Anne van Kesteren

WaSP: Blah

First they bash the Opera 9 alpha release stating that the new controls (date pickers etc) are completely inaccessible by keyboard which is just not true. (They are not really usable, but they are accessible, certainly.) The Web Standards Project never made any rectification with regard to this. Blah. On the other hand, (early) beta releases from Microsoft are easily defended. They even have a Task Force together with Microsoft.

Secondly, what do they do on meetings with Microsoft? Bashing Firefox for not adding support for Acid2 in an almost final version of Firefox 1.5. And stating in the same post how understandable it is that Internet Explorer will not have support for it. Blah. Again.

No mentioning whatsoever about Opera and Firefox adding support for SVG. No, XAML is what is really interesting. Talking about standards…


  1. I won't mention in public what I really think about some of the WaSP goings on as I'd be accused of various things. Though I do agree somewhere there seems to be favouritism encroaching.

    Posted by Robert Wellock at

  2. You make a good point.

    Posted by Turnip at

  3. Okay, fair enough to have a different opinion than mine (which by the way you are mostly relating here, not WaSP opinion).

    So please tell me what you would do differently were you in my shoes? Instead of just criticizing, how about being constructive and participating in some way in the discussion.

    Anne, you've always been a valuable resource. Bashing WaSP and specifically my opinions on behalf of WaSP, doesn't do much but create more antagonism.

    Would you like to join us in our next round of meetings? Will you take time out of your busy life and spend your own money as we all do to join us at SXSW and advocate for a different perspective. Because that's how we do it at WaSP.

    There are those that say and those that do. I might not always do what you want, but I'm always going to want to consider very seriously what you have to say.

    Posted by Molly E. Holzschlag at

  4. That's odd - last time I checked the WaSP homepage it was raving about Opera 9 being one bug short of passing the Acid 2 test.

    Posted by Chris Hester at

  5. last time I checked the WaSP homepage it was raving about Opera 9 being one bug short of passing the Acid 2 test.

    Precisely. Anne has singled out the one negative comment that I made in that post.

    Just after I posted on the WaSP site I received an email from Håkon Wium Lie (your boss) thanking me for "blogging Opera's progress on Acid2". Perhaps you should check with your superiors before making criticisms of this kind?

    P.S. As per your suggestion, I'll change "inaccessible" to "unusable" in my description of the Web Forms 2.0 implementation.

    Posted by Dean Edwards at

  6. I think it's great that Anne's pointing out inconsistencies that he sees in the behaviour of a particularly influential organization. After all, without checks and balances where's the democracy of the 'net?

    If anything, people in positions of influence should listen very carefully to those who are part of the grass-roots for whom they are ultimately expending their efforts, instead of changing the subject, pointing in other directions and pulling rank.

    Posted by Ara Pehlivanian at

  7. After all, without checks and balances where's the democracy of the 'net?

    Agreed. But that cuts both ways.

    Posted by Dean Edwards at

  8. Obviously Anne himself has a bias, he does work for Opera. WaSP has acknowledged the excellent work that Opera and Mozilla has done. When dealing with web standards and operability - WaSP SHOULD be focusing on Microsoft, that's where the problems currently lie.

    But Molly, when you talk about XAML and neglect to even mention SVG and its recent advances into the web in many browsers (Firefox, Opera, soon Safari?), what does that say? What is WaSP's position on SVG? Is WaSP on Microsoft's case to enable support of SVG in a future version of IE?

    Posted by Jeff Schiller at

  9. Agreed. But that cuts both ways.

    I agree wholeheartedly that it cuts both ways—a fundamental of democracy after all is equal right to express opinions for all concerned, n'est pas?

    There is however one caveat. I believe strongly that the above is true really only among equals. When you're in a position of power/influence, the onus is on you to listen carefully to your constituents due to your greater ability to act, than the other who can only voice his/her opinion.

    Posted by Ara Pehlivanian at

  10. Jeff,

    Good questions all, and worthy of keeping for our open meeting in a few months.

    Remember, this was just a report on Microsoft and the things *I* was able to focus on in the couple of hours we had. Unfortunately as we all know, and Chris Wilson states in plain language, Microsoft has a long way to go.

    If we aren't bitching about a browser, that's either because it's pretty good or because they aren't engaging us in conversation. The two browser companies that have been most responsive, active, and interested in WaSP have been Opera and Microsoft. Safari is doing well, so we don't really talik with them so much, and while Rafael Ebron from Mozilla has been chatting with me for a long time, despite several efforts to engage developers from Firefox in a dialog, nothing has moved forward.

    So maybe my little snit at them will help that.

    Microsoft needs the most help right now. That's why I personally put so much focus and try to encourage them. They are open to it, so why not? Trust me, if the need to really sting them comes around at some point - which it likely will - then they'll get stung. In the meantime, progress is progress, however slow and incomplete it might look.

    Posted by Molly E. Holzschlag at

  11. The WaSP didn’t really seem to mind that the IEBlog team can’t even spell application/xhtml+xml.

    I’m sorry to say that it really hurt their credibility for me.

    Or maybe I’m mistaken and there really is an "application/xml+xhtml" media type. Although it does seem to have been invented there and then.

    Posted by Sébastien at

  12. Anne Spelt with an E has a point. However, so does WaSP. Opera was a standards-aware browser maker; Microsoft was not. Opera's getting things half-right was proportionately worse than IE's getting things one-tenth-right. We had expectations, and they were different for the two companies.

    Posted by Joe Clark at

  13. In the spirit of A List Apart's: To Hell With Bad Browsers, I think that everyone should be held to the same standard. Whether they've come a long way or not. The question is: "do they conform?"

    Or am I missing something here?

    Posted by Ara Pehlivanian at

  14. Everyone please relax, Anne was just stating his opinion, as was Dean. I believe no ones intentions were to intentionally bash anyone in particular. I think at the end of the day we can all come together and make things (browsers, standards) better ;o)

    Posted by Tim Callahan at

  15. Molly, agreed. Stating what the WaSP should not do is not very helpful. (As it has already occured.) I hope to get back to this. Blah, this sounds so formal. I have some opinions on what I would like the WaSP to do (and they do not involve bashing the browser that has not yet been bashed) and I might publish them here. Going to SXSW might be fun. I would have the check if I have enough money though and more importantly, it if does not clash with other meetings or university stuff.

    Dean, would you please think of the cat pictures? As in, this is my personal weblog. This is not the weblog from the person who hired me, who is not my direct manager and I can say whatever I want as long as it does not violate various NDAs. Also, picking the negative part of the post was exactly my intent, thanks for noticing.

    Thanks also to Chris for missing the point, Robert, Jon and Ara for their support, Jeff for making a counterpoint, Sébastien for pointing out something ugly, Joe for spelling my name and something about expectations and Tim for calming everyone down. It has been fun.

    Posted by Anne at

  16. Okay, big hug everyone! ;-) (sorry 'bout the abrasiveness)

    Posted by Ara Pehlivanian at

  17. I have to agree that WaSP isn't really pleasing me anymore. They're cutting Microsoft and IE way too much slack, and expect way too much from FF in a sort amount of time. They don't care about Opera. It's just a disaster.

    Posted by Ethan Poole at

  18. Anne, it would be great if you could be at SXSW. But even if you cannot attend, I'd be very happy to relay your questions and concerns. Please feel free to post them here, email them to me personally, or to organize them and submit them via WaSP once we set up the question form for SXSW - still a bit in the future as we're focused on many other priorities at the moment. Representing a variety of perspectives is part of what WaSP likes to do, part of the reason we are opening up our meeting to the public, will be adding comments to our upcoming redesign, and so on. The conversation does need to include diverse opinions and perspectives as that only makes the situation richer and allows us all to see where bridges need to be build and compromises need to be made.

    I'd like to add that I've always appreciated that you both speak your mind and are very open to feedback. It's interesting that people talk about the responsibility of influence in this thread. We all do bear a certain responsibility in that, and I'm glad we're able to disagree at times but retain respect. It's that attitude that can help solve problems rather than stay in them.

    I really do hope you get to come out for SXSW. It'll be very nice to meet you.

    Posted by Molly E. Holzschlag at

  19. You know I think WaSP is right to focus on XAMP. That's because Microsoft are still the dominant force in the browser world, whether we like it or not. So whatever they invent will be used by millions, who think the internet is IE because it comes with Windows. SVG is wonderful but many users have probably never heard of it. Nor the Acid Test. Alas market forces dictate what groups like the WaSP should be focussing on. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Posted by Chris Hester at

  20. Sorry, I meant XAML.

    Posted by Chris Hester at

  21. So whatever they invent will be used by millions.

    That may not be necessarily true. Microsoft has invented and shipped many very innovative technologies that are rarely used. HTC behaviors come to mind. Chances are they will develop and support the XAML technology but won't push it as the future standard.

    Posted by Menno at

  22. They will push XAML alright, if not only as a counter against XUL

    Posted by Momos at

  23. They won't have to push XAML because it's the underlying framework of all their upcoming tools including their vector-based visual design program, "Quartz" and just about anything else built on the Windows platform.

    While they've included a platform subset that uses JavaScript, it's still tied to the XAML underbelly and as a result might, while in theory allow for more cross-browser, interoperable development, throw us right back into a "nice idea for Microsoft but how about the rest of us?"

    Bottom line, XAML goes against the heart and spirit of the Web. It is a Web application language that is platform, vendor, OS, device and user agent specific.

    No matter what WaSP does or doesn't do, no matter how we struggle to build bridges where we can, the sad fact is that Microsoft's business practices are antithetical to the Web. I've never believed otherwise, and my defense of Microsoft developers has a whole lot more to do with advocating the inclusion of standards in their products, improving support for standards, and hoping against hope that at the very least, the browsers and tools they develop will at least allow for some modicum of interoperability. I wish it could be different, but taking on Microsoft business practices has notoriously failed time and again, and with George W. Bush at the helm, even the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) complaints against Microsoft have not-so-mysteriously disappeared from the table.

    Posted by Molly E. Holzschlag at

  24. Perhaps you should check with your superiors before making criticisms of this kind?

    B(l)ah. This is Anne’s personal blog, he is entitled to his personal opinion. He is not owned by Opera. What a stupid comment.

    Oh, and XAML is bad for the web, but as an underlying technology for an OS it is great (just like XUL is great for Mozilla).


    Posted by Laurens Holst at

  25. Why bother about Microsoft and web standards? They dont car for them and tbh i think they will only cuddle up till IE7 is out when they will retreat back into their shell again knowing IE7 is "good enough" for a few years.

    They have no interest in standards as the will simply say "use XAML as the web is a mess, but we have a solution". They will tie you up till that vision is ready for deployment.

    Posted by Dekks Herton at

  26. I never understood all this buzz about the Web Standards Project, Jeffrey Zeldman, or Molly Holzschlag. Especially the last one seems not to like hearing critics (here or on the W3C mailing lists), but insists on doing advertising for Microsoft, but none for other (better) browsers.

    Posted by Ano Nymous at

  27. Let's face it - the only reason for Microsoft to push any new technology is to sell more copies of Windows. Hence they will deliver cool new programs and languages that only work on that platform. They hope this will entice users to go for Windows as opposed to Mac or Linux etc.

    This has worked in the past to some degree with the essentialability of Office. But along came the internet, which blew away their business model. Here was something they couldn't control, something they couldn't buy up, or replicate themselves. It seems that ever since the internet became big, they have struggled with the basic concept of it - free, open source, multiple platform, standards driven, etc.

    Who really cares about IE7, for example, when you can download any free browser and use it? What's more, browsers like Firefox and Opera work on many different OSs. You can even put them on memory sticks. But Microsoft would prefer you only used IE and therefore Windows.

    Where they go from there I don't know. I can't help feeling their empire is irreversably crippled, despite continuing healthy sales. I've no doubt that Vista will do well, but every year Mac and Linux get bigger and bigger. Hmmm...

    Note: you might also claim Apple are acting like Microsoft with Safari, which only works on a Mac.

    Posted by Chris Hester at

  28. "how about being constructive and participating in some way in the discussion?" -- Molly

    How about enabling comments on the Wasp blog, adding a forum to the Wasp site, or some other way for people to "participate in the discussion" without having to fly out to Texas in person?

    For those of us who don't have the money, time and/or inclination to travel round the world to take part in this way, surely making a post on one's own website is participating in the discussion?

    Posted by Chris Hunt at

  29. Chris wins.

    It's pretty clear that WaSP isn't interested in discussion from lowly worker bees.

    Posted by nobody important at