Saturday, April 5, 2008

Save The Developers!!

Who is after them anyway? Well, the day is not yet here when AI programs can create programs themselves and you don't need developers to code. We are still years from what I call "Matrix" era programs ending the era of developers building applications. So what is the threat to developers? While some may think I may be talking about the credit crunch and the ongoing cost cutting going on in companies, even that is not the case. It is about the Web!

Save The Developers is a movement to bring about browsers that are web standards compliant. What do I mean by this? Well if you go through the Browser Usage Statistics at W3schools you find that 30% of the users still use IE 6. So what is the problem with that? I realized the problem when, a sample UI I had made for a web app, on my system at work, which has IE 6, was run on a colleague's notebook which has IE 7. The layout was completely haywire! Even though the W3C is working to bring in standards across the web, many companies (read Microsoft ;) )have implemented rendering and other features in their own way. IE 7, thanks to Mozilla Firefox, is I heard (not confirmed) more standards compliant than IE 6. Microsoft also showcased IE 8 this year and said it will be their most standards compliant browser yet. Huh! What the hell was Microsoft doing till now providing its own standards? My guess is that because Microsoft used have the single largest share in the browser market, they really didn't bother about the standards. After all, during the OOXML and ODF ISO Standards debate, one of the arguments Microsoft was giving was that "Office dominates on the desktop worldwide and that OOXML is a de facto standard anyway."
Perhaps Microsoft thought that with IE being the single largest browser over the years, it had won the Battle for the Browser by defeating Netscape, and that the standards would change to what Microsoft preached. But with Mozilla Firefox teaming up with Google, a new challenger had come which seemed a potent threat to IE's domination. And it was as the statistics tell you. So while Microsoft may try and show a face that it really is concerned about developers and their call for standards compliance it is because of competition that Microsoft has been forced to change its ways.

All said and done, it means that we now have more standards compliant browser available, from Microsoft and other vendors as well. But still we have a long way to go before you have to stop worrying as a web developer/designer about IE 6. So join the movement and upgrade your browser! And save the developers!!

P.S: Personally I prefer Mozilla Firefox, which you can download by clicking on the banner at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you may try the new Flock browser which you can download by clicking on the image to the right!

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