I'm a hypocrite (and I like it)

This is one big long rant and bounces around a bit but stay with me :)

I'll admit it I'm a hypocrite when it comes to web development. I'll rant and rave about about standards compliance and the right way to do things.


Then I'll turn right around and use tables for layout, and add my own namespaced attributes to HTML elements and then tell people not to worry about standards mode and XHTML validation.


You might ask how I can do this and look myself in the mirror, especially some of you that have been on the the receiving end of the ranting, well let me tell you there are three very important reasons.


TIME and MONEY you never have enough, neither does your boss/company/client/etc. And you need to finish the current project you are on yesterday and get started on the next project the day before that , sound familiar ;)

Getting to 95% standards compliance is easy, that last 5% is what is the killer, and nobody even cares except some buggy W3C validator.


XHTML is not the solution to a problem that concerns anybody except the guys who have to write
parsers that convert markup into DOM trees.

Building a tableless layout is all great and good. Except then you have to spend extra time and effort QA'ing because the different browsers render CSS different, or not at all (more on that later).
Even if the newest browser version renders things better if you are like most people and want to reach the biggest audience then you need to support older browsers for a long time (IE 6 is not going away anytime soon).

REALITY is the 800 pound gorilla and that gorilla's main branch to beat you over the head with is my favorite, the most useful and most ubiquitous piece of software in the world, the web browser.

It's not my fault I didn't do it.

MS did it with IE.
Netscape did it with Netscape. (RIP)
Mozila Group did it with Firefox.
Apple did with Safari.
Opera did with Opera.

And what did they do?

They are the ones that don't render things correctly and even more importantly they don't render consistently , and let me tell you the big secret, they probably never will unless they all decide to start using the same rendering engine, which isn't going to happen, and truthfully shouldn't, competition is good and will result in better browsers. Look how much better IE7 is compared to IE6 and IE 8 just passed the ACID 2 test which is huge, and the reason for these improvements because Firefox is so much better than IE, at least for now.

Don't get my wrong standards compliance is a worthy goal, but like most things in this world it's the journey not the destination that is the worthier part.

As you strive to get to 100% standards compliance your page weight goes down, your CSS gets separated out of the HTML to where it belongs. And the closer you get the easier it is but it's a never ending process, HTML 5 will be here sooner than you know it, and this will start over again.

On APEX's end we will continue to make sure the HTML we generate is as close as we can make it to XHTML compliant as we can while still supporting the widest range of browsers in the easiest way.



  1. Dan McGhan said...

    I have to assume that I'm at least partially responsible for this post ;) I have a confession... After having tested Paul's solution, which accomplished exactly what I asked for, it turned out to only fix one of the two problems. Impromptu still failed to "fade" the entire screen (if you scrolled down it was still white).

    However, the img shim you suggested, which NEARLY accomplished exactly what I asked for, worked to fix both issues. And the winner is... img shim where height="500px". It seems that some of the old tricks that all the browsers understand still work best.

    Now if I could only get some of that TIME and MONEY back!

    Carl Backstrom said...

    Ha yeah that thread was part of it but definitely not the only one. I put in a bunch of other links to point out some other instances, it's just come up a couple times in the last week.

    You should see my IM logs about these sorts of things, you could write a novel with them.

    The main thing I want is for people to be pragmatic about browser development, and not make it harder than it needs to be.

    I'm all for standards and would love to build everything standard compliance, but if it comes down to a job taking 10 minutes or 2 hours and done I'll take 10 minutes every time.

    Anonymous said...
    "TIME and MONEY you never have enough, neither does your boss/company/client/etc."

    TIME maybe limited, but at least when it comes to MONEY both Oracle and Microsoft have it in abundance, don't they?

    Carl Backstrom said...
    >>both Oracle and Microsoft have it in abundance

    I can't speak for MS or even Oracle as a whole but I think the key wording I used is

    >> you never have enough

    Plus even if Oracle has a ton of money my department > group > boss > me doesn't and never will have enough of either.

    Truthfully when it gets to my level I'm more worried about Time , but I guarantee if I start wasting money I'll here about it.

    Plus the old saying Time = Money comes into play.

    I know your comment is tongue in cheek but I'm trying to make a point!!!!!!!! :)


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