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March 24, 2005

The Downward Spiral

With all good new inventions, the web is rapidly deteriorating. Websites are becoming uglier, less usable and much more annoying. One fanatic movement is replaced by another, and the cycle of good web standards turns. Good humans have declared war against these zealots, only to be faced with corruption themselves. We can’t fight a disease - the more you kill it, the more it keeps coming back, in a stronger, more powerful reincarnation of itself.

To fight disease, we must pinpoint its source. Well, then what would be the source of all evils? Internet Explorer. Microsoft. Broken web standards. New HTML tags. Handling of malformed HTML. Thats a lot to hate Internet Explorer, but… here, we run into a problem. We cannot blame Internet Explorer, because its Microsoft. In fact, that’s the reason we can’t blame it, for Microsoft hasn’t been developing it for the last few years.

No tabbed browsing, no pop-up and image blocking, no News Feeds. Sure its sucks, and is all infected with bugs… but, thats only a local dump. We would have to look elsewhere. Perhaps the problem lies in the “good” modern browsers (Safari, Opera, Firefox)? Where does browsing stand today? The plague of pop-ups is almost over. Image ads are all but gone. Soon, with plugins like Greasemonkey, the web will be ours to control. Or will it?

What I learned: spam never gives in. The better the browsers become, the nastier do the nasties get. Friendly 480x80 image ads have turned into distorted proportions (some browsers block images of known ad sizes). Animated gifs have been replaced with Flash, JPEGs - by long listings of text. Pop-ups became overheads. But I caution you from making quick conclusions yet. For browser features don’t dictate website design. So far, we have only been examining a red herring (bummer). Thus, the answer must lie in how the websites are designed (or must it?). But that is something for next time, isn’t it?

Posted by Oleg Ivrii at March 24, 2005 07:04 PM


The problem with handling malformed HTML, is that there are no standards for which to do so. Thus, they must render malformed HTML similar to Win IE (if they ever want to be considered as an effective replacement). Wonder how much good development time it takes out just to reverse engineer the damn thing? And your not saying Win IE is the center of all evils!

Posted by: VLA at March 25, 2005 01:59 AM

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