Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Greetings fellow travelers!

As you may have guessed it’s been pretty busy around WSP headquarters this week. If you’ve read the press surrounding The Web Standards Project you may have noticed a few discrepancies. I know I did.

The first thing I saw was Microsoft trying to sound superior in their standards support. Microsoft always tries to sound superior though, don’t you think? I’m not convinced.

In all the press where they were quoted I see them lauding CSS-2 as something they are supporting in their 5.0 browser. While I think that that is very noble of them, The WaSP wants to know what happened to CSS-1? You see, CSS-1 is still not fully supported in IE4 and the developer preview of IE5 doesn’t seem to offer any improved CSS-1 support.

In an article for Computer World Microsoft is quoted as saying “It’s a process, and many things are not yet standardized, but we are fully committed to supporting all the W3C standards.”

So Microsoft, how about committing to fully supporting the W3C standards instead? Give us an act of faith, a gesture of goodwill if you would. Pledge to finish CSS-1 support in IE. Will you do that at least? CSS-1 has, after all, been standardized for quite some time.

Netscape is also talking about CSS-2 and not mentioning CSS-1. Netscape was very quiet when WSP first launched but has begun speaking to the press recently. I worry about them though. I really want to see them survive but it seems they are making it hard for themselves. Here’s a quote that really has me worried about them. It’s from PCWorld and is echoed on CNN. Perhaps it’s a misquote and Netscape can clarify it for us, but here it is:

“We’re very involved with [the World Wide Web Consortium] and try to implement those standards that make sense as quickly as possible. We agree with the direction of the WSP and firmly believe that for certain types of content, standards are the way to go.”

I can’t figure out who determines if a standard makes sense. Isn’t that what the W3C is for? Aren’t the W3C Standards the ones that make sense? And what types of content do standards not make sense for? The content that will only display in a Netscape browser?

But this brings me back to CSS-1. It became an official standard in December of 1996. It is now 20 months later and we’ve still not seen full support for it in a Netscape browser. Did someone decide that it didn’t make sense? And if that’s not the case then how much time is “as quickly as possible?” Can we count on full CSS-1 support in their 4.5 browser? I doubt it. But I’d be happy to have a pledge from Netscape to fully implement CSS-1 in their 5.0 browser. How about it Netscape? Will you give that pledge?

From other sources The WaSP has heard that Opera might offer full CSS-1 support in their next release. It’s not quite there yet though and is still in a private beta. One can hope. It would be great to see someone actually do it instead of just giving lipservice to the standards.

What everyone should do though is to “Take the Standards Challenge” for CSS-1. Cruise over to the W3C CSS-1 Test Suite and find out how well your browser supports CSS-1. If you find something that doesn’t work, email your browser vendor about it. Tell’em “The WaSP sent you.” And if you haven’t signed the petition yet, what are you waiting for?

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