Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Another great article at Joel on Software, this one on the (impossible) dilemma facing people (especially those at Microsoft) who want to create standards-compliant web pages and browsers. The problem is, there is no way to do this and at the same time to allow for those millions of people who have coded non-compliant websites (frequently in an effort to work with Microsoft's non-compliant browser). Spolsky argues that we should never have adopted Jon Postel robustness principle: "Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." I don't agree, because I don't agree that this is the cause of the standards problem. I think it is that releasing a browser that does this to Google Maps

has to be a deliberate sabotaging of the competition. Standards are hard enough when everybody plays by the rules. They are impossible when Microsoft is playing (and - if it's not Microsoft, it's someone else).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 04:49 a.m.