WaSP Sucks

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Updated: 12/19/01 The really great thing about weblogging is you can set your own rules. When I wrote an article for O’Reilly about The Tyranny of Standards I had to accept the comments of the readers without being able to comment in return — O’Reilly would really prefer its authors to NOT get into a web-based slamfest with its readers. However, this is my weblog, I set the rules — and this time I’m responding to the weblog posting comments.

I never once said I was against standards. Read my posting and read my article: I never once said that standards weren’t important. However, I do not agree with an organization (WaSP) whose efforts almost destroyed another organization I hold with great respect — the Mozilla organization. I wrote my original article for O’Reilly because WaSP’s little tirades about the importance of standardization and how Netscape and Mozilla are just too, too behind, forced a too early release of Netscape 6.0 and seriously weakened Mozilla’s effort and credibility.

I remember with fondness WaSP’s chastisement of Mozilla for “wasting” time with things like XUL, when (according to WaSP) adherence to standards was more important. I have a clue for you folks — XUL and the underlying Mozilla architecture is the most innovative concept and use of XML to have ever hit browsers. If XUL were in widespread use, a company like Fog Creek wouldn’t have had to build a Windows GUI-based application (City Desk) to provide the functionality it needed for its product.

As it is, primarily because of WaSP’s efforts at the time, the interest that could have been generated for XUL was wasted on Mozilla’s “lack of standards adherence”. Innovation was drowned by the demand for standards compliance. Pure and simple.

Speaking of standards, exactly which ones are you all screaming for? XHTML? That’s a standard? How is it more so than say HTML 3.2 or 4.0? Oh, you mean these are “older” standards, and shouldn’t be supported any more. Same with “old” browsers like Netscape 4.0?

No, no. Don’t support them. Instead of writing pages that might be viewable by older browsers as well as the new ones, you want people to be redirected to a page like this page. Tell me, now — who’s really idiotic idea was it to tell web designers and builders to send customers away, chastised because they aren’t using a newer browser? I have a hint for you — we didn’t like it when Microsoft played this game with MSN, why would we like it when someone else does the same?

Tell me something else — did any of you do this on your jobs, and do you still have a job?

That last one’s a key one for me. I live in the San Francisco area, in SOMA (South of Market) as a matter of fact. This area has been absolutely devastated by the dot com implosion. Empty stores, empty restaurants, empty offices, half vacant apartments and condos, with once bustling streets now slowly being taken over by San Francisco’s homeless. This is California’s newest ghost town.

And I bet you that there would be any number of web page designers and builders who would take a job building web pages that support Netscape 4.x, or that require the use HTML 4.0 instead of XHTML, or Dreamweaver, or any tool, specification, or technology, as long as they’re getting paid. In my weblog posting, that’s the point I wanted to make and none of you got it. Too subtle I guess. I’m must learn to beat one about the head more soundly in my postings from now on. So:

When you give a starving man a dinner, don’t tell him how to hold the fucking fork and knife — all he wants is the food.

Before I sign off on this very obvious rant, one other thing:

Don’t tell me I don’t support standards, just because I don’t support the WaSP — the two are NOT synonymous.

End of Rant –

(Continued at newer weblog posting)

Shelley Powers
aka YASD

Original Posting:

Why do I dislike WaSP so much? I dislike any organization that pushes conformity over innovation. I dislike any organization that pushes conformity over content. I dislike any organization that, collectively, isn’t smart enough to realize that the web progresses whether we conform to the “standards” or not. Ultimately I dislike any organization that says something along the lines of:


YET IN SPITE of the efforts of the W3C, the browser makers, and a leading–edge minority of designers and developers, most of the web remains a Balkanized mess of non–valid markup, unstructured documents yoked to outdated presentational hacks, and incompatible code fragments that leave many millions of web users frustrated and disenfranchised.” from the WaSP semi-farewell or whatever it was
Get a clue. Get a clue. Please, please, please get a clue. The only thing frustrating the majority of us is the increasing number of “404 page not found” errors we’re getting because so many web sites (and companies) have closed down. That’s the real issue — not whether we use CSS, or include a DOCTYPE in our web pages.

WaSP don’t go away angry — just go away.

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