PR: War Stories
Sat, 10 Oct 1998 16:07:32 +1000
I'm very interested in the local angle on this story ... any Australian
web developers been thru hell getting a site to work reliably with
more info is at:
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Urge Public Relations
Been a casualty of the browser wars? The Web Standards Project wants to
share your "war story" with browser makers
New York, NY - October 7, 1998 - The Web Standards Project (WSP)
http://www.webstandards.org, an international coalition of leading Web
developers, announced today that they're collecting "war stories" about
the effect of the current patchwork support for standards by Web browsers.
Web developers and Web users are invited to share their "war story" at
http://www.webstandards.org/warstories. WSP will use these stories as case
studies about the real-world problems caused by the current patchwork
support for Web standards. WSP's first case study, of
http://www.thevisitor.com, shows the typical frustrations of Web
who try use advanced-but incompatible-features being promoted by Netscape
"Web developers and Web users have become casualties in the browser wars,"
said George Olsen, WSP Project Leader and Design Director/Web Architect at
Los Angeles-based 2-Lane Media.
"Browser makers have asked us what problems are being caused by their lack
of support for standards-and we intend to tell them. Not only the specific
technical problems, but also the financial and human costs," he said. "For
developers it's frustrating to waste time working around incompatibilities
when we could be spending that time and effort making better content for
those sites," Olsen continues. For people who are paying for sites,
incompatibilities are costing them extreme amounts of money for the extra
development time. As for people using the Web, these incompatibilities
mean running into pages that won't work on their particular browser, if
the developer didn't know enough or wasn't careful enough to do all the
WSP, which is urging browser makers to fully support standards created by
the World Wide Web Consortium, estimates compensating for the lack of
consistent support for standards adds about 25 percent to the cost of
building a Web site. The lack of standards also threatens to fragment the
Web as browsers move the desktop.
This effort complements an effort, jointly announced by WSP and The Open
Group, to document specific technical problems that plague our society.
The two will be working together on a variety of activities intended to
encourage browser makers to support Web standards. Among these efforts,
will help The Open Group with its efforts to develop test suites that will
check how well browsers comply with Web standards, and WSP will be
publicizing the results of these tests.
About The Web Standards Project:
WSP is an international coalition of Web developers and Web experts who
are urging browser makers to fully support Cascading Style Sheet Level 1
(CSS-1), the Document Object Model (DOM) and XML in their browsers. Its
effort to bring attention to the existing and potential problems involved
with browser incompatibility does not mean that WSP is opposed to
innovations by browser manufacturers. The coalition merely urges browser
manufacturers to use open standards for enhancements and support existing
ones before adding new features.
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For more information about The Web Standards Project contact, George
Olsen email@example.com (310-473-3706 x2225), WSP Project Leader, and Design
Director/Web Architect at 2-Lane Media.
WSP Browser Incompatibilities Case Study: The Visitor.com
The Visitor.com site uses "Dynamic HTML," which is not a standard but
rather a buzzword used by browser makers to refer to a collection of
techniques using Cascading Style Sheet Level 1 (CSS-1), the Document
JScript. Unfortunately, the incompatible support for the standards
involved, meant that <tag> media, now Razorfish Los Angeles, had to create
four versions of the site to avoid excluding potential visitors: Netscape
Navigator 4.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, a version for earlier
browsers, and another for WebTV. (The first three were produced by <tag>.)
Richard Titus, currently with Razorfish Los Angeles, estimates that
multiple versions increased the development costs by a third. "We tend to
push the envelope quite a bit both in terms of layout and in terms of
functionality. Which result in higher man-hour cost," he said. "I should
also note that we have a tendency to do a lot more graceful decomposition
on our sites than most developers and that requires a ton more work
because you have to support numerous browsers."
Developer, Robert Smith, said that multiple versions, meant extra
developers were needed. "Two people handled the primary version (for
Netscape), one person adapted that to Internet Explorer and another made
the crippled version for earlier browsers," he said.
Programmer, Eric Canale, said that the development team's biggest problems
stemmed from the inconsistencies in the way different browsers handled
JScript. These differences were also inconsistent between different
versions of a particular browser and even among the same browser running
that worked fine on PCs would hang [on] a Mac," he said.
These developers also faced numerous challenges to due inconsistent
handling of positioning elements with Cascading Style Sheets. Canale said
that the project convinced him that using Dynamic HTML doesn't pay. "The
three versions of the site we did in-house doubled our production time,
since a lot had to be recreated from scratch or seriously debugged," he
said. "The site looked great but cost a fortune to produce."
- ### -
About The Visitor.com case study:
For more information about the browser incompatibilities experienced by
the development team, contact:
Richard Titus, Managing Director of Razorfish Los Angeles
Eric Canale, currently Chief Technology Office for Centropolis Interactive
Robert Smith, currently "Fixer" with the Hollywood Stock Exchange
firstname.lastname@example.org i r o n c l a d n e t w o r k s
genius for hire http://www.ironclad.net.au/