updated 06:20 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Devs call for action
Mozilla and several other browser developers have voiced concern over the dominance of WebKit-based browsers, notably Safari and Chrome. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) co-chairman Daniel Glazman suggests programmers have begun to disregard alternative browsers, such as Firefox and Internet Explorer, when optimizing website compatibility.
Developers from Mozilla and Microsoft admitted that they are being forced to use misleading WebKit labels, used by Apple and Google to represent "experimental" CSS properties, in an attempt to guarantee that some websites using newer CSS features will support Firefox and Internet Explorer.
"In many if not most cases, the [WebKit-labeled] properties WebKit-specific web sites are using do have [Mozilla, Microsoft, and Opera] equivalents," Glazman writes in a blog post. "Their web authors need only a few minutes to make the site compatible with Mozilla, Microsoft or Opera. But they never did it."
The problem is said to be particularly troublesome for mobile websites. Recent reports suggest the mobile browsers used by Android and iOS devices hold a combined total of 68 percent of the market.
Glazman argues that web programmers need to stop designing websites to work only with WebKit-based browsers, while Apple and Google have been asked to submit their experimental and proprietary CSS properties to the CSS Working Group so they can become part of the open standards.
"This situation happened in the past with IE6, when browsers were desktop-only, and it took ten long years to recover," Glazman added. "With billions of mobile browsers today, the Web may not recover at all." [via CNET]