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WebKit As Broken As Older IE Versions?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the somebody-else-will-fix-it dept.

The Internet 213

An anonymous reader writes "It's not everyday that we get to hear about the potential downsides of using WebKit, but that's just what has happened as Dave Methvin, president of the jQuery foundation and a member of the core programming team that builds the widely used Web programming tool, lamented in a blog post yesterday. While most are happy to cheer for IE's demise, perhaps having three main browser engines is still a good thing. For those that work in the space, does the story ring true? Are we perhaps swearing at the wrong browser when implementing 'workarounds' for Firefox or IE?"

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I can say, after having upgraded to mountain lion (2, Interesting)

emagery (914122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911003)

That my webkit browsers have been very poorly behaved; maybe it's just me... but images flicker, forms appear and disappear, sometimes pages just stop loading at random... each patch for mountain lion seems to repair it BRIEFLY... but it always comes back.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (2, Interesting)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911147)

It might be just you. I haven't noticed any of these problems, and each ML update makes Safari snappier (TM).

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (5, Informative)

Volanin (935080) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911359)

No, it is not just him. This corruption problem with Safari is a well known problem. It appears that this problem manifests strongly in the macbook retina. There are ongoing discussions about this in many forums, including apple's own:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4148522?start=0&tstart=0 [apple.com]

As reported by many testers, these problems have NOT been fixed in the soon-to-be-released 10.8.3 update, and they are still present in the Webkit nightly. If you are not experiencing such problems, the most probable reason is that you're using a non-retina display.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911661)

Happens to me as well when filling out forms on many sites.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911705)

Happens to me as well when filling out forms on many sites.

Should have added in Safari on a macbook pro retina, running 10.8.2. Have not tried it on my 10.8.3 VM yet.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

trum4n (982031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911691)

I have this problem sometimes on FireFox, on Windows, with ATI GPU's. Their drivers are written by 12 year olds, i sware.

RE: i sware (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911903)

Their drivers are written by 12 year olds, i sware.

Something looks like something was written by a 12 year old.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911957)

This is FUD. Apple software is head and shoulders above all other forms of software. Apple fucking INVENTED the web browser in its modern form and you people have done nothing but criticize and attack in your usual flagrant anti-Apple way. Pathetic.

Hyper inflation! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911989)

Because Bush stole 7 trillion from the American people, and the national debt is increasing above 15 trillion. Soon the minimum wage will be 16/h yet the cost of a gallon of milk will cost 15 dollars. Praise to the Neo-Cons our new Over-Lords{British Royals}.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912479)

No seriously; I use a retina Macbook, and haven't seen those problems either. Not saying others haven't, but it's not universal.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912897)

It has nothing to do with the retina display. I'm seeing it on the non-retina current-generation MacBook Pro. I think it is limited to a single model of Intel GPU, though, as I don't see this behavior on any other machines, and it goes away if I lock my machine to use only the NVIDIA GPU.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911929)

It's not just him. I have some weird issues with Safari stalling but it seems to only affect Slashdot. Go figure...

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912175)

Most likely video drivers. I've had screen flicker, things scrolling forward, jumping back, then forward again. Granted, I'm running on a heavily modified "unsupported" MacPro1,1, so not especially surprising in my case.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (4, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911169)

Must admit, although I primarily use Firefox or Chome; I have no problems at all with IE. I don't understand why people would "cheer for its demise". IE9 is a good browser, and I'm all for competition. Less competition in any space is generally bad for users, if things swing too far toward one engine we'll be in the same position we were when IE6 was the "standard" and people ended up only bothering to test on that browser. That causes stagnation.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911315)

In my current position, I have definitely had to implement at the very least twice as many Chrome workarounds as IE in the last six months. I was very surprised to see Chrome behaving oddly and Firefox and IE rendering the pages identically, as prior to that time period, I had never seen Chrome and Firefox render a page in a substantially different way.

Most of the issues have revolved around Chrome "over-reacting" to what it perceived as an XSS attack.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (-1, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911457)

I have tons of problems with IE. Lack of standards compliance sums up all of them. Continued lack of standards compliance is why it needs to die. They are the cause of the problem, and not a solution.

"i'm all for competition" (1, Insightful)

Skiron (735617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911567)

Seeing as you need to use a Microsoft system to run any form of IE, then you have no competition with any other browser on other systems.

Re:"i'm all for competition" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911829)

Which makes it a bitch to test for if you are running anything other than Windows. That's why it needs to go, it is untestable.

Re:"i'm all for competition" (2, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912583)

You obviously haven't tried very hard. There are freely available VM images to test with various versions of IE : http://www.rdeeson.com/weblog/126/how-to-run-internet-explorer-7-8-and-9-in-linux-with-or-without-wine.html [rdeeson.com] . Obviously you can use them with OSX or Linux.

Probably also worth mentioning that the OSX version of Safari doesn't render exactly the same as it does on Windows. It's also not any more available for Linux than IE is. Maybe that's "untestable" too, eh?

Re:"i'm all for competition" (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912013)

There were a versions of IE4 for Mac, Solaris and HP-UX.

Except Internet Explorer Does not compete. (1, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911783)

Internet Explorer is bundled [not replaceable] on one platform Microsoft's. To compete it needs to exist on other platforms and be replaceable on its [not your] OS. As it stands it continues to hold back the innovation on the Web...the polar opposite of what would have happened it real competition exists. All it is is another incompatible product. The fact that XP users are such on Internet explorer 8 says it all.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

silviuc (676999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911821)

IE is not in the position to compete with anything from a feature and standards compliance p.o.v. The only competition it drives is by brute force, on the desktops, since most of them use Windows and IE is the default browser. Luckily, this "strong" position is slowly being eroded and will fade.

IE is also tied to one platform, and even worse, tied to a certain version of the OS it is running on. People can perfectly well run either Chrome, Opera, Firefox etc on their XP, Vista and later machines, but if you want to use IE 9, you gotta have Windows 7. IE 10 - gotta have Windows 8. In a way, IE competes with itself. Microsoft still thinks it's in the 90s and that people will upgrade their OS for the privilege of running a browser or having a better version of a task manager. Stupid, stupid Microsoft.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912257)

It's inertia. IE6 was a terrible browser. IE7 and 8 were better, but not markedly so. IE9 was a total turnaround for Microsoft, and IE10 is keeping with that trend.

However, the damage is already done. On top of it being a Microsoft product and thus being automatically terrible, dangerous and likely to cause the death of a few Linux whackjobs, its bad reputation in the past has stuck to it like a skunk's stink. Is it deserved? Not anymore, no. But you probably have noticed by now that for all our claims of technology being a fast moving sector, a lot of the people working in it are old men shouting at you to get off their lawn ;)

Opera's shift to WebKit should concern everyone. It's likely a good decision for them, but it consolidates WebKit's position as the dominant rendering engine, and having any dominant engine is bad, as you go from standards directing engines to the dominant engine imposing "standards".

Ironically, it's Firefox which is still doing its job: never the dominating browser, but always a significant enough force to stop any one browser from entirely dominating. Those who think Mozilla's outlasted their welcome should think again.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912657)

It's inertia. IE6 was a terrible browser.

I feel the need to point out, here, that when IE6 came out, it was a WONDERFUL browser, far ahead of everything but Opera.

IE6 was only terrible by the time it was replaced because Microsoft basically stopped all development on it after it was released.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912683)

That's a little dishonest. When IE6 was released in 2001 it was quite good. There was also virtually nothing else on the market as AOL let Netscape flounder for five years and the earliest viable releases of Mozilla were still two years away and Firefox another year after that. IE6 also did quite a bit to tighten up the standards compliance at that time, including fixing the box model. Everything leading up to that point was a huge mess of feature-ramming on the parts of both AOL/Netscape and Microsoft while the W3C slowly toddled along.

What Microsoft did that was blatantly stupid was to stagnate IE for five years between 6 and 7, effectively halting the development towards better standards compliance. And while Netscape at least had the excuses of recent acquisitions and bad project management Microsoft did this quite intentionally by all-but-disbanding the IE team entirely.

IE has come a long way since then. IE9 and especially IE10 are very usable browsers in terms of speed and compliance. They're not perfect, but nothing is. What we need above everything else is an accurate measure of compliance. The W3C HTML/CSS Test Suites are the perfect avenue for that, very narrow unit tests of specific rendering functionality. The problem is that it's not as pretty or fancy as some colorful ACID test.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912881)

Very true - in fact IE4 was actually way more stable than NS4, and IE5 was a revelation when it came out. It wasn't that MS just used underhand practices (though they certainly did) but their browsers just had better engines. NS5 was terrible. they attempted to correct the biggest problem with NS4 which was that resizing it with JS and dynamic content would either crash the browser completely, or kill the JS engine and screw up the layout (unless you used the proprietary tag). IE4 at the time had no problem with reflow, although it was a bit slower. NS5 though was ridiculously slow, incompatible with NS4, and had so many bugs that it was ludicrous to recommend anyone use it. Netscape basically just let it stagnate.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913025)

Mozilla - the Official Opposition Party

New Math (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913131)

Opera's shift to WebKit should concern everyone. It's likely a good decision for them, but it consolidates WebKit's position as the dominant rendering engine, and having any dominant engine is bad, as you go from standards directing engines to the dominant engine imposing "standards".

Absolutely. If Opera were at an overwhelming 3% usage instead of just a stout 2%, this would already be done and dusted.
/s

Web developers hate IE (4, Informative)

PapayaSF (721268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912277)

I have no problems at all with IE. I don't understand why people would "cheer for its demise".

If you don't hate IE, then you haven't been building websites. For years, the standard process for me was to write perfectly valid HTML and CSS that would render the same way in every other browser, and then spend time screwing around with it until it looked correct in IE. It added 10%, easily, to the cost of every project, and I've read of others claiming 30% or more.

Re:Web developers hate IE (4, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912773)

"If you don't hate IE, then you haven't been building websites."

First website I built was around 20 years ago. Last website I built completed a couple of weeks ago.

I've been through pretty much every version of IE, Netscape, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, (and Mozaic). If you're not charging clients extra now for IE6/7 support, then you really need to look at your business practices. I don't "hate" any platform; I just charge clients if they need a platform supported. Of course, you're free to go on some religious or idealogical crusade in your spare time if you like, but getting emotional about a browser doesn't make much sense.

It's funny to me to hear people claiming IE6 is incapable of rending content etc, when we were making arcade style games, windowing systems, AJAX style requests (piggybacking data in cookies from image src requests) back with IE4 and NS4.

tl;dr Charge clients for the extra work, or get new clients. Don't work for free and then moan about it.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912319)

Well, part of the issue with ie6 (and previous) was that a healthy web was contra to Microsoft's interests. If google or Mozilla are in the same situation, they want an easy to use, universally compatible web experience.

I think competition is good, but if everyone got behind a single vendor that wanted the web to succeed, it would be far better than when ms won the browser war (or, technically, when Netscape list it with the 4.x line that just plain sucked).

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912789)

The problem with IE is that it's hard to test, since both IE and Trident are not available for most platforms.
Out of all the PCs where I work and at home, none run windows, so it's not easy to test IE, while I can test Chrom{e,ium}, Firefox, Opera, etc on almost any desktop OS.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912945)

As I mentioned above. MS make VM images available to test content in various versions of IE for free. These can be used on OSX or Linux (and probably any other platform that supports the VMI format they use). Safari isn't available for Linux either, in case you forgot.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913283)

Safari uses webkit, and testing in chromium will usually suffice (I haven't come across safari-specific issues that can't be reproduced in chromium either).

And, yeah, sure, one of my development laptops has 1GiB RAM, another is a PowerPC. I can't even run a windoze VM there. I wouldn't do it if I could either.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911197)

Reset PRAM/NVRAM, try to disable extensions.

How-to for the reset can be found here : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (3, Insightful)

Unitedroad (1026162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911301)

That my webkit browsers have been very poorly behaved; maybe it's just me... but images flicker, forms appear and disappear, sometimes pages just stop loading at random... each patch for mountain lion seems to repair it BRIEFLY... but it always comes back.

Desktop Chrome used to be a breath of fresh air a year or two ago, but now, my experience with every new release has been worse than with the previous version. I feel probably they are ignoring it for the Mobile Android and Chrome browsers because they feel it's more important to keep their lead there.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911353)

This isnt a 'WebKit' problem, this is a Mountain Lion + Safari problem. Safari started implementing a lot more things to leverage the GPU in rendering and it did not turn out very graceful.

Re:I can say, after having upgraded to mountain li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912551)

So that's why Opera is switching to Webkit. They can now have the same experiences with Webkit than with Opera's previous web engines. ;)

Good Start (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911011)

Hey, TFA is from TODAY, given the late /. trends, at least that's a good beginning!

Re:Good Start (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911517)

Slashdot is a dead wasteland. Everyone is long gone. Deal with it.

Re:Good Start (1)

ebh (116526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911701)

Nobody comes here any more. It's too crowded.

Re:Good Start (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911919)

Git off mah lawn!

Re:Good Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912169)

Git off mah lawn!

git: 'off' is not a git command. See 'git --help'.

Did you mean this?
        diff

Re:Good Start (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912609)

You'll see it posted again (verbatim, most likely) in four or five days. And the commenters will be skewed the opposite direction in terms of support for the article.

IE. Not even once. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911097)

"Are we perhaps swearing at the wrong browser when implementing 'workarounds' for Firefox or IE?"

No.

Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911121)

Isn't the answer to these always "No"?

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911205)

Re:Hmmm (0)

oneiros27 (46144) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911225)

The law also applies to titles of scientific journal articles.

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911443)

I can see a front page paper now:

Is Betteridge's Law of Headlines True?

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911473)

Betteridge's law of Betteridge's law of headlines: Stupid people easily led by soundbites can smugly quote Betteridge's law of headlines as a substitute for using the difficult, painful process of rational thought and discussion.

And it'll apparently be modded +eighthojillion Funny every single time. And here I thought the internet's main strength was facilitating discussion and the dissemination of information.

Ah, well, mission failed. Welcome the new system, same as the old system, just louder and whinier with a crippling sense of self-entitlement and sorely misplaced know-it-all attitude. We're SMAAAAAAAAAAAART!!!!!1!

Re:Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911643)

And here I thought the internet's main strength was facilitating discussion and the dissemination of information.

You must be new to these intertubes.
The internet is for:
1) porn
2) cat videos/pictures
3) porn
4) loudly declaring hatred of things
5) porn

Combine in whatever blend your kinks allow.

Re:Hmmm (1)

ebh (116526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911719)

At least #4 is a legacy from the ARPAnet and USENET from the same time period.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911461)

Isn't the answer to these always "No"?

Isn't the answer to a question about a question posed as headline always "No"?

Peter Kasting's answer (5, Insightful)

alendit (1454311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911131)

If you read TFA (haha!) make sure to scroll down to the comment of Pater Kasting (Chrome dev).

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911247)

I tried to read the TFA. It uses a popular blog template:

Blogger Template Style
Name: Simple
Designer: Josh Peterson
URL: www.noaesthetic.com

It is a super-retarded template because if the CSS (or javascript or something) fails to load almost the entire screen is taken up with a huge blue bar that obscures the text. I keep seeing this. I wish someone would fix it.

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911709)

You are right. The amazing thing is that there is a ton of css embedded right in the html, so it would be trivial to fix. And they already mixed content and layout, so no (additional) harm done. And all it does is add a gradient to the sides of the page.

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911289)

*Sigh* you've done it.

You made me break the Slashdot tradition of not reading TFA.

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (1)

Shag (3737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911571)

What's his handle on there? Didn't spot anything containing pater or kasting.

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911809)

Peter Kasting said...

  I'm a Chromium developer. It's not clear from your blog post: are the majority of the bugs you're complaining about things that are still broken on the WebKit trunk? Or things that you have to hack around because of the number of out-of-date WebKit-based UAs? If the former, are there bugs on file at bugs.webkit.org?

I ask this because we spend a lot of time fixing bugs in each release, and if there are major problems we're missing, then I'd like to ensure they get triaged and investigated properly. But the complaint you write here isn't really actionable, because it's short on details.

And semi-answer from the article:

Even when they have been fixed in the latest Chrome or Safari, older WebKit implementations like PhantomJS and UIWebView still don't have the fix. We've had to put back several of these as users reported problems with the beta

IOW, "OMG, people use rare UAs with outdated engine versions while main branch gets them fixed, and it's totally the same as when we waited 5 years between IE6 and IE7 and 3 between IE7 and 8 to get at least partial support of web standards and some engine fixes!"

Re:Peter Kasting's answer (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913227)

Speaking as another professional web guy who's extremely frustrated with the current situation for very much the reasons in TFA, I find comments like Kasting's frustrating. Yes, there are bug reports. Yes, they have been there for a while, many years in some cases. Yes, the bugs are sometimes in really basic, everyday functionality. Yes, Chrome is by far the worst major browser for reliability based on the objective bug tracking metrics across all the projects I work on. Yes, it has been so consistently for a long time. And yes, there are comments on quite a few of those bug reports making it clear that even glaring problems aren't going to get fixed any time soon despite the developers being well aware of them. In my experience, absolutely everything Methvin said is true, and actually he's being rather kind.

Unfortunately, on most forums, if you suggest that this is the reality, even backing it up with citations of numerous bugs in basic functionality and even citing specific records in the relevant bug databases that go back years, it's a good bet that you'll be downvoted/moderated into oblivion, or just face the kind of "What, really?" reply Kasting posted as if it's hard to believe the almighty Chrome could actually be as bad as it is. This is the stereotype geek/OSS fanboi issue, where no amount of facts and actual evidence matter in most discussions.

I've given up even trying to file bugs for everything I find now. I'm sorry, I know it's not constructive, but my clients don't pay me to be someone else's beta tester, and since Chrome is often beta quality software I really would be spending a significant amount of my working hours just doing that.

Instead, these days we just say that we write to established web standards where possible but the only browsers we'll support officially are recent versions of IE. While these don't have all the bleeding edge shiny, the basic functionality does generally work very reliably, and actually IE9+ have a lot of the more useful recent developments anyway. Just as important, the relatively few serious bugs in the more recent versions of IE tend to be well-known, and the necessary workarounds are well-established and stable because the goalposts don't move every six weeks. That's worth far more to someone developing real software for real clients than scoring X% in some artificial benchmark for supporting standards that don't exist yet, where X% is the box-ticking score but not the number of features that actually work.

No really, it's jQuery that's broken (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911157)

I hate to say it but web developers need to stop using "frameworks" and "libraries" to do simple things.

There's so many websites that load jQuery or TinyMCE for no good reason other than the developer was lazy.

I code everything by hand, if it doesn't work in some browser, then that browser's implementation is broken. There should be no need to write against jQuery and assume that the underlying browser isn't braindead or futureproof. If you're writing against the standards for HTML5, CSS3 and the DOM, then you're better off writing your own code. If you're just a code monkey who can be replaced at a moments notice, then by all means write against stupid frameworks so that you're easily replaced.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911211)

Frameworks to do simple things may be stupid, but it's just as stupid to write your own code every time too. It's hard to say which one is worse, but I'm going to say it's worse to never use a framework than to always use one unless your time has no value and you always write perfect code.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (3, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | about a year and a half ago | (#42913199)

Frameworks to do simple things may be stupid, but it's just as stupid to write your own code every time too.

Being that the reason that old school programmers make their own frameworks? :-)

There's something very wrong when you spend less time building your own framework than learning a well known and stablished one to do your task.

You can argue that a well known and stablished framework will save time on the long run. But I will counter-argue stating that this is only true if the guy knows the framework by heart - otherwise he will be screwed up on every single mistake did by someone's else.

It's better to "waste" a little time now and in every project in the future, than to waste a huge one now and then in the hope that somewhere the future I will be able to throw up a new system every week without hassle - what's is not going to happen anyway, because in less than a year everything is changed, and things will start to break, and the cycle starts again.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (2, Informative)

dickplaus (2461402) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911213)

The point of using jQuery and other frameworks is you don't have to re-invent the wheel every damn time you want to do something. Yes, jQuery might be misused in many situations, but in alot of cases, it simplifies the coding so you're not rewriting what is already done.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (2)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911645)

It only simplifies things by adding something that should be in the core language anyway but that doesn't include jqueryui. Which shouldn't be core functionality nor is it that nice to use unless you want a cookie cutter site appearance. Your right in that many professions don't abuse JS but a lot of people do use it unnecessarily and often ruining performance.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (5, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911335)

I code everything by hand, if it doesn't work in some browser, then that browser's implementation is broken.

You say this like that somehow is a solution.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911433)

I code everything by hand, if it doesn't work in some browser, then that browser's implementation is broken.

That may work on your own time but try telling that to your clients.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911563)

And when I'm spending time replicating jquery? Sure I can do it by hand, but tools like jquery can in many 'simple' cases make my development faster. The framework is probably going to be there anyways (designer might want it for part of his theme, etc). And unlike my scripts, by leveraging google to provide jquery, it is probably already cached on their browser.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912305)

I code everything by hand

Then you are an idiot. Almost everyone agrees that the idea of frameworks is good. They give developers a common ground. So now, any developer that has to touch your code has to learn your framework. If you have some basic functions like finding elements or making ajax requests, you have a small framework right there. If you don't, then you are completely retarded for copy-pasting code all over the place.

Re:No really, it's jQuery that's broken (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912833)

So 90% of your time is spend writing things like "document.getElementById()"?

Whether WebKit is "broken" or not (5, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911195)

I still want to see three viable rendering engines competing in the browser world - and that's what we currently have.

I know there are a few people who live and die with Opera, but it didn't have enough market share to make any meaningful difference - its switch to WebKit is irrelevant to most of us.

Re:Whether WebKit is "broken" or not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911361)

I've gotta agree. Diversity is a good thing, in browser engines, in CPU architecures (genreally lacking), in operating systems (not as badly lacking as CPU architecture), etc.

ACID Tests are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911233)

Maybe we need a less-exciting ACID test. A test of useful but inconsistent functionality.

        Personally I wish canvas mouse location handling was done more consistently.

        But watch out, the last ACID test focused on functionality that was controversial, or less than important. Mozilla was right not to prioritize their effect to solving the acid test. They had their own tests.

        Furthermore webkit pisses me off because webdevs think they aim for 1 platform. You can't. Please recognize the web is defined by standards, please adhere to them, and please respect your users. They don't use chromium, they don't use opera, they don't use safari, they don't use firefox, they don't use IE.

While most are happy to cheer for IE's demise (3, Insightful)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911237)

I've never been a fan of MSIE, but to say "most" would cheer for its demise seems a little gratuitous. Competition is good.

Abusive Monopolistic Behaviour is not competition (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911609)

I've never been a fan of MSIE, but to say "most" would cheer for its demise seems a little gratuitous. Competition is good.

Internet Explorer is not a cross platform browser. It does not *compete* it abusively bundles Internet Explorer.

5 year old bug? (3, Interesting)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911287)

That's nothing. Look[1] how long some Flash bugs have been around, or holes in MS Word, Active-X exploites, Windows exploits... it's all a matter of how much time you have to maintain the codebase, and what you prioritize.

Things with a 98% chance of never affecting anyone will go for a long time before getting the "half-line fix" just like any other software. Yes, including jQuery[2]

[1] - http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search [nist.gov]
[2] - http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search-results?query=jquery&search_type=all&cves=on [nist.gov]

As somebody whose life got destroyed by IE: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911291)

Yes. Yes, we are.

I might hate IE to death, but I would defend its right to exist to the grave for monopoly-weakening reasons right now.

Webkit and the WhatWG expose the exact behavior that caused all those problems and a stalling of progress back then in the first place. Growing into a quasi-monopoly, having tons of non-standards-conforming "features" (remember the marquee tag?), being the preferred choice of the dumbest and most incompetent at making an educated choice, openly going against the W3C for iTard and PHB reasons (aka: "Ooooh, shiny bling!" and "People are too dumb anyway. Remove *all* buttons and options.") and also deliberately making standards for dumb and incompetent people (by re-introducing quirks mode aka glancing-over-utter-incompetence mode aka HTML5 instead of actually telling the author when the code has errors.).

We already know that can't end well. Let us not repeat that mistake.

P.S.: Seeing Opera first dump its amazing killer feature (Opera Unite), and then dumb their core engine, is a really sad sight. I declare Opera (the company) as dead as Nokia.

Re:As somebody whose life got destroyed by IE: (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911481)

I remember the "blink" tag.

Re:As somebody whose life got destroyed by IE: (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912111)

I remember the "blink" tag.

I remember people embedding "blink" inside "marquee" using a phased color shift. I guess some thought it was pretty....

These were never as annoying for me though as the sites that either a) depended on flash or they wouldn't load at all or b) had an embedded midi file in each page that autoplayed and couldn't be turned off.

Then there were the pages that had ALL of the above....

Anti-competition (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911723)

I might hate IE to death, but I would defend its right to exist to the grave for monopoly-weakening reasons right now.

Except Microsoft does not compete is abusively bundles IE, The damaged caused by Microsoft set innovation in the web space back years, if IE was a cross platform browser, not welded to their [not your] Operating system, I would agree. Unfortunately it only pollutes standards, without any of the positives that competition brings. Firefox and Chrome [and Opera] have been ahead for so long now its not even funny any more.

IE explorer should be destroyed with fire. So competition can continue unabated.

Re:As somebody whose life got destroyed by IE: (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911857)

Monopoly? Perhaps the term you're looking for is "monoculture". No one has, or is ever likely to gain, a monopoly on Webkit. But, as Webkit grows more popular and pervasive, we could find ourselves with an unhealthy monoculture.

Of course, even that possibility is rather weak, because so many different people, for several different organizations, work on Webkit.

Re:As somebody whose life got destroyed by IE: (2)

gorzek (647352) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912121)

Monoculture goes hand in hand with standardization. You want things to work the same from system to system.

The only problem is when the dominant platform fails to implement the standard properly. But it's unfair to talk about "monoculture" as a fundamentally bad thing when we're talking about basic infrastructure--which HTML rendering is, in terms of making the Web work.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911325)

For those that work in the space, does the story ring true?

No. Comparing webkit to IE6 is like comparing stubbing your toe to being shot in the head repeatedly.

Webkit is open source, with an active community that cares about standards, has an explicit policy of trying to behave like other browsers where possible, listens to feedback, and fixes bugs. They are the opposite of IE in those critical respects.

Re:No (2)

Thundersnatch (671481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911575)

Webkit is open source, with an active community that cares about standards, has an explicit policy of trying to behave like other browsers where possible...

All evidence to the contrary. The number of "broken in latest Chrome" bug reports we've had coming out of QA recently is quite alarming. Things like certain tags not appearing in the layout at all, or massive layout gaps that don't appear in any other browser.

Personally, I think Chromium is moving too fast, and now Mozilla is following. Many of the bugs we've encountered were regressions, broken in Chome say 15, fixed in 17, and then broken again in 24.

So let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911331)

According to the author, Opera should spend their time and money to fix old edge-case bugs in WebKit, but he shouldn't have any obligation to contribute patches himself.

Sorry sir, but that's not how open-source development should work. If you're going to spend time rebuilding your own codebase, evaluating whether a ton of old workarounds are still necessary because of missing "half-line fix[es]", you should consider spending some of that time contributing such simple patches upstream to improve the situation. With IE, that was never an option, but it is with WebKit. In an open-source stack, the only workarounds that should be accepted as the regular course of business are ones that are prohibitively difficult to implement in the dependency, or where the patches have been submitted and rejected.

What's most entertaining is the reference to the "tragedy of the commons" in TFA's title. Tragedy of the commons is not something being so commonly used that it's improved in places you don't like. Rather, it's where everybody using the common property thinks that maintenance is someone else's problem. Mr. Methvin, WebKit's maintenance is as much your problem as it is Opera's.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911695)

If it was a simple as you imply it to be, then somebody would have fixed said bugs already. Sure, that doesn't change the fact that theoretically they COULD have been fixed already, but that's the real tragedy here.

The reality here is that Webkit is riddled with a lot of bugs. When Firefox implements a new feature rather than fixing bugs, it gets cursed. When IE only fixes half its ancient bugs, it gets laughed at. But Webkit doesn't get those criticisms because it's apparently a deity.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912119)

To paraphrase a Chromium dev who commented on the article, what bugs? Nothing actionable was presented. It's one thing to wave our hands and talk about bugs, but we need to be able to point to specific things if we want anything to get done. Grousing for the sake of grousing solves nothing. In the case of IE's ancient bugs, those ones were well-documented, well-known by wide swaths of developers and users, and yet continued to go un-repaired release after release. That's quite a bit different from WebKit's bugs, which tend towards being more minor, mostly hit edge cases, and are able to be fixed by pretty much any dev with the time and inclination.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911911)

What I really wish people who fire off the tired old line of "If you don't like it, STFU and file a patch" would understand is that there are a LOT of different programming languages out there. Most of us only know a few with any real degree of competence, if that. You CANNOT expect a JavaScript developer to be able to write good C/C++.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912077)

...so don't write good C/C++.

Write a clear description of the problem, make an effort to understand the codebase you're complaining about, and figure out the right way to approach the problem that would fix the bug. Write it in plain English, then ask that someone implement it is proper well-written C/C++. That takes care of half of the debugging work, and shows that you're actually interested in seeing the problem resolved, rather than just reporting that odd thing you saw that one time.

My point is that if you make it easier to fix the bugs, they're more likely to be fixed. Bitching about having so many bugs doesn't help. To revisit the analogy to the tragedy of the commons, a park that's routinely plagued with litter can be made cleaner by donating time to clean it, or perhaps donating the money to buy several trash cans (and the crew to empty them)... but writing to a newspaper about how ugly the park is doesn't actually help solve the problem.

Quality vs. Quantity (1)

khoker (1028434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911437)

This, like nearly every Slashdot headline, is sensationalistic. If you read what Dave said it is clear that he is referencing support for *older* versions of WebKit;

"Even when they have been fixed in the latest Chrome or Safari, older WebKit implementations like PhantomJS and UIWebView still don't have the fix."

Think about it for a moment. IE has had 3 major releases in the past 10 years (I'm not counting IE10 just yet). Safari, on the other hand, has had 6. Chrome has had, what ... 24 now? So, yeah ... if you take a normalization library like jQuery and look at the amount of code needed to support the various iterations of browsers, you don't need to be a rocket surgeon to realize that supporting the various bugs in 30 versions will take more code/effort than 3 versions. The latest versions of WebKit, as the title seems to suggest, is not "as broken" as older versions of IE.

Jesus, what a crappy headline. (4, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911475)

"WebKit As Broken As Older IE Versions?"

Yes! Because any two things that are not perfect are equally bad. :-|

Re:Jesus, what a crappy headline. (4, Funny)

Shatrat (855151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42912423)

On the Internet, it's Nazi's all the way down.

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911501)

Apple: where your product can be broken, but the hipsters just adore it even more because it's "quirky."

Quirky CSS (2)

podmf (736634) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911619)

I certainly spend more time dealing with webkit quirks than IE quirks these days, thanks to the demise of IE6 and IE7.

So far, few of the visual 'bugs' I've encountered in webkit have been strictly 'non-standard'.

They pretty much ll fall into two categories:

  1. 1. Experimental, i.e. not yet standardised, CSS
  2. 2. CSS where the standards are silent on the precise method of implementing rendering, e.g. list markers.

"broken" isn't always bad (2)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911715)

Probably unrelated to TFA, but I made an amazing discovery about the webkit-based browser Rekonq 0.8 in Kubuntu 11.10 - it doesn't show commercials in streaming video. Whatever mechanism is commonly used to insert commercials into a flash video stream - it doesn't work in this version of Rekonq. I'm talking youtube, ustream, livestream, social cam sites, porn sites, and television networks that stream their own shows - no commercials ever. It's glorious =)

I'm actually reluctant to upgrade in case this "bug" has been fixed.

Re:"broken" isn't always bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42913115)

are you sure you're using flash and not html5 (at least on youtube the html5 player doesn't or can't insert the ads)

Webkit is not a browser (1)

ColdCat (2586245) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911765)

When developing for different browser you have some "strange" issues which are not from the webkit engine, but from de javascript engine or from the underlining implementation. For exemple Chrome decide not to check outside of his local cache sometimes, it's not webkit problem, it's not javascript it's only chrome implementation which is different ( to be polite ) and sometimes a nightmare for web developers.
Even if we had IE, Opera, Firefox and Chrome using webkit there will be some big differences.

IE6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42911985)

I was just talking to someone about IE yesterday and I had to bring up how much I miss having just one long-lived version to code against.

It may have been broken but you knew how it was broken and that it would be broken forever.

Captcha: DISTRICT
Current Music: The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Current Mental State: Shaken

Most are low-level (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912087)

From what I have seen, most of that crap is very low-level stuff that basically nobody outside of HUGE-scale implementations cares about.

And some of it seems to be legacy for the sake of the fact that earlier versions of Webkit were still around very recently compared to say, Gecko or Trident. (both have been around for a long time)
Even with automatic updates, a decent number disable them, and more to the point, those who probably use sites with technical developers behind it in the first place, so those people are more the ones being exposed to it. (who wouldn't disable the automatic updates? What a stupid annoyance they can be. Auto update at bloody night or something, or throttle the damn installer priority! My computer isn't a supercomputer you know, I don't care if it takes half the day to install! Better yet, detect current activity and dynamic priority, idle is too strict)

Although I will say one thing, a stupid bug has been around in Chrome (and possible webkit) for a while.
Make a test page, put a little text. Add some random nonsense script (just a variable reference would be fine)
Now put this in the CSS style: *{display:block}
Enjoy seeing all that hidden stuff. (including the CSS styling you just entered!)
Just tested Canary as well to be sure, yep, happens there too. And on Android version.
As far as I am concerned, I am pretty sure * is supposed to only reference visible HTML elements, not the invisible structure elements and any text within them.
It doesn't help that extensions can embed stylesheets and scripts as well. (also, if you have a userstyle extension installed, add that styling to THIS page... dear god)
That bug was really annoying because I used that to make absolutely sure that no stupid browsers were setting terrible styles on elements, so I reset everything to Block and then manually made the Inline list.

WebKit != JavaScript Engine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42912817)

The article blames WebKit for issues with the JavaScript implementation and keeps using Chrome and Safari in the same breath. The problem is that WebKit is modular and, in fact, the JavaScript engine is a separate piece -- Chrome and Safari use completely different JavaScript engines.

The Safari JavaScript engine is based off KJS and has evolved over time from interpreter, to JIT compiler, to native compiler. Apple contributes quite a bit, but so do other WebKit developers.

The Chrome JavaScript engine is V8 and is a separate OSS project from Google.

WebKit is used as the rendering engine and it has hooks to plugin the JavaScript engine. If the issue is with JavaScript, it might be more helpful to bring the issues to the developers of those engines rather than the WebKit developers.

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