We promised to keep an open eye on the Web Standards Project. This is an independent group of Web developers who “fight for standards that reduce the cost and complexity of development while increasing the accessibility and long-term viability of any site published on the Web. We work with browser companies, authoring tool makers, and our peers to deliver the true power of standards”. In the past we have found Wasp to be exceedingly forgiving of Microsoft – given that Redmond stopped all development on IE for 5 years including meeting long ago promised Web standards while holding up a whole array of new web developments from SVG to JavaScript 2.0 and E4X. See the details here.

In their reviews of IE7 beta and its adherence to standards, WaSP appeared to be apologists for the paltry moves to standards by the IE Team. In effect Wasp seemed to find acceptable that IE7 and Redmond development tools would fall woefully short on implementing even long overdue CSS fixes, with nothing on JavaScript and E4X, no DOM rationalizations, no SVG nor XForms …. So what is WaSP fighting for now?

Whats the Latest WaSP Buzz

WaSP is covering the latest Microsoft “tweak” to IE to comply with the EOLAS patent. Now this is important because two years ago roughly at this time Microsoft proposed some pretty draconian cures for complying with the EOLAS patent. So did C.Kaminski in his posting tell us what these tweaks are ? No. No description of the tweaks but a brief assessment of the impact:
As a result, millions of web pages will have to be modified lest visitors be forced to click a button on a dialogue in order to view, say, Flash banner ads. While some may see blocking Flash banners by default as a feature, advertisers — and consequently the folks buidling web pages that carry their ads — disagree quite strongly.

The article did link to a CNET report that reported on the same topic but still did not provide any examples of the code required. Here is where you want to go – and as you will see it is more than “a tweak”. There is potentially a huge amount of work for Java, Flash and other plugin developers. As for Safari, Opera, and FireFox users – because of a different plugins/extensions structure they are not affected. But this is a moot point – with IE still having nearly 80% market share – most developers will have to change their Embed, Applet and Object tag references. The details on exactly how will be forthcoming.

Oh and thanks again to WaSP for minimalist coverage of this issue – both in helping readers understand the implications of “the tweak” and in assessing what were Microsofts and the Web communitys options here.

Now dont get me wrong, WaSP does good stuff – just check out their 24 ways site. But as for defending Web Standards …. uhh they appear to be a cross between Peter Sellers multiple roles in A Mouse That Roared and The Three (or 23) Stooges.

(c)JBSurveyer 2005