Hixie's Natural Log

2005-02-21 11:23 UTC Between Two Fires

Reading the Slashdot comments on the recent Paul Festa article about XForms and Web Forms 2.0, I was reminded of one theme which I often hear from people arguing for throwing away the current standards and replacing them with new standards.

The argument is that the problem with the current standards is that every browser implements them slightly differently, with different bugs and different feature sets, and so you have to write workarounds for each browser. Indeed, this is true. Browsers are notoriously buggy. Authors often feel compelled to use browser-detection scripts and CSS hacks to get their pages working the same everywhere.

The argument continues by asserting that one of the greatest benefits of the new technology is that it doesn't suffer from this problem: you will be able to write one page, and it will work the same everywhere.

What I don't understand is why anyone would think that the people who failed to fully and correctly implement HTML, CSS, JS and the DOM, would magically turn into perfect programmers able to fully and correctly implement the new technology.

There might well be arguments for replacing one technology with another. But I guarentee you that bugs will be present in implementations of one just as in implementations of another. If you are advocating a complex technology based on the idea that it will be more reliably implemented than another equally complex technology, then you will be sorely disappointed.

Incidentally, some people have asked me what I thought of the CNET article cited above: I thought it was one of Festa's most accurate articles so far. I was, in fact, quite impressed. It looks like he did his research for once!