In an interesting development regarding web standards and the browser wars, Ars Technica reports that Mozilla is taking Internet Explorer’s problematic webpage rendering into its own hands starting with a plugin for HTML5’s
IE’s shortcomings won’t hold back the Internet for much longer, however, because Mozilla plans to drag IE into the next generation of open web technologies without Microsoft’s help. One of the first steps towards achieving this goal is a new experimental plugin that adapts Mozilla’s implementation of the HTML5 Canvas element so that it can be used in Internet Explorer.
Vladimir Vukićević says it’s “a very direct way of getting 2D (and soon 3D) graphics into web pages, and removes many of the barriers between developers and graphics rendering.” Here’s a screenshot of how it works:
Reactions from the crowd range from amusement to confusion to outrage. On the one hand, this move from the makers of the record-making Firefox browser is commendable. It shows that in the midst of IE’s dominating market share and FF’s sheer drive to beat it, Mozilla still wants the Web to work, one way or the other. Even if it means having to “drag IE” itself. Indeed:
Is it a sad or happy day for Microsoft, when their competitors get bored with beating them, and instead try to improve the Microsoft products to make them competitive – for free?
And what does Microsoft have to say about this? Isn’t this an insult wrapped inside a well-meaning gesture since it is coming from a competitor? Anything that gets Microsoft’s attention to hurry things up in the web standards compliance department is okay by me.
But it’s not just about the browser vendors but the users themselves. How many of them will take the time to install this not-so-popular plugin? Do they care enough to see the advantages? Ars Technica thus wonders if Adobe could have been the better messenger, since Flash is ultimately indispensable these days:
This is purely speculation, but If Adobe decided to ship Screaming Monkey and the Canvas functionality as part of the next major iteration of the Flash plugin, it would rapidly accelerate adoption and get it onto lots of computers.
Cross-browser nirvana? Not quite
News of this plugin suggests that it’s taking a so much effort to make IE play nice that even competing browsers have to step in. And we’re only talking about the HTML5
canvas element here, a far less common feature, or should we say issue, than things like the double-margin bug or pixel font sizes.