Monday, 29 August 2005

SVG Interoperation

We're going to be shipping SVG support in Firefox 1.5. Opera is already shipping some SVG support in Opera 8. It would be very helpful to know how well these two SVG implementations interoperate. We already know they cover slightly different subsets of SVG 1.1 but for the set of SVG features they both claim to implement, it would be very useful to see if there are many bugs that occur in one browser but not in the other --- it would give us, at least, a chance to fix some of those bugs on our side so authors targeting multiple browsers get better results.

Any volunteers? There are a number of SVG tests out there on the Web. This work should be relatively easy to do. Even just doing a few tests would be helpful. The more that gets tested, the better.

Sunday, 21 August 2005

Speaking The Truth In Love (I Hope)

Today we walked up Mount Eden, one of Auckland's volcanic cones, close to our house. The crater forms a steep grassy bowl and is quite picturesque, and the view of Auckland from the rim is superb. It's a lovely spot for a walk.

Mount Eden crater

Unfortunately the terrain is fragile, being largely loose scoria and dirt, and is being eroded by the passage of large numbers of visitors --- both locals and busloads of foreign tourists. To protect the crater, the authorities prohibit people from descending into it. But despite many strongly worded signs, lots of people insist on going anyway, and that always makes me furious.

Perhaps today I was feeling particularly irascible; I actually went up to a few of these people and pointed out that they weren't supposed to have been down there. Some just looked sheepish and wandered off. Others responded that lots of other people had been doing it; that response really irks me but I think I managed to be quite calm while pointing out that the fact that other people do it doesn't make it right. One man replied that if the authorities wanted to protect the crater they should put a fence around the whole thing, and again I hope I was calm while suggesting that making it ugly for everyone probably wasn't a good solution.

As usual, afterwards I figured out more compelling ways to say everything. If I'm there again and someone tells me "everybody else does it", if they have children with them (most do) I'll ask them if they teach their children that seeing others doing something forbidden makes it OK.

It's all rather disturbing, because I'm rather shy at root and I'd ordinarily never dream of breaching the wall of silence strangers carry in the city. Perhaps I'm turning into an crusty curmudgeon as I age --- or just a crank!

Monday, 1 August 2005

IE7 To Fix A Number Of Standards-Compliance Issues

I've just read Chris Wilson's post on the IE Blog where he lists a number of CSS bugs and missing features that will be fixed in IE7. It doesn't bring them anywhere close to Gecko (nor Opera or Webcore or KHTML) but nevertheless it's a good step that will help a lot of Web developers.

Frankly, I'm surprised, because I had a few reasons to believe they would do almost nothing. As I've blogged before, there are strategic reasons for them to hold the Web back as much as possible, to maximise the pain for Web developers as an encouragement for them to migrate to Avalon. The IE team had been totally unwilling to publically commit to any concrete features or bug fixes. And when IE7 beta 1 had only a couple of bugs fixed, I thought my cynicism had proved correct; I expected them to have done any engine work before beta 1, so that Web developers have the maximum time to test and fix their sites. That's how we try to run Gecko/Firefox.

Anyway, I'm glad I was wrong! I applaud the team for doing the right thing to help web developers even though I suspect it will hurt Microsoft's big plans. I think it will even hurt IE market share: once IE7 has some penetration into the market, more web developers will feel justified in writing pages that don't cater to IE6. IE6 users on Win2K/win9x won't be able to run IE7; some of them will upgrade operating systems, but lots will find it easier to upgrade to Firefox.