Scott Hardie | July 3, 2004
It's 2004. 2004! And we're still dealing with issues of browser incompatibility. That was probably my biggest pet peeve when creating web sites back in 1996 and 1997, that some people liked Netscape and some people liked IE, and the elitist attitude among web developers then (and still now) is that you were a clueless dolt if you didn't design for all browsers. I still remember one guy getting worked up over web sites not supporting Lynx, the text-only browser.

So when IE took over the market in 1998 and Netscape was put out of its misery by AOL in 1999, I breathed a sigh of relief. I have no particular preference for either browser; they both have stupid little annoying quirks, but finally the vast majority of visitors to my site would be using only one of them. I started designing exclusively for IE, checking my site every once in a while in Netscape or Opera just to make sure nothing was horribly out of place, and my site logs confirmed that approximately 99% of my visitors used IE exclusively.

There has never stopped being a contingent of Mozilla fans out there, but lately they're gaining ground. This week, the Dept of Homeland Security all but warned IE users to change browsers to avoid a nasty new spyware installer that logs keystrokes, and Mozilla downloads spiked up as a result. Also this week, the Mozilla Foundation announced an alliance with Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, Opera, and Sun to develop new plugins for Mozilla that will lead to a "richer web experience," obviously giving Microsoft the finger in the process, and Firefox fans couldn't be happier about it.

Does this mean that Firefox will now allow site elements that IE users cannot see, just as IE allows site elements that Firefox users cannot see? Does this really help anybody except those who still have a vendetta against Microsoft and feel like getting some revenge? From the viewpoint of a web developer (and one who likes to keep sites simple anyway), browser incompatibility is a nuisance, and that users cheer the announcement of further incompatibility is aggravating. It's like having some roads that only allow motorcycles, and some roads that only allow cars, and some roads that only allow trucks and SUVs; why the hell can't we just agree on one kind of road for all vehicles and get on with our lives, even if one company that paints the lane markers didn't do a very good job of it? This passionate vendetta against IE is going to make the web a lousier place to surf and web developing less fun to do.

Anna Gregoline | July 6, 2004
I feel your pain, Scott. It seems that little makes sense in the Internet world.

K. R. | July 9, 2004
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