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Microsoft Complains That WebKit Breaks Web Standards 373

Billly Gates writes "In a bizarre, yet funny and ironic move, Microsoft warned web developers that using WebKit stagnates open standards and innovation on the Web. According to the call to action in its Windows Phone Developer Blog, Microsoft is especially concerned about the mobile market, where many mobile sites only work with Android or iOS with WebKit-specific extensions. Their examples include W3C code such as radius-border, which is being written as -WebKit-radius-border instead on websites. In the mobile market WebKit has a 90% marketshare, while website masters feel it is not worth the development effort to test against browsers such as IE. Microsoft's solution to the problem of course is to use IE 10 for standard compliance and not use the proprietary (yet open source) WebKit."
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Microsoft Complains That WebKit Breaks Web Standards

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  • by ewanm89 ( 1052822 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @11:32AM (#42019053) Homepage

    And webkit prefix is supposed to be either not yet ratified in the standard features, or for internal rendering, opera and firefox have similar prefixed extensions. What Microsoft did in the past is even more heinous and used already ratified statements in ways contrary to the specifications, requiring IE comment hacks so other browsers don't see corrections needed to get IE to display properly.

    Oh, and before anything gets ratified by W3C there needs to be a reference implementation, this is why prefixes are a good thing, now web developers using them without understanding the repercussions, that needs to stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @11:36AM (#42019085)

    WebKit is doing exactly what Microsoft accuses it of. They are developing their own extensions and putting them out as webkit- prefixed. Of course Microsoft shouldn't try to implement these non-standard extensions but use the standard ones. This is why I see nothing "funny" or "bizarre" about it, other than for the fact that WebKit is now doing exactly what everyone hated IE doing years ago.

    No that is not what webkit is doing. The dominance of webkit AND the reluctance of web developers to include and update the various STANDARD extensions on their websites is what is causing the situation Microsoft is complaining about. And to be clear, it isn't only Microsoft complaining, Opera complained about the exact situation months ago. And there is no web company more standards compliant than Opera. The situation is so bad that Opera has gone to include in its own renderer support for webkit-options because the web developers are too fucking lazy to include the -o- prefix and later update the prefix. So in this battle Microsoft is correct, regardless of what they have done in the past.
    Saying "just code to webkit" is preposterous and it negates the benefit of have a standard at all. Having and supporting a standard means you can have different implementations that support that standard. And it doesn't really matter wether the standard is open or closed. Standard means standard. So fucking lazy web developers start updating your websites to respect the STANDARD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @11:51AM (#42019195)

    Microsoft is not quite right, or at least Microsoft is not right to lay the blame for this at webkit's feet. And webkit is not doing the same as what Microsoft used to do at all. The fact that web developers are using the "-webkit-" prefixed CSS directives rather than the W3C standardised equivalents, etc., is down to the web developers, not webkit. Prefixing a non-standard CSS directive with "-webkit-" or "-moz-" or "-khtml-" in your browser's CSS engine is absolutely the correct thing to do: it marks out the non-standard directives as such, and easily distinguishes them from the standard ones, which have no such prefix. Typically this was done by conscientious browser vendors to implement proposed CSS standards ahead of their ratification without breaking things if the final ratified standard changed between when the vendor first implemented it and its ratification. It was a very common thing among browsers that cared about keeping up with standards, and was the "approved" way of doing it.

    As far as I know webkit supports all nor near-as-dammit all standardised CSS, including cases where it used to provide its own non-standard, prefixed directive for the same functionality prior to that functionality being standardised (for example, "-webkit-border-radius" works in webkit, but so does "border-radius"). Again, the fact that developers continue to use the non-standardised versions is down to them not updating their websites to keep up with the standard, it's not down to webkit not supporting the standard.

    What IE used to do was to completely ignore the standards and implement whatever they wanted any way they wanted. So IE would implement a CSS directive that was defined by the W3C standard, but in its own way *without* using the "-ie-" prefix that would have marked it out as a non-standard directive. In other words, they broke the standard. The reason this behaviour was way worse than what webkit does is that, owing to its dominance in the desktop browser market, developers had little choice but to do things the IE way despite what the standard said should happen. In the present situation in the mobile browser market, webkit is not forcing developers to do things their way, they support the standards. That developers don't is down to them and says something about how much pressure their work time is under (or how lazy they are), but says little to nothing about webkit abusing its dominant position. The worst you can say about webkit is that possibly they are being slow to remove support for the non-standard versions of CSS directives that have since been standardised. But only possibly, and I personally don't think this is the case.

    So sure, Microsoft is right, it should not try to implement anything with a "-webkit-" prefix, or any other non-standard prefix for that matter. But the reason this is an issue is not down to webkit and trying to blame webkit for it is disingenuous. It's bizarre because for Microsoft to be claiming this is massively hypocritical. It's funny because the chickens are coming home to roost and it's always funny to see the bully with egg on his face.

  • by gaspyy ( 514539 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @11:59AM (#42019245)

    Man, I don't know why I even bother to visit Slashdot these days. Everything is so much misinformation that you're wiser not reading anything.

    If anything, this post is like the one from yesterday about rooting the Nexus 4 phone.

    Here's the deal: Some CSS properties, before becoming standard, have vendor-specific prefixes, like -moz, -webkit, -ms and -o. Sometimes their syntax is different (for example with gradients), or things like border-radius-top-left vs border-top-left-radius. As they become standardized. the prefix is dropped.

    Now, MS is advising developers to include the W3C-standard property name instead of (or in addition to) the vendor-specific one.

    To give a simple example, MS supports the W3C standard border-radius, but if the developer only targets -webkit-border-radius, it will work only in webkit. BTW, webkit also supports W3C border-radius, so there's currently no reason to use the prefix, at least on this property.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:06PM (#42019315)

    It still doesn't change that for mobile web we are in process of repeating the "only works right in IE6" disaster

    Bullshit. The webkit prefix is to test proposed parts of CSS that haven't been fully ratified yet. With IE6, Microsoft took the standard and designed internet explorer to exhibit non-standard behavior. With webkit, things are working the way they should, with the yarn MS is spinning here, you get the former bully with fresh egg on its face being the consummate hypocrite.

  • by Gadget27 ( 1931378 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:50PM (#42019681)
    For what its worth, I'm on Windows 8, thus I have IE10. I ran acidtest3, and believe it or not, it did score 100. I may not be the reputable source you are looking for... but I was just as surprised as you may be with the result. IE's been off my radar for too long for me to care either way though.
  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:05PM (#42020355) Homepage Journal

    Let's also remind ourselves how Microsoft continues to hurt itself. It continues to have the web browser integrated with its OS and UI.

    Actually that hasn't been true since Vista. The OS does include a HTML rendering component but it is separate from IE and only supports a subset of the full HTML standard. Partly it was for security reasons, partly because trying to keep the two together would have held IE back. It is that engine that other applications can access and that the OS uses for things like displaying .chm help files. Windows Update no long uses it at all.

    MS Office hasn't used the IE renderer for a long time either. There is a separate one that was developed for Word's HTML support and that is now used in Outlook and other apps as well.

    So integrated isn't quite the right word. Bundled might be better.

  • by ericloewe ( 2129490 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @02:57PM (#42020821)

    Acid 3 was remade a few months ago so that all then modern browsers (Specifically FF and IE9 which "only" got 96 or so) would get 100%. So until Acid 4, all browsers pass all Acid tests.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @03:05PM (#42020907)

    I've got mod points, and would mod the comment "Informative" since most of the statement deserves it - but that "OK, you're a moron" comment you chose to include at the beginning really has no place in intelligent discourse.

  • Re:Glacial pace (Score:5, Informative)

    by theedgeofoblivious ( 2474916 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @03:16PM (#42020997)

    Mod parent way up.

    CSS3 prefixes are something that's added to a CSS property if support for the final standard isn't complete, so you end up with things like

    border-radius: 15px;
    -moz-border-radius: 15px;
    -ms-border-radius: 15px;
    -o-border-radius: 15px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 15px;

    Vendor prefixes are something that's done by every vendor [] for testing. That includes Microsoft. Here's a page from MSDN with a Microsoft representative explaining that: []

    As you may know, all browsers have a set of CSS features that are either considered a vendor extension (e.g. -ms-interpolation-mode), are partial implementations of properties that are fully defined in the CSS specifications, or are implementation of properties that exist in the CSS specifications, but aren’t completely defined. According to the CSS 2.1 Specification, any of the properties that fall under the categories listed previously must have a vendor specific prefix, such as '-ms-' for Microsoft, '-moz-' for Mozilla, '-o-' for Opera, and so on.

    As part of our plan to reach full CSS 2.1 compliance with Internet Explorer 8, we have decided to place all properties that fulfill one of the following conditions behind the '-ms-' prefix:

    If the property is a Microsoft extension (not defined in a CSS specification/module)
    If the property is part of a CSS specification or module that hasn’t received Candidate Recommendation status from the W3C
    If the property is a partial implementation of a property that is defined in a CSS specification or module
    This change applies to the following properties, and therefore they should all be prefixed with '-ms-' when writing pages for Internet Explorer 8 (please note that if Internet Explorer 8 users are viewing your site in Compatibility View, they will see your page exactly as it would have been rendered in Internet Explorer 7, and in that case the prefix is neither needed nor acknowledged by the parser):

    If a site designer doesn't code things correctly by also including the CSS property *without* vendor-specific prefixes that's a problem with the quality of the site designer and not with Safari.

  • by allo ( 1728082 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @03:25PM (#42021069)

    > GTK hasn't been GIMP-specific forever
    It was started as toolkit for gimp. Guess what the G stands for in GTK+.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @03:30PM (#42021115) Homepage

    What Microsoft did in the past is even more heinous and used already ratified statements in ways contrary to the specifications, requiring IE comment hacks so other browsers don't see corrections needed to get IE to display properly.

    Actually some of the early and major differences started because Microsoft was the first to implement certain standards (CSS1, IE4 days), but Netscape being bigger at the time implemented the standard differently, and had W3C clarify the standard effectively making the original Microsoft implementation incorrect (the NS shenanigans is why width and height in CSS now specifies the content size and not the border-box which would be more useful)

    Later things reversed and MS really did what you accuse them of, but this stuff goes back longer, and with the bad guy changing more times than you think.

  • Re:Glacial pace (Score:4, Informative)

    by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @05:36PM (#42021955) Journal

    border-radius is part of the CSS Backgrounds and Borders Module of CSS 3, and as such, is still just a candidate recommendation -- hence is NOT a standard yet at least as of July 24, 2012. []

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @08:09PM (#42022855)

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