Fast forward a couple of years, the same thing happened. IE had won the war, it was at some ridiculous percentage, and Microsoft proposed VML. Again, the W3C decided they didn't care about vector graphics on the web, and decided to reject the solution already available on 99% of the installed browsers and go with SVG. Which is vastly equivalent, except that it forbade use of vector graphics for more than a decade. I don't know whether it was malice or stupidity; I bet it was both, with a pinch of the "stick it to the big guy" sentiment.
While i enjoyed and agreed with most of your post, and I also agree about your recounting of the VML/SVG saga, I think the outcome should have been different. Once the w3c went with SVG, Microsoft should have swallowed their pride, and go with it as soon as they could. They should have dropped VML as hot potatoes, which is what actually happened, 10 years of damage to the web later.
Just to amplify your point about the w3c, HTML5 did not come from them but from a different source.
I used to think that the saga was caused on purpose by Microsoft to sabotage the web, after all a truly open web conflicts with Microsoft business plan. But then i remember "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity".
So what's your take on the "dark years of the net". Was it dark? Is it still dark? etc.
What do we know for a fact? Here's my little list:
- IE4 was a true marvel (I am serious) after all it brought CSS and DHTML and other stuff.
- The IE team was mainly disbanded after IE6 to work on dotnet.
- Front page and Office were great tools that spat out IE-only code.
But C# wasn't invented by a *nix guy. I think the reason C# has lower traction and a smaller community then it should have had is a deep mistrust of Microsoft. A mistrust which Microsoft deserve it seems, after the "we own patents on computing, so pay us" financially successful campaign. I really believe the engineers who crafted C# and dotnet, see this and weep.
EDIT: I know Miguel de Icaza sees/saw this as a sorry state of affairs.
In case you are missing all the buzz these days, not that hype is necessarily a good thing, let me try to share what I think is sizzling now.
First question, when it comes to programming, where is your candy-store? You might say here, there and there. That's ok and expected, but I think this and this have some sweets for all, and is a bit bigger
Look at this page and get your answer (which most posters included BTW, and you said you didn't like).
JS is closer to lisp/scheme then Java, and you can create something like this with it.
I mean that yahoo's patent trolling has gone flat on its face. And the media calls it a "spat" which suggest some symmetry here. There is no symmerty. Yahoo was trolling, and Microsoft too. The only thing to notice is there are no Microsoft employees with balls like Crockford.
Even theinquirer got it wrong as most media. It should have read:
Yahoo: we are so stupid, sorry for everything. [it did get them to lose their high-profile employee in the process, so they got their punishment, yay]
There are a lot of big organisations with big internal websites that were made in the early 00s. Indeed governments (and there are lots of them) that routinely put out invitations to tender that specifically mention that the site must work under IE6/XP but no mention of other browsers.
You can just pull the rug out from under them, but let's not forget that Microsoft makes most of its money from corporate customers, not from end-users. Pissing your customers off isn't a good way of making money.
I kinda understand that, but the problem as I see it started when someone promised backward compatibility. That's nice and all, and it made Microsoft what it is, but that's not the web. The web has no allegiance to no st!nk!ng backward compatibility. Its only allegiance is to standards. Yeah, I know they are shitty and suck (so say Silverlight disciples) but they are mine! And yours. ANd they are all we got.
The web. No entrance for:
1) Backward compatibility seekers. Just use a native Microsoft app already.
2) Lost pixel seekers. Use fncken PDF.
The two of you, I hate you
It suddenly dawned on me: When talking windows development, Microsoft didn't take any chances and provided 2 options XAML and HTML, but when Nokia chose the new platform it did take its chance and went with Windows Phone only.
BTW, I think Microsoft acted wisely by offering HTML/CSS alternative, because since its inception so many years ago, XAML didn't produce any killer apps. None. It might be the most advanced framework for UI, but it sure didn't leave its mark.