rant of the day



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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2005-06-24 17:39:32

as i'm working on an HTML rendering engine right now, i often have to dig through the source code of pages that don't render right and try to figure out why. and i never cease to be amazed at how crappy some of this HTML code is. even on really big-name professional websites (cnn, the globe and mail, bbc, to name a few), there is some really broken HTML.

what amazes me even more is that despite such bad HTML, most browsers render the page without any problem. it's like the total opposite of strict type-checked languages. you can slap together some random tags, which may or may not be well-formed, and the major browsers can crunch it out into a decent-looking page.

the bad part about all this is that every new browser that is written must support all these broken pages in order to have a hope at being used by anybody (the problem i'm currently facing). this really raises the bar for browser developers, and allows the existing browsers to become even more entrenched. in the not-too distant future, i believe that it will be practically impossible to develop a new browser simply because of all this other crap that must be dealt with. only browsers that have evolved along with the languages and internet will be able to keep up.

as of right now, i can only think of a handful of HTML engines that are actually used.. there's IE, mozilla, opera, and safari/KHTML. that's it. there's a few others out there, but none that do a decent enough job to be used seriously. i was really amused when i found out netscape 8's main feature is that allows you to switch between the IE and mozilla rendering engines. they seem to have the right idea - screw making your own rendering engine, just grab a handful of existing ones and hope the page renders ok with one of them.

anyway, IE already threw in the towel with respect to innovation (IE 6 was supposed to be last IE ever), and now are only adding features in order to break even with others. i guess that leaves mozilla, opera, and safari as the future of internet browsing.

hm.. this post kind of rambled away from my rant, but whatever.

Posted by rohan at 2005-07-08 00:22:26
there's firefox too?
[ Reply to this ]
Posted by stak at 2005-07-08 18:34:40
but that uses the gecko rendering engine (same as mozilla).
[ Reply to this ]

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