[kwlug-disc] Standards vs. Reality vs. Idealism ...

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Sun May 16 01:19:44 EDT 2010

On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 11:43 PM, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:

> On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 11:58:18PM -0400, Bob Jonkman wrote:
> > I don't understand the "Zing!"
> >
> > HTML *is* HTML, and CSS *is* CSS.  Any differences are errors in browser
> > implementation.
> *bring* *bring*
> "Hello?"
> "Hello. I'm calling about the company website you designed for me."
> "Yes?"
> "It's broken in Internet Explorer."
> "Yes, I know. Internet Explorer has browser bugs that violate web
> standards."
> "But lots of people use Internet Explorer, and when they visit our
> company's homepage they get a bad impression!"
> "Tell Microsoft to fix their errors in browser implementation, then."
> "... but I paid YOU to make me a good looking website!"
> "I did make you a good looking website -- for all browsers that
> implement web standards."
> "You're right! Thank you for your enlightenment! I'm going to hire you
> to design web pages for me in the future!"

Very well put Paul.

I can't remember how many times I had to fight against idealistic (and often
"green") open source developers who refuse to face the world as it is, and
want the Utopia in their imagination, ignoring the reality of the gap.


In early Drupal versions, the URLs were not preceeded by
a slash (e.g. you have <a href="something/something"> rather than
the absolute <a href="/something/something">). The argument was that
the "standard said so". My gripe was "but most crawlers ignore it and that
causes them to trigger lots of 404s". Then we get "The crawlers are wrong,
they should be fixed". I think it was even Google at the time!

Another example is using an obscure or less used feature, nice as it is, and
thinking that the whole world has to conform to it.
Example: "your PGP code looks ugly in your messages", "well your mail
program is broken, it should interpret these", "I am using Gmail!"

And then there is MS IE 6 of course, which wasted millions of person-hours
for web designers around the world. Given the market share, it could not
be ignored, as much pain as that caused.

Standards are good and all that, but the reality we face is that they may
be followed, even when they exist.

People have to adapt or be left behind ...
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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