Monday, March 5th, 2007

Browser Wars: Mozilla, IE, Opera join up for a panel discussion

Category: Browsers, Firefox, IE, Interview, Microsoft, Opera

<p>Presented by the Silicon Valley WebBuilder, this event brought together Mike Shaver from Mozilla, Chris Wilson from Microsoft’s IE team, HÃ¥kon Lie from Opera, and expertly moderator Douglas Crockford from Yahoo! to talk about the current state of the browser landscape.

At first, each person got a chance to say their peace. Here are some core items that each person said:

Chris Wilson

We are not about to enter another browser war. This isn’t about destroying each other. This time it is about building the standards based web future, which means we need to work together. This isn’t 1995, so let’s not build that platform. The problem that we have is that as soon as you improve something, you break the web. This is especially hard since Microsoft has ~500 million users.

Chris queried the top 200 web sites and 50% of them are in strict mode. When he did this in IE 6, only one of them was like this. He hinted at having developers opt-in to standards mode in a different way.

Mike Shaver

Mike also said that he doesn’t consider it to be a browser war….. but rather a “mindshare struggle”.

The new “war” is having cool applications being built on the web itself. If the next flickr/gmail/… is built on the web, it is winning.

Don’t look to the W3C for the future.

HÃ¥kon Lie

“If you need a good browser for Windows 98 we have it”

Ajax is bad. We need to add HTML, CSS, and the like, and he had some funny acronyms.

He then discussed the ACID 2 test and had a lot of fun with IE 7 showing how it compared to Opera 3.6 from 1998.

The Wii (which uses Opera) is going to change the web. More people are trying to get their sites rendering correctly with the Wii than “who cares about that Opera browser”.

We need to support video as a first class citizen (and sound). “We can’t leave it to plugins anymore”.

What video formats should we support? There aren’t many open formats, so they use Ogg formats.

Where’s Apple?

They refused to send someone saying that “we are busy writing software”.

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This event was great – as Doug put it, “all three major browser vendors” showed up. ;)

It was disappointing that the boys in Cupertino didn’t show up despite being less than 10 miles down the road from Yahoo! – meanwhile, Opera’s CTO flew over from Norway, and (“even”, to pick on the big guy for a moment,) Microsoft sent some people over. ..And gave out some IE 7 water bottle schwag, which was very nice of them.

As a front-end engineer, I am motivated to make Apple’s premiere browser look good in the eyes of its users, ensuring that provides users with the A-grade experience it should with the property I work on (at Yahoo!) and the chance to hear and talk to some of the browser folks in person is a rare opportunity.

The apparent lack of response or an official statement from Apple regarding their noted absence from this community event doesn’t, in my opinion, make them look terribly community-oriented, which I think is important at this time of web and web app popularity. Add to that that “everyone else” showed up, and you had a few people scratching their heads at this event, anyway. :) Hopefully they’ll come out for the next one.

<rant />

Comment by Scott Schiller — March 5, 2007

The introduction was quite nice. I didn’t know Douglas Crockford was such a good host :)

Will you, Yahoo! people, publish the video of the Q&A session ?

Comment by Mathieu 'p01' HENRI — March 5, 2007

I really don’t envy the guy who has to represent IE in a discussion like that.

Comment by Andrew — March 5, 2007

i don’t think Apple cares much about having Safari becoming the next browser. They’re too busy shipping ipods and fixing laptop batteries for the moment :)

Comment by Alexandre Plennevaux — March 5, 2007

The opera guy was a bit of a nob. lol.

Quite funny tho, but he was just taking shots at IE… rather than being constructive.

Comment by Dougal Matthews — March 5, 2007

Whether you like his employer or not, you have to give Chris Wilson his dues. The guy wants a better web, and is willing to stick his neck out on the chopping block by representing “the big evil” in public.

VERY disappointed that Apple couldn’t be bothered to give someone bus fare to zip down the road and take part. You want your browser to be given first class consideration? Act like a first class citizen of the ‘net community. If programmers are in such demand that you can’t free one from their cell for a few hours to give the people who chose whether or not to support your browser some face time, it’s time to hire a couple extra people to do the work and tell Steve to cut back on a couple of trips with the company jet, eh?

Comment by DigitaLink — March 5, 2007

@Mathieu — I’m not planning to do more footage from the event, as the WebBuilder organization that organized it is planning to issue a DVD and make the content available at a later date. If you want more Douglas Crockford, though, head over to the YUI Theater — several hours of Virtual Douglas are available there. Regards, Eric Miraglia, YUI Team

Comment by Eric Miraglia — March 5, 2007

Apple: “Browser? What browser?”

Comment by Ryan Gahl — March 5, 2007

It was definitely an entertaining event. I was hoping for more specifics on topics like support for DOM3, newer versions of JS and CSS3. The speakers tended to ramble a bit.

The fact that someone from the Safari group couldn’t be bothered to show up is ridiculous. Terrible PR move.

Comment by Hans — March 5, 2007

@Eric Miraglia: Thanks. I already watched a few videos. There’s a lot of good material on YUI Theater. Do you know how the DVD will be distributed: on actual DVDs or will it also be available as a torrent ?
Next time I catch HÃ¥kon, I’ll ask him how the following discussion went.

Comment by Mathieu 'p01' Henri — March 5, 2007

“p01″: I mentioned you when talking to HÃ¥kon afterwards [ozoneasylum ftw!], but stopped short of asking your own CTO to say hello to you on my behalf when he got back. ;) The Q&A session was pretty informative, presumably there will be some announcement when the DVDs are available.

Comment by Scott Schiller — March 5, 2007

@Mathieu: I don’t know much about their plans; presumably, they’ll be announced on SVWebbuilder.com at some point. The Q&A would require some editing to be useful, I think — there were a couple of hours of discussion, but I think that could be distilled down to about 30 minutes of core content. Regards, Eric

Comment by Eric Miraglia — March 5, 2007

The war is ended? We hope…

Comment by Giovambattista Fazioli — March 6, 2007

I won’t hide the fact that I’m pissed off by the Microsoft stance about the W3C. Sometimes standards can be rigid and inflexible, but at least they could work to the standards first.

I’m even more annoyed by Apple’s response, which I consider completely rude.

Comment by Dan Atkinson — March 6, 2007

Don’t look to the W3C for the future.
What does this mean?
More complex Browser optimisations ?

Comment by Silentium — March 6, 2007

Great video clip. Nice of Eric Miraglia to make these types of videos available.

Comment by Peter Michaux — March 6, 2007

I don’t think we should we should ignore W3C. Please do remember that W3C.org is a website as well. They’re not a searchengine like google of yahoo but many people do visit their website! I hope the future will bring more websites about other websites.

Comment by Klaas — March 7, 2007

Apple couldn’t make it because I bet they’re running late delivering Leopard, which features Safari 3 apparently?

Comment by Ryan G — March 7, 2007

I’d have to assume that most of the IE7 downloads were from developers, designers, journalists, and other browser manufacturers, not actual users. We’ll see the actual user numbers after IE7 is available as via Windows Update. (Keep in mind, it’s an optional update — Microsoft isn’t forcing users to upgrade.)

Comment by klixi — April 10, 2007

This is a great website.

Comment by Mr. Reed — May 18, 2007

http://www.computer-repairs-bournemouth.co.uk

Comment by wats up — June 25, 2007

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