

Try installing an egress detecting firewall and watch how often Chrome phones home.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060848)

That's just great. Now we're going to need a firewall browser extension to do for in-browser apps what Windows Firewall does for os apps.

Hell I'd go a step further and let the user define all the sandbox rules, so I can fence off my desktop's data from browser apps that shouldn't be looking at it.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060858)

I'm sorry. I'm too busy not giving a shit.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060976)

You are also forgetting that you have user culture with browsers that often provides you with disinformation, and unpredictable filtering. I can't count the number of sites I have to send a Firefox user agent string so my favorite browser SeaMonkey is permitted to download the page. Its practically the same engine so of course it works 99.9% percent of places Firefox does, but these means if you have done something which depends on one of the few differences, I have possibly obscured information that is needed.

Even fairly non-technical users have things like NoScript, and or pop-up blockers running. More technical users might have other ad filters installed, some like me even have proxies which actually run regex queries and do rewrites of documents. Now move in the corporate world with things like websense and all bets off.

You can hardly blame users for this either bad actors

Re:Browsers aren't magic (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060354)

Mod parent up. There will always be platform wars on all levels. Hardware-level, OS-level, browsers, cloud wars, media format wars. Even wars between differing implementations of open standards. There will never be a time where there isn't a heavy battle for market share and control on every level. It's what drives everything forward. It's what kills off bad ideas and good ideas. It's the hallmark of any full-fledged ecosystem.

Re:Browsers aren't magic (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060356)

However current history shows this isn't true... Browsers right now are the best way to display data, WebKit, Mozilla or IE for HTML 4 strict does an excellent job of following the specs.
HTML 5 is new and not all the features are implemented yet, and right now there is some shield bashing on who has implemented the most useful set of the HTML 5 standard first. So for the developers who are blindly jumping to full HTML 5 are coming across compatibility issues, because not all browsers are close to be fully HTML 5 Compliment.

There is no Magic here. The browser runs on top of the OS and interprets the command send via files and follows the same methods to display the data. It is actually quite easy concepts, it didn't happen before because computing power wouldn't allow useful speed in doing such work without the need to go out and run some custom machine level code. Once Browsers finish their full support in HTML 5 then things will render the same again?

This isn't a browser war type of activity and not an OS War Especially as things work the same in Chrome for Windows, Linux or Mac... The old browser war was each side making their own special commands in complete disregard on what the standard said in hopes that developers will use it over the others and force people to use their browser. Eg. the Netscape Layer Tag, ActiveX or Java Aplets. Right now it is more of a bragging right of saying Hey we got this in first or our implementation is faster then yours. But it doesn't mean the next version your version won't be faster of have that feature... It isn't a war but healthy competition.

In a War the Consumer Looses and Competition the Consumer wins.

Usefulness (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060072)

Any web "app" that aims to be actually useful will ensure that it can operate on any browser. Otherwise, we would be just as well off without the "app".

Re:Usefulness (2)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060084)

Yep. How is this any better than the days of horrible 'web apps' that only run IE6?

Re:Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060118)

It's not. HTML5 was never a panacea. But lala-land web people love to pretend it was. HTML is just another level of abstraction and like all abstractions, it's leaky. It's just the Java "write once, debug everywhere" one more time but fools who doesn't know history are doomed to repeat it.

Re:Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060132)

The intention was just to write the app for the iPhone. They wanted to not abide by the Apple's App store rules, so they took the web app route. As long as it works on Mobile Safari, they could care less if it works on any other browser.

Re:Usefulness (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060204)

Indeed. This seems a specific solution to a specific problem, and working on Chrome is simply a byproduct of that. Perhaps at some point they'll want to broaden their market, but for the moment, this is more an issue of the closed nature of the Apple app market than anything to do with a new browser war.

Re:Usefulness (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060276)

Of course, as a web developer, I don't consider IE6 a browser and don't bother supporting it :).

Re:Usefulness (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060406)

And you have cut out a tremendous amount of your potential audience. That is some smart business-sense.

Re:Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060502)

If his product is good enough, then people will switch browser. How many times have you had to load IE because you really wanted to see a site? (Me: once in 4 years)

Re:Usefulness (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060586)

Tremendous? I think not. Latest stats show IE6 usage is now under 4%. Not wasting resources on a small and declining platform is excellent business sense. Even Google has stopped supporting it.

Re:Usefulness (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061790)

The fortune 500 I work for services other corporate clients, as well as the public, and IE6 is still substantial in the corporate world. In any case, I imagine an individual that does not consider IE6 a browser also lumps 7 and 8 in there too, but maybe not. Why is IE7 any better of a browser than IE6? It was a POS too.

Re:Usefulness (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060846)

If he'd said IE without a version number, you'd have a case. But IE6 accounts for roughly 3% of my traffic, and from what I hear that's more or less the norm.

Re:Usefulness (2)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061000)

at my institution we dropped ie6 this years because the percentage of web browser visiting us with it were below 2% however they accounted for 35% of the complains directed at the web team. So you mostly have whiner and people with pirated software on ie6 so why would you want to serve that kind of clientele is a mystery to me.

Re:Usefulness (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061160)

So? He may not WANT to be bothered with those customers.

He has a right to choose who he sells to, I believe.

Re:Usefulness (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061884)

But if those potential customers possibly represented 50% of your revenue, then I would say it is retarded. How are you going to know if you do not service them and collect analytics on their business impact? That is retarded.

Are you not sure he has a right to sell to who he wants to?

Re:Usefulness (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060816)

It's Apple, Amazon and Google doing it? Between the hipster morons, the basement dwelling tech geeks and Grandma who just need to get her shopping done they've managed to get a bigger user base than MS ever had...

Re:Usefulness (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060386)

I disagree. With the developments of where browsers seem to be going, that is to be a platform for an OS like experience, there will be plenty of reasons to create platform specific versions of application. There are always reasons to not spend money on development for a browser that represents miniscule percentages of usage. Businesses make money not for altruistic reasons like developing for something that is non-existent in the grand scheme of things. For instance, are you going to accommodate Opera?

Mobile Browser Redirects (4, Insightful)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060104)

I'm just as concerned with the tendency of websites with 'mobile apps' to intentionally break their own website experience when browsing on a mobile device in order to push their native app instead. Deep links redirecting to mobile homepages are also breaking the web (from mobile at least). In many cases the web worked better on my iPhone 1 then it does today on my iPhone 4.

Re:Mobile Browser Redirects (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060294)

Change the User id. Not sure how easy that is to do on an iPhone but I do it on my Droid running CM7 all the time for these broken websites.

Re:Mobile Browser Redirects (1)

psyclone (187154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060566)

Isn't that a pain to keep switching the User Agent though? Some sites /are/ well designed for mobile, and I enjoy that on the mobile browser. I suppose some sort of menu setting or quick-action extension (see mobile firefox for android, etc) could work. But like the GP pointed out, by the time you've changed user agents, the deep link broke and presumably you have to go find it and click it again.

Re:Mobile Browser Redirects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061316)

Are you saying that you don't have a modern browser that allows you to specify which user-agent should be sent based on the site you're browsing? I'm sorry to hear that...

Re:Mobile Browser Redirects (2)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060856)

Change the User id. Not sure how easy that is to do on an iPhone

I know it's possible when you jailbreak. I have a "UAFaker" icon on my SBSettings menu. I swipe the status bar, tap the icon, and try the link again. Same thing to turn it off. Without jailbreaking, I believe there are alternate browsers you can get on the App Store that will fake the user agent for you. Or you could use Opera Mini or Cloud Browse, but that's getting somewhat excessive.

Re:Mobile Browser Redirects (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060434)

I'm just as concerned with the tendency of websites with 'mobile apps' to intentionally break their own website experience when browsing on a mobile device in order to push their native app instead.

I see this a lot ... visit a web site on my iPad, get popup telling me they have a native app, and wouldn't I rather be running that.

No, go away ... show me the damned web page, and leave me alone. Sometimes the redirect they use makes it almost impossible to use the back button to get out of the damned site.

Or, as you say, they redirect you to some mobile home page which doesn't have the content you followed the link to, and which you can't subsequently find. Which basically makes the visit to their page useless.

Try the Atomic Web browser (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061622)

Try the Atomic Web browser which lets you easily set the agent response as Mobile Safari, Mobile Safari - iPhone, Mobile Safari - iPad, Safari Desktop, Wap Device, Firefox 3, IE 6, IE 7, IE 8.
I only wish I could specify the setting per web site.

Only Safari?? (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060106)

Clearly the developers of this web app had to get it to work on Safari, because that's the only vector to get it onto an Apple device.

So, Apple locks out downloading/running any other web browser? How come you didn't say "Clearly the developers had to get it working on IE, because that's the only vector to get it onto a PC"??

Since Firefox works on all computers, and has a higher market share than Safari [wikimedia.org], it seems that Firefox would have been the better choice.

Re:Only Safari?? (1)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060218)

Show me where I can download Firefox for my iPad.

Re:Only Safari?? (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060284)

That's not a computer.

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060636)

Not terribly bright, are you...

Re:Only Safari?? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061208)

Oh really? You might want to explain that to the general-purpose CPU inside of it attached to a clock source, RAM, storage, and various other peripherals...

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061382)

Why? Because you can't get infected by a virus and turned into a spambot? Not terribly bright, are you...

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060240)

Because they aren't talking about Apple laptops/desktops. They are talking about iPad/iPod/iPhone, where the only game in town IS Safari/Webkit. This app is a direct response to Apple's new rules for subscription services and a move at getting their app accessible outside of the App Store proper.

Firefox isn't even on the table in this matter, as it does not exist for the platform they were targeting.

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060248)

Firefox likely does not support the features they need yet.

I've been having trouble with webgl, websockets, web workers, indexed db.. frankly, so far firefox has yet to hit the mark on ANYTHING, and the only things that work are basic demos.

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060252)

Actually yes, Apple does not allow any app that displays web content without using their APIs on iOS devices.

While you can download other browsers on OSX it's still Safari that comes with the OS, and really most users just use what comes with their OS.

Re:Only Safari?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060614)

How come you didn't say "Clearly the developers had to get it working on IE, because that's the only vector to get it onto a PC"??

Because it's not. The native kindle app for PC works just fine and has no apple tax. Safari is installed by default on all iDevices.

Re:Only Safari?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060658)

So, Apple locks out downloading/running any other web browser?

Not yet, but it's coming. They already are pushing their App Store as the ONLY way to get software on your Mac, and you can bet you'll never see Firefox available on it.

Give it a few years, and the answer to your question will be yes. It just takes some time for Apple to boil the frog.

Support for additional browsers coming soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060112)

It would seem that in this case at least it will be the web app developers tweaking for additional browser platforms.

IT World = FUCKTARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060124)

will web app developers have to continually tweak their apps in order to accommodate deficiencies or advantages between browsers

WTF does the moron that wrote this link-bait turd of an article think they've BEEN DOING for the last decade+? If it wasn't IE's lobotomized and perverse interpretation of the W3C specs, it was mobile phones, new browser versions, etc etc etc...

In future, IT World may want to find writers who've actually had some experience in the industry to avoid moronic crap like this...

What standards do not have incompatibilities... (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060140)

between competing vendors? Maybe standards that have been used for a decade have stabilized compatibility issues between vendors, but this is always a struggle and there will always be exception handling to provide a common experience across all platforms. I am not sure where the idea comes from that because it is standardized, it will be implemented equally and the same. Have you paid attention to the last decade of web development where standards have always existed. Unless a vendor has a mission statement that says that it will only implement a standards compliant product, then there is going to be competition to innovate new features. Hopefully corporations learned the lesson of tying their web apps to a specific platform and proprietary implementations, but I am sure considering the current trend to make browsers into OS like platforms, there will be apps that only work on certain platforms. Who knows what is going to happen in the next decade so this question is a little foolish?

I'm curious (1)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060238)

What part of the code causes other HTML5-enabled browsers to fail? (I would try to figure on my own if only it did not require to sign-in onto Amazon, which I boycott because of their handling of Wikileaks.)

Re:I'm curious (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060552)

In Firefox 4.0.1 it fails with "J is undefined" Here is the offending code: "";C=1;var a=window.applicationCache;if(z[n.APP_CACHING])z[n.APP_CACHING](C);a.swapCache();J.addEvent("KindleApp:AppCacheUpdate")}function d(){K="";C=1;E&&!E.getItem("cached")&&E.setItem("cached",1);if(z[n.APP_CACHING])z[n.APP_CACHING](C);N&&(N=!1,J.addEvent("KindleApp:AppCacheSuccess"))}function B(a,c,q){var s=J.startMetrics("Store::TOSOpen"),b=a?z[n.STORE_OPEN_STATUS]:z[u.STORE_OPEN_STATUS];F||(F=!0,KindleTOS.open(c,q).then(function(c){b&&b(!0);c?E.removeItem(w):(a||(h(),g()),t(),$("#"+k.KINDLE_READER_CONTAINER_ID).hide(),

In Firefox 5.0.1 it fails with "openDatabase is not defined" Here is the offending code: a.executeSql("DROP TABLE IF EXISTS annotationsCache;");a.executeSql("DROP TABLE IF EXISTS covers;");a.executeSql("DROP TABLE IF EXISTS metrics;")}var e=new jQuery.Deferred;a.dbHandle?a.dbHandle.transaction(d,c,b):e.resolve();return e.promise()}function m(a){var b=a.defaultSize;q!==void 0&&b>q*1E6&&(b=q*1E6);return openDatabase(a.shortName,a.version,a.displayName,b)}function x(a){function b(d){var e,q=[];for(e=0;e=0&&q.push(d[e]);c.resolve(q)}var c=new jQuery.Deferred;

Re:I'm curious (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061230)

I highly recommend a pastebin service [pastebin.com] for such things. Not only do they not eat your code at random, but they keep things nice and not blobbed up, and even support syntax highlighting!

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060246)

What do you mean 'the bad old days of the browsers wars?' As a web developer, I've never seen the war cease. It's continually a pain-point, and even more so with html5 video and web sockets.

HTML5 impressions (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060298)

The comment that they "had" to get it working on WebKit in order to get the Cloud Reader on the iPhone/iPad is probably correct - but it also seems like Webkit has been leading the pack when it comes to implementing advanced HTML5 features. Generally these features appear to get added to Firefox somewhat later (after someone files it on Bugzilla).

Re:HTML5 impressions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060526)

That's because HTML5 isn't what they're implementing. They're implementing entirely new features that are lumped together under the umbrella of "HTML5".

If anything, the actual HTML5 support of browsers is still shaky overall, with browser vendors opting to add more "gee whiz" features in lieu of the mundane, anti-marketing stuff that doesn't get press.

Re:HTML5 impressions (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060644)

Yep. Vudu's streaming movie web app is also HTML5 on the iPad, and it does a hell of a lot more with HTML5 features than an eBook reader...

Re:HTML5 impressions (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061402)

it also seems like Webkit has been leading the pack when it comes to implementing advanced HTML5 features

Don't it though! It is like the Firefox guys are more concerned with where you put book marks and the uri text box.

You can't believe this is happening? (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060322)

Wow, this must be the first time that some content only works in a proper subset of modern browsers and is broken in the others. Until now, browsers have stuck to strict standards, so that developers wouldn't have to rewrite their code for the quirks of each browser. But I guess that's all over now. What a shame!

Better them than us (1)

alphacow (1516741) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060330)

It makes a lot more sense for browser makers (which, by my last count, consist mainly of four or so major vendors... FF, Chrome, Safari, and IE) to have to keep up with novel web standards than for web developers (10,000? 50,000? 100,000?) to have to keep up with browser inconsistencies. Sure, there are places where the standards are inconsistent. This sort of shift will force the W3C to move faster to improve the standards, which is good news for everybody.

HTML5 is still a draft (1)

spikeham (324079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060660)

HTML5 is still a W3C Working Draft standard (see http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/) and is still changing so browser developers are slow to spend effort implementing it. Even after it becomes an official 1.0 standard, some browsers may not implement parts of it for years, so some amount of browser-specific code (and occasional non-availability of some features on some platforms) will always be a fact of life when building Web UIs.

Re:HTML5 is still a draft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060760)

True, but what if we turned browser development upside down? It would make sense to allow the rendering engine to be separated via a plugin architecture. This way, you can develop your site using any engine. You page could then point to the one you are using, so long as the browser supports that kind of plugins.
There are certain drawbacks, but I think the positives far outweigh them in the long term. No longer having to wait for company X to implement feature Y, and could even just roll your own for your site.
I have not thought it out much since the thought just popped in my head. Sorry, my mind sometimes starts solving problems as it sees them.

So... they should have installed webkit (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060662)

Sounds like the developers used webkit to render but didn't care if webkit was already present.? Why didn't they just optionally install webkit?

IndexedDB vs WebSQL (5, Informative)

jgon (1840424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060736)

Good lord slashdot, I was hoping to see informed technical discussion like that slashdot of old instead of scaremongering gossip over motives for the Book Store compatibility. It has nothing to do with Apple controlling Amazon, or browser wars. The HTML5 database storage spec is not fully standardized, and so chrome and safari both implement the WebSQL spec while Mozilla has chosen to go with their own IndexedDB spec.

The book store will be ported to firefox shortly as both DB implementations basically accomplish the same thing. It came out for Chrome and Safari first because Amazon wanted to circumvent Apple's in-app purchasing requirements on the iPad and that meant working with webkit first. Down the line I am sure that browser makers will eventually converge on either IndexedDB or WebSQL and that will become part of the HTML standard but for now the discrepancy is explainable purely in terms of using a non-standard technology that browser makers are still experimenting with and trying to shake out.

Re:IndexedDB vs WebSQL (1)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061016)

Wouldn't it be better then if Firefox just implemented WebSQL?

Re:IndexedDB vs WebSQL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061470)

Wouldn't it be better then if Firefox just implemented WebSQL?

No. WebSQL is based on a single SQL implementation: SQLite. To implement WebSQL, you had to use SQLite in your program. To specify WebSQL completely, you'd have to document SQLite behavior to the point where you'd be effectively reverse-engineering it. Because of this, W3C abandoned WebSQL in favor of IndexedDB, which requires no specific database implementation.

Granted, it would be fairly easy for Mozilla to implement WebSQL in Gecko, but it will never be a W3C Recommendation, and Microsoft will probably never implement it in Internet Explorer, so what's the point? Microsoft and Google are both developing implementations of IndexedDB. Mozilla is wisely doing the same.

law of the compatibility clusterbuck (4, Interesting)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060744)

After forty years of following technology, I assure you that wherever there's a land rush in progress, a compatibility clusterbuck is sure to follow. Early mover advantage is a broken window [wikipedia.org] for everyone else. It's not actually the nature of the standardization process to be out in front of the gypsy caravan waxing behind the Spanish Galleon of zeitgeist redux. As much as we complain about this, the gypsies are a tribe of legendary endurance, hardship, and snark (as often featured here on snarkdote).

Standardization is the introverted naturalist's account of rats, cockroaches, raccoons, ravens, seagulls, and urban deer: what's left behind after progressive forces have eradicated the dodo, pillaged the cod fishery, and turned most of the polar bear population into shaggy rugs of bravado.

Re:law of the compatibility clusterbuck (1)

grnbrg (140964) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060998)

Standardization is the introverted naturalist's account of rats, cockroaches, raccoons, ravens, seagulls, and urban deer: what's left behind after progressive forces have eradicated the dodo, pillaged the cod fishery, and turned most of the polar bear population into shaggy rugs of bravado.

New .signature!

Who said poetry was dead? :)

grnbrg.

Re:law of the compatibility clusterbuck (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061834)

Early mover advantage is a broken window [wikipedia.org] for everyone else.

The Broken Window fallacy is about the idea that the economic activity required to replace destroyed property can be counted as a net benefit to society. It is a fallacy because that activity does not create new wealth; instead, it represents an expenditure of resources and effort merely to return to the state before the property was destroyed. If the "window" was not broken, that effort and those resources could have been spent on moving society ahead, rather than regaining what was lost.

In your example (right or wrong), no property has been deliberately destroyed in hopes of an overall benefit from the resulting economic activity, so the Broken Window fallacy clearly does not apply.

Re:law of the compatibility clusterbuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061872)

"...waxing behind the Spanish Galleon of zeitgeist redux"? Pretentious much?

Features, not browsers (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060800)

How about, instead of sniffing for the browser types you (think you) know support what you need, sniff for the features you need directly? That way your app will work just fine with any browser that supports what you need, and if it doesn't support what you need you'll be able to tell the user exactly what his browser's missing so he can fix it (it may be he just needs to update his browser, or install a plug-in or optional feature he hasn't gotten around to yet).

A Glorious Day (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060834)

Really, this sounds like a great thing for browsers and the internet. When developers write things to a standard (HTML5) instead of insane-crazy-time (whatever the hell internet explorer 6 renders), everybody wins. If browser authors want market share, they are forced to pick up features. Even the IE behemoth appears to be realizing that some HTML5 may be critical to its long-term survival.
In the old days the problem was that IE had a monopoly, and sucked, so people wrote crap for IE and it continued the circle of suck. Now there are other real browsers out there, you really can't be sure what systems will run your page (especially in the mobile world, sure webkit is the big boy there at the moment, but not in all places and not forever), so the best solution is to write to the standard as much as possible and let browser authors it.
I know for the purposes of my personal page that's how I operate, I don't have time to QA every system configuration. I make sure it basically loads up on the big 3 engines and call it a day.

Standards vs. Implementation (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37060948)

Pretty silly to complain about HTML 5 "standards" when the real problem isn't with the standards, it's with the implementation of those standards. That's why we have tests such as Acid, of course.

I will say, however, that the implementations of the browser standards for HTML 5 and CSS3 are SO much better than earlier rounds of the browser wars. At least it's not a complete nightmare as before. Where you find problems are in edge-cases such as websocket and threads for which there is really no workaround possible, you just have to wait for the browser vendor.

Sorry Firefox, but you became obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061302)

I really loved Firefox, when it was much more advanced then every other browser (since version 2). But now it just lags behind Webkit. Gecko's implementation of CSS3 animations is just poor compared to Webkit's.

And don't get me started on mobile browsing... I think it's a complete waste of time of Firefox to come out with a mobile browser that only works in like two different handsets! If you're unable to make it work across the isle, don't waste your time trying to compete with the native. Opera Mini and Mobile already dominates that secondary place, masterfully.

Browser Wars will never be over (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061492)

The expectation that HTML5 would end compatibility issues is not only unrealistic, but completely ridiculous. Vendors and developers have extended, misunderstood, incorrectly implemented and violated standards since the web began, and a more complex and more powerful standard only offers more ways to do so.

1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, ..., 2009 called.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061504)

They want royalties on your browser wars/standards argument.

You can deposit it in the account of one honorable Nelson Malambe, somewhere in Nigeria. Check your spam for the address and account number.

-R

1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, ..., 2009 called.... (1)

Reeses (5069) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061528)

They want royalties on your browser wars/standards argument.

You can deposit it in the account of one honorable Nelson Malambe, somewhere in Nigeria. Check your spam for the address and account number.

-R

(sorry for the double post, I accidentally posted as an AC.)

This makes the case for Plug-ins (1)

moorster (2093072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37061680)

This is exactly why plugins (or plug-ins) were invented. I would much rather code this up in Flash or Silverlight and have it run reliably and predictably on all browsers than have to write a bunch of one-offs. HTML5 was a giant distraction, in my opinion.

Formal logic 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37061924)

it only works on computers with Safari and Chrome

So you need both Safari and Chrome installed? Or do you need them both running and displaying the app? Some novel approach to cross-browser development.

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