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Mozilla says Apple, Google overshadowing open web

updated 06:20 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012

Devs call for action

Mozilla and several other browser developers have voiced concern over the dominance of WebKit-based browsers, notably Safari and Chrome. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) co-chairman Daniel Glazman suggests programmers have begun to disregard alternative browsers, such as Firefox and Internet Explorer, when optimizing website compatibility.

Developers from Mozilla and Microsoft admitted that they are being forced to use misleading WebKit labels, used by Apple and Google to represent "experimental" CSS properties, in an attempt to guarantee that some websites using newer CSS features will support Firefox and Internet Explorer.

"In many if not most cases, the [WebKit-labeled] properties WebKit-specific web sites are using do have [Mozilla, Microsoft, and Opera] equivalents," Glazman writes in a blog post. "Their web authors need only a few minutes to make the site compatible with Mozilla, Microsoft or Opera. But they never did it."

The problem is said to be particularly troublesome for mobile websites. Recent reports suggest the mobile browsers used by Android and iOS devices hold a combined total of 68 percent of the market.

Glazman argues that web programmers need to stop designing websites to work only with WebKit-based browsers, while Apple and Google have been asked to submit their experimental and proprietary CSS properties to the CSS Working Group so they can become part of the open standards.

"This situation happened in the past with IE6, when browsers were desktop-only, and it took ten long years to recover," Glazman added. "With billions of mobile browsers today, the Web may not recover at all." [via CNET]

by MacNN Staff



  1. cashxx

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Always had to do special tricks for IE to work properly! Tables of turned!

  1. dashiel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad web designers...

    ...still design bad web sites. News at 11. It’s a great test when hiring a web developer look at their most recent source code if you only see -webkit vendor prefixes then move along.

  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Funny.. this was never an problem when the web was IE-Only coded!! Uhhhh... bad Apple (and Google) again...
    If the CSS naming is not approved quickly enough, do something about the approval process!

  1. facebook_David

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    Am I wrong?

    I seem to remember that Webkit was a web development environment that was created by Apple and released into the wild (open source). Am I wrong?

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This from the same guys that refuse to use h.264 and have fractured the web with webm. Die Firefox Die.

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I don't see the problem nor understand it ? it is a free market , if webkit is a standard , it is popular and the masses use it, and like it, then thats what developers should work with. if your not using a popular standard then don't cry that everyone else should change.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Never thought I'd see the day

    Having been a web coder for a decade and a half now, I can't put in to words how gleeful it makes me to read a story that, with a straight face, calls IE an "alternative browser" that isn't getting proper testing. Or, for that matter, that the "monopoly" example is aggressively standards-compliant AND open-source. Yeah, tragedy.

    Yes, a fully standards-based web is a good thing. But if Webkit adheres to standards and you code to standards and it looks right in webkit, it will, ergo, look exactly as right in any other HTML5/CSS3 compliant browser as well. So there's nothing at all to complain about.

    The problem, of course, comes when the standards body drags its feet in ratification of things like CSS transform properties--they've been specced in a preliminary form for a while, but until it gets out of bureaucratic limbo we're stuck with -webkit-transform if we want to actually, you know, USE things in the real world.

    It's really ironic, too, because for years CSS2 had advanced features that nothing supported in the real world, and now that the real world isn't being shackled by IE it has vastly outrun the standards body.

    Also, if FF had accepted h264 I might listen, but after that monumental "s**** you" in the face of practical implementation, I've lost any love for their steering body.

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