Web standards religion? What religion?

In a recent ZDNet column, John Carroll tells makers of alternative (meaning non-Internet Explorer) browsers to drop the religion. What religion is that?

Carroll claims his article was triggered by reading about The Web Standards Project’s recently launched Browse Happy campaign. The campaign aims to make people aware of the security flaws in Internet Explorer, and point them in the direction of more secure browsers, which also happen to be much more standards compliant. In summary, Carroll suggests that other browsers have to support every non-standard feature of IE to be successful, and that standards are a limiter on progress. Oh, really?

Particularly strange is his statement that Standards are designed as a means to ensure interoperability when such interoperability is necessary, not a limiter on progress.. I fully agree with that, but we seem to interpret it in completely different ways.

What is limiting the progress of the web right now? Most definitely not web standards. It’s Microsoft’s unwillingness to implement standards that have existed for years. The real problem is Internet Explorer, the new Netscape 4, the lowest common denominator when it comes to modern web development, supported only because of its market share. That’s what’s holding us back. Not web standards or the W3C.

Web standards are not a religion, and web standards advocates are not religious zealots. Web standards are about building a better web, accessible to anyone, no matter what browsing device they use. Web standards are about reducing development and maintenance costs and increasing reach.

I could go on and on, but instead I’ll point you to other responses to this. Dave Shea has posted A Response, noting that Jeff Croft has taken a close look at Carroll’s article and made some great comments in Carroll on Standards: Drop the Religion. Jeff’s post is excellent, and ends with this:

IE doesn’t do basic, long-standing CSS properly. Until it does, I’m not interested in Microsoft’s “bonus features.” Sorry, John.

Neither am I.

Posted on September 20, 2004 in Web Standards