Those with long memories will remember ABBA. The rest of us may just about recall the good work of the CSS Samurai when they launched the Acid Test back in 1997 and challenged makers of browsers world-over to improve their support for CSS 1.
Well, dammit, we’re at it again. No, not the Swedish song and dance routines, the bit about the browsers. Acid2 is a brand new test designed to push the limits of HTML, CSS, and PNG support in browsers and authoring tools. By testing against Acid2, flaws in support for common web standards are quickly and easily exposed.
Read the official press release for the full skinny. I promise it has no mention of camptastic European supergroups.
Now for the stuff I haven’t copied verbatim from my earlier post on the BUZZ blog. There’s lots of reasons why I like Apple as a company (as well as things I disagree with), but you really have to take your hat off to Safari developer Dave Hyatt. He’s already fixed a bunch of bugs in Safari’s rendering. My money is on him being first past the post with an accurate rendering. Apple tend to release fairly frequent updates to Safari too, so once it’s fixed we could have it in our hand pretty quickly.
Compare and contrast to Microsoft. I understand that Microsoft are at least partially on board with this issue – and all credit to them for that – but if you ever needed an example of agile vs. non-agile then you have it right here. They’re like a sodding oil tanker – their turn-around time is in excess of four years. That might be fine for a product like an operating system, but not for a browser.
There are two very different strategies being played out here. Companies like Apple appear to keep themselves light, they can respond quickly to changes and can keep putting out products that the customer wants there and then. The Mozilla Foundation take this approach with their recent products (although not in the past).
Big ol’ companies like Microsoft tend to take a longer view approach. They’ll throw in months or years of development with a promise that the end will knock your socks off. And it might. But in the mean time, you’ve got a lot of dissatisfied customers who may have preferred to be drip fed just a little of the goodness along the way. Particularly for the case of web browsers, this is definitely a ship-early, ship-often market.