Why web standards can cripple the web
Recently Joe Hewitt, a well-known Facebook developer, sent out a series of tweets relating to the current state of the web and why it is evolving so slowly. He makes quite controversial statements such as that web standards actually cripple the web. He envisions the capabilities of open online technologies being just as powerful as native applications and says this won't be possible unless the way in which browsers innovate changes drastically. He essentially says that browsers should be adding their own browser-specific features (which is generally frowned upon by the web development community) and coming up with new ideas that do not fall within the W3C's and ECMA's specifications. The standards bodies should then come afterwords and clean up and structure these ideas and encourage all browsers to support them. Some other controversial statements he makes:
- Microsoft was doing innovative things with Internet Explorer until developers asked them to stick to the standards.
- IE 6 was a very innovative browser back in the day.
- Flash isn't evil. It simply saw a gap that web standards weren't filling and tried to make up for it.
- Forcing users to use a specific browser to use certain features on site may be better than the "since all browsers don't support it, I am not going to implement support for it" stance.
Again, the statements he makes are very controversial. But they are well substantiated and his arguments are backed up. Although I have never thought of things in this way, to me, what he says makes a lot of sense. Techcrunch did a great job of compiling these tweets here. It's a great read.