You probably don’t need me to tell you about today’s issue of A List Apart, but just in case you hit this entry in your feed reader before reaching the ALA feed, head on over. If you have anything to do with web development, there’s news of a coming change that you absolutely need to read.
I know there will be many people who disagree with my take on version targeting. As did I, at first. Originally I wasn’t even going to be part of this ALA issue but as I argued with Aaron about it on the ALA editorial board and started to shift my perspective, we realized that having someone document that thinking process would be valuable. So I did.
Already I’ve seen a lot of negative reactions to the idea, and they remind me of my initial reactions. That’s not to say that my views are more advanced, nor that everyone will eventually come to the same way of thinking. It’s entirely possible that after due rational consideration, many people will come to the conclusion exactly opposite my own. I still thought it might be useful to share my thoughts on the matter as someone who has been concerned about browser compatibility and standards advancement for a very long time now.
Comments are closed here, but discussion is open at ALA.
Update: I wanted to point to some other material about this topic. I’ll probably keep updating this as time goes on.
Compatibility and IE8 — a post by Chris Wilson about the challenges faced by browsers when advancing standards, and the particular situation experienced in the IE7 deployment. You don’t have to agree with the conclusions, but understanding the problem is important.
The versioning switch is not a browser detect — this is vitally important to any hope of useful debate on this topic. I tried to clearly make the same point in my ALA article, but reiteration doesn’t hurt.
Broken — Jeremy objects to the default behavior. I actually agree with him, and made that case at length with a member of the IE team. I couldn’t make what I wanted square with their requirements, and came to see that I couldn’t, and was deeply saddened by it. I sincerely hope that Jeremy, or indeed anyone, can succeed where I failed.
That Red-headed Monster Next to You? Yeah, that’s Anger — no, I didn’t link this because of the hair-color reference. I’ve been deeply disheartened by the overall tenor of the reaction. Disagreement is fine, in fact welcomed; but the level of vitriol, name-calling, and outright personal attacks came as a rude and unwelcome surprise.