Sam Soffes

Let’s End the Browser War and Just Comply with Standards

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Being a professional web developer (that is someone who makes there living by developing web), I think myself, as well as other professional web developers, should have some what of a say in what they will be developing for. All we really care about is the engine. I’ll explain.

I saw this story about the browser war on Digg and started thinking about how dumb all of this is. People are arguing about which browser should be the new mobile platform in the comments. Firefox, Flock, or Opera were the options. First of all, Firefox is running Gecko. That is the engine it uses to render (X)HTML, CSS, etc. so you can see it (in other words it takes code and makes it pictures on your screen). Flock is running Gecko too, although a newer build which was funny to me. They are the same thing with just different wrappers on them. (Even Netscape in all of its crappiness is running Gecko now.) Opera, Safari (which runs WebKit), and Internet Explorer all have there own engine.

The fact that people are comparing Flock, Firefox, and Opera amazes me. I really don’t like Opera. It’s slow, ugly, and not very user friendly. I rarely check my stuff in it because so few people use it. They do have a few innovative features, but overall I don’t like it. Flock is cool. I like that they’re trying something new, but I still like Firefox over Flock. As far as my personal preference goes for a browser, I like Safari. It looks nice, it’s quick, and easy to use. What can I say, I like Apple? When I’m developing, I always use Firefox because of FireBug, an awesome web development plugin for Firefox. The ugly form fields bug the crap out of me though. If they’d fix that and make it faster, I’d switch from Safari.

Getting to the point, the Gecko engine is my favorite. It is the most standards compliant. That’s all we web developers care about. There is nothing more frustrating than spending forever on some CSS layout, testing it in IE, realizing that it looks like crap, and rewriting it completely just for IE. If everything was standards compliant, the Internet, as far as web sites go, would be 10 times better. WebKit is really good, but it doesn’t always follow the rules.

I think that the new browser platform should be standards compliant. Right now, Gecko is the most standards compliant browser out there. It is not the greatest piece of software ever, but it’s the best right now. So as of right now, I think that they should all run Gecko. I would love if all browsers, in all of their different looks and interfaces, all ran the same engine. That would make things so great, from a web developer’s perspective anyway.

Hope you enjoyed the rant. Happy Black Friday.