Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Waiting for the Opera

So, Opera 7 is on the horizon. Actually, it looks quite good – there’s better support for W3C‘s DOM, and speed has been greatly enhanced by re-writing much of the rendering engine. My hat is off.
But one quote from the article did annoy me:

“What these other browser makers should do is stop complaining about what Microsoft is doing and start supporting what Microsoft is supporting,” Hurd said. “People out there aren’t reading these specs; they’re using IE.”

. Um, yeah…
People complain about IE being slow, and there’s a good reason for it. It uses all manner of extra code so that all pages, no matter how sloppily they are written, will display. Take a look at http://www.geocities.com/kaweka_2000/aboutus.html. In IE, it looks like any normal web page. But throw it into a standards-compliant browser like Mozilla and the text gets larger and larger until a single letter fills the page. Badly nested heading tags are to blame here, but you get the idea. [Actually, in this case Opera 5.0 displays the page fine, according to a fellow ODP editor].
Remove this extra code, and you have a compact browser that runs like an olympic athlete on speed. In fact, embedded browsers, like those on PDAs, mobile phones and TV set-top boxes, work in a similar way, due to the reduced memory that these devices have. If it weren’t for sloppy coders, web browsing would be a much faster experience.
So am I blaming IE? Yes and no. The blame partly lies in those producing sloppy code, but I’m also blaming Microsoft for allowing so-called site designers to get away with it. If IE was more strict, then I imagine that the web would be a much more efficient place.
Let’s just hope that, with Netscape 7.0 Final just around the corner and AOL looking set to use Gecko in its software (this is already the case in AOL for Mac), the number of non-IE users will increase. Now that’ll be a right royal arse kicking for those responsible of sloppyness.

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