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Source: Martian Headsets

You're about to see the mother of all flamewars on internet groups where web developers hang out.

This self-fulfilling prophecy has been brought to you by Google Adsense: funding Slashdot trolls since 2003.

With the web, there's a bit of a problem: no way to test a web page against the standard, because there's no reference implementation that guarantees that if it works, all the browsers work. This just doesn't exist.

I demand documented standards with open reference implementations. That's why I only develop with Microsoft technologies.

So you have to "test" in your own head, purely as a thought experiment, against a bunch of standards documents which you probably never read and couldn't completely understand even if you did.

No one has ever written tools to encapsulate the world's collective understanding of standards; you must start from scratch like everybody else. Freedom 0 buys you nothing unless you can audit the source code yourself. "Faith" in science is no more well-founded than "faith" in religion unless you can personally reproduce the experiments.

Those documents are super confusing.

Hi, I'm Web Developer Barbie. Pull my string and I say, "Standards are tough! Let's go shopping!"

The precise problem here is that you're pretending that there's one standard, but since nobody has a way to test against the standard, it's not a real standard.

I have never heard of test suites.

98% of the world will install IE8

I am high as a kite.

Secretly? Here's what I think is going to happen.

Wait... you mean you can... see what I'm typing?

[Microsoft] will say, "look guys, we're really sorry, we really wanted IE8 standards mode to be the default, but we can't ship a browser that doesn't work."

Microsoft has always had the best interests of the web at heart. Microsoft has never encouraged web developers to use Microsoft-specific technologies. Microsoft has never shipped a browser that rendered pages differently than its predecessor and then let it stagnate for six years while the rest of the world moved on.

Or maybe they won't... in which case, IE is going to lose a lot of market share.

I know IE is going to continue to lose a lot of market share, and I'm publishing this now so I can blame you dirty fucking hippies for it later.

(as always, with apologies to John Gruber)

Update: this comment about Microsoft's (lack of) participation in HTML 5 may help you understand why I hold apologists like Joel in such low regard. Or it may not, but I don't know how to explain it any better than I already have.

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