Steve Workman's Blog

The importance of cooperation

Posted on by Steve Workman About 2 min reading time

This weekend, London Web Standards manage to get evangelists from all of the major browsers in a panel to talk about their companies' products. After a week of Opera bashing for being the first vendor to alias webkit CSS prefixes it was a sight for sore eyes. Thing is, from what I've observed, this is how things usually are between the vendors.

Sure, there were a few cutting comments about each other's browsers, but they were all very friendly, no one actively dislikes the other's browser. These guys are all good friends. When Bruce Lawson walked in a little late, Chris Heilman noticed, got up and gave Bruce a Playbook and a big hug. This kind of respect and friendship helps make the web happen, so that when different HTML5 specs come to the W3C, they can genuinely listen to each other, and come up with the right solution. This is how specs like the new layout modules will be resolved.

However, there's always a gap in the panel, generally represented by the panelist from Opera eating an Apple. Tr maker of the second most popular mobile browser, Safari, do not have a public-facing evangelism /developer relations function and do not send representatives to these kind of events. If you've tried to book an Apple rep for an event before the answer is as follows, "tr event will take place at an Apple campus, every attendee will sign an NDA and no tweeting or blogging or discussion of what was said will be allowed". This is unacceptable to almost every meetup group and conference that I know of, so they fon't turn up. With the stability of HTML5 being in such a fragile state, this cannot continue.

Apple's absence is starting to cause problems. A good question to tr panel about mobile safari becoming the new IE6 and that Apple don't do betas or announce features in advance went unanswered because there was no Apple rep to defend them. The only time that apple do represent themselves is at w3c meetings where they push new standards through. But they haven't engaged the community and so the reaction to their ideas by the community can be negative. Put simply, I believe that Apple's policy of not discussing their browser in public is damaging to the industry, and will lead to another IE66 situation