Christian Heilmann

Now vendor prefixes have become a problem, want to help fix it?

Today is a noisy day in the land of web development and the reason is a meeting of the W3C CSS working group where several people representing browsers discussed and agreed on supporting webkit prefixes in other browsers in order to “not break the web”. Read the notes of the meeting and search for vendor-prefix to get the original information.

This spurred Daniel Glazman, chair of the CSS working group to write a call to action to save the open web. Glazman has been opposed to the concept of vendor prefixes in the past and had some good arguments.

UK Developer and author Remy Sharp has a very detailed post on the subject called vendor prefixes about to go south where he discusses the dangers of supporting alien vendor prefixes in browsers.

Bruce Lawson also chimed in and actually has a quote that very much resonates also my feelings about the issue:

Personally – PERSONALLY – I’m pretty depressed about all this. I’ve spent 10 years – pretty much since IE6 came out – evangelising cross-browser, accessible, standards-based sites. As a development community we chased the Shiny and we caused IE6 to linger around[...] And now we’re doing the same again.

I took the opportunity to release something I already wrote in December, a call to arms to proactively fix browser-specific code on GitHub. Glazman disagreed with this approach but here is what I think:

This mess has partly been created by developers, the least we can do is help fix it. And it gives people a chance to help who are not planning to build their own massive library or solutions but care about making them work in the wider world of the WWW.

If there is one thing I learned so far is that “the only thing you need to support” on the web is a very fleeting concept. IE6 was the best and most amazing browser to support. WAP was the future, then imode, then XSLT to create HTML from XML… Do not believe the hype.