MSN, Opera, and Net Requirements – A Checklist Aside

A word from the editors: On this particular editorial for ALA, Opera CTO Håkon Lie debunks Microsoft’s declare that browser blocking at has something to do with “internet requirements.” Although he’s hardly an neutral observer, Lie’s argument is value studying, as a result of it’s based mostly on the time–honored methodology of evaluating a product to the claims made for it.

On 24 October 2001, customers of Opera and Mozilla discovered themselves locked out of Microsoft’s MSN website. The following day,
reported the next assertion from Microsoft in protection of the lockout:

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“All of our growth work for the brand new
is … W3C normal,” mentioned Bob Visse, the director of MSN advertising and marketing,
referring to the World Large Net Consortium, which is creating
trade requirements for internet applied sciences. “For browsers that we all know
don’t help these requirements or that we are able to’t insure will get a
nice expertise for the shopper, we do serve up a web page that
means that they improve to an IE browser that does help the”

Microsoft later introduced that it had opened up to just accept all browsers. Not precisely. As of 4 November, Opera was nonetheless blocked from some pages when figuring out itself as Opera – as an example, this MSN Gaming Zone web page, which additionally generates JavaScript errors in Microsoft’s personal IE5/Macintosh. Likewise, after the preliminary protests, Visse modified his views, in accordance with Scot’s Publication:

“We apologize for the inconvenience that this has
brought about, and we want to reiterate our sturdy help for the Net
specs developed and supported by the World Large Net
Consortium and the software program trade. Whereas it’s troublesome to be
compliant with each printed Web normal, we focus our
efforts on doing the very best job we are able to to help the most recent
suggestions and ship helpful and thrilling companies for our

Since Microsoft so strongly emphasize their help for W3C
specs, it’s value checking how their paperwork adjust to
these specs.

On 31 October, I downloaded the house web page on MSN, in addition to all of the hyperlinks on that website. As a portal, MSN incorporates many hyperlinks pointing to totally different sorts of companies, amongst them the “love” website, the pet web page and Microsoft’s own residence web page. All in all, there are tips that could 62 paperwork.

The chart on the next web page lists all of them, together with the MSN residence web page itself, making a complete of 63 internet pages that I dutifully examined for W3C requirements–compliance.

To ensure that a browser to show a doc appropriately, that
doc have to be legitimate. To assist internet builders create paperwork that validate, the W3C runs a validating service on the net.

To look at the doc, the W3C validator should know what specification the doc claims to make use of. All paperwork should due to this fact have a DOCTYPE indicator within the head of the doc.

This isn’t the case on MSN: of the 63 paperwork examined, solely 10 declared what model of HTML they have been written in.

There are two predominant flavors of HTML in use right this moment: HTML4 and
XHTML. Microsoft’s first
rationalization for locking out Opera was that:

“We do establish the string from the browser, and the
solely challenge that we’ve is that the Opera browser doesn’t help
the most recent XHTML normal.”

When checking the paperwork on MSN, nonetheless, “the most recent XHTML normal” didn’t appear terribly essential to Microsoft – solely 4 of 63 paperwork claimed to be written in XHTML. (Opera occurs to have wonderful help for XHTML and compares favorably with Microsoft Web
Explorer for Home windows on this regard. However that’s a subject for
one other article.)

Operating the paperwork by the W3C validator was the ultimate step of the research. Given Microsoft’s emphasis on W3C specs, one
would count on their paperwork to validate. This was
not the case, and the consequence was so simple as it was stunning: on the date of the research, not one of the 63 paperwork on MSN’s residence web page was legitimate in accordance with W3C specs.

Given this consequence, one may conclude that Microsoft is actively
sabotaging the work of internet requirements and W3C – or on the very least, demonstrating an virtually unbelievable lack of competence. Microsoft factors to W3C
specs when explaining why they lock opponents’ browsers out of MSN, but not one of the paperwork printed on MSN observe these W3C specs.  In any case, will probably be tougher for Microsoft in charge browser lockouts on requirements sooner or later.

The chart on the next web page gives detailed details about every file that was examined, together with every file’s supply code. {Ed. – Unique supply information referenced by the chart on the next web page could not show appropriately (or in any respect), though they did when this text was new.}

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