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Letter to Macromedia

15 December 2000:
This is in reference to Tor Berg's otherwise fine article, Standard Fare, which contains two factual errors.

I gave the keynote and led the standards panel which Mr Berg describes. I like the article so much I've linked to it from webstandards.org , alistapart.com , K10k, and www.zeldman.com/coming.html.

Though the article is brilliantly written and captures the essence of what went on, there are two errors in it which I'd love to see corrected if at all possible. Thanks in advance for your help.

The article states:

Now, almost two years after the success of that petition, Netscape 6 has been released and is, for the most part, standards-compliant. Zeldman's caveat that the browser is almost too buggy to use was called a minor point in view of the success of a standards-compliant browser.

I did not say the browser was "almost too buggy to use," nor did any panel member.

What we said in response to an audience member question was that the browser has "some bugs, which we believe Netscape can fix with help from the open source Mozilla project."

If it is possible to correct this error, I would appreciate it. I won't attempt to craft the appropriate sentence, but simply changing "Zeldman's caveat that the browser was almost too buggy to use" to something like "Zeldman's caveat that the browser has some bugs" would probably do the trick.

Elsewhere, the article states:

(Internet Explorer 5.5 for Windows is expected to earn WaSP's endorsement when it is released)

In fact, the WaSP publicly criticized IE5.5/Windows for "arrogantly breaking with standards," both in an editorial (http://www.webstandards.org/wfw/ieah.html) and a press release (http://www.webstandards.org/ie55.txt). We may have been too harsh in our criticism—you could argue that IE5.5's CSS and HTML support are very good (aside from a few ommissions). But we certainly never endorsed the browser. Nor is it an "upcoming" product, as stated in the article; it's the current offering on the market.

I think Mr Berg may have misheard or misunderstood comments about upcoming IE6. Since Microsoft is basing its dot-net strategy on XML, our best guess is that Microsoft will improve its support for the XML standard in the upcoming version of its browser. I recall saying something to that effect during the standards panel.

We also highly praised IE5/Macintosh edition, released in March, for its in-depth compliance with CSS-1 and HTML 4. It's possible that Mr Berg heard those comments and misunderstood them as praise for the current Windows version of the browser. With all that was going on during the panel and the conference, such confusion would be understandable.

In any case, this error should also be fixed if possible. Simply deleting the parenthetical clause would probably suffice.

This letter is not intended as criticism of Mr Berg or of Macromedia's in-depth coverage of Builder.com. The coverage is by far the best and deepest I've seen, and Mr Berg is a superb journalist. He absolutely captured the tone, feeling, and most of the facts of the week-long conference.

Still, if it is possible to quickly correct these two errors, The Web Standards Project would be grateful, and Macromedia's extensive coverage would be all the more accurate.

Thanks for your consideration,

Jeffrey Zeldman
Group Leader
The Web Standards Project


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