-webkit isn’t breaking the web. The W3C is

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the post Webkit isn’t breaking the web, you are, Scott Gilbertson intimates that it is the developers that are leading us to a new era of browser-wars by only implementing the -webkit prefixed CSS properties. The notion is that Webkit currently dominates the mobile browser market, so much so that other browser vendors are considering implementing the -webkit prefix. I view it differently. I place the blame squarely at the feet of the W3C.

From Scott’s piece:

Vendor prefixes like -webkit and -moz were designed to help web developers by allowing browser makers to implement CSS features before the official standard was published.

I propose that the need for vendor prefixes masks the real problem. What are now known as the CSS3 specs, documents still under revision, was first presented to the W3C in 1999. That’s thirteen years ago. Thirteen. A child could have been born and started secondary school. You could rob a bank, be convicted and be out on the street in that time [citation needed]. There are over fifty CSS3 specs, of which only three have become recommendations [ibid].

That vendor prefixes are so widely used is a symptom of the spec being run by an organisation seemingly more interested in talk than in making decisions. Vendor prefixes are supposed to be for experimental features, not features common to modern browsers.

It’s simple market forces really – supply and demand. Webkit has supplied an implementation of several features that are in such demand other browser vendors are considering implementing the -webkit prefix themselves. Therefore, I propose these implementations become recomendations, and we drop all vendor prefixes for it. By tightening the loop between experimentation, adoption and acceptance, we fix the web.

For the web to succeed, difficult decisions have to be made. These are decisions about standards and best practices. They cannot be made lightly. But perhaps they can be made more quickly.

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