Web Devout tidings

Web Devout was dugg

Yesterday, this site’s standards support resource appeared on the front page of digg, an extremely popular social bookmarking site, and the resulting impact made Web Devout inaccessible to many visitors for several hours. At the peak, the server managed to serve over 7000 requests to a total of nearly 1500 unique visitors in one hour. That doesn’t include the many people whose connections timed out during the wait. The digg post has achieved almost 2000 diggs (bookmark actions, which are treated as votes in favor of the page). More initial statistics are available.

The digg post was marked by some users as “inaccurate”, possibly due to a recent blog post by Chris Wilson, group program manager on the Internet Explorer platform development team, where he criticised some aspects of the structure of the standards support resource and the resulting percentage values. I presented my counterarguments in the comments of that post and I recommend that people take a read.

Shortly after Web Devout appeared on the digg front page, I quickly set up a server-side caching system to reduce the server impact and hopefully make the site available to more people. The site is now functional again and the caching system will remain up and running.

2 Responses to “Web Devout was dugg”

  1. Chris Wilson Says:

    David, I want to be clear that I was not intending to criticize the structure of your tests; I was stating that I don’t believe your test suite accurately portrays the improvement in standards support in IE7, and that was being picked up the community as proof that MS isn’t interested in improving standards in IE (when nothing could be further than the truth).

    Posted using Flock on Windows.

  2. David Hammond Says:

    Well, you did express that the way “inherit” and invalid property failure issues are included in the tables “makes IE in particular look bad”. But yes, I recognize that the Internet Explorer development team is now putting forth as much effort as can be expected from any development team of its size, and even my tables suggest that Internet Explorer is now making progress as fast as its competitors. If the practical benefits of the improvements are in fact underreported due to the way percentages are calculated (currently, features and bugs are not weighted based on real world importance), then it could be that IE7 has made somewhat more progress in CSS 2.1 support than its competition in the same length of time.

    To be honest, in terms of practical improvements, I do think IE7 made somewhat more progress over IE6 than Firefox 1.5 did over Firefox 1.0. Here’s a brief comparison of the improvements:

    Firefox 1.5:

    • Counters (direct from no support to full support)
    • cursor URLs
    • Outlines (again, from no support to full support)
    • Proper support for the quotes property
    • Various other improvements

    Internet Explorer 7:

    • Fixed an !important bug
    • Much improved selector support (although selector parsing is still full of bugs)
    • background-attachment: fixed on all elements
    • transparent border colors
    • Fixed some float bugs, but added new ones
    • Fixed some margin bugs
    • position: fixed support
    • Improved width/height support (still have some bugs)
    • Added min-height, max-height, min-width, max-width (still have some bugs)
    • Varous other improvements

    Probably the main reason IE7’s improvements don’t show a higher percentage increase than Firefox 1.5’s, and arguably a true-to-reality reason, is that most of the improved features still have a lot of bugs in them, so some values are simply “less incomplete” where I can’t objectively break down the feature support into a percentage, and the newly supported features often jump from “N” to about 50% rather than straight to “Y” as, for example, Firefox 1.5’s outline and counter support did.

    In the real world, bugs in selectors, margins, and width/height have much more of an impact than quotes and outlines, and so it can definitely be argued that Internet Explorer 7 improved at least somewhat more than Firefox 1.5 or Opera 9 did. That said, I don’t think the progress is fast enough to be considered significantly catching up to Firefox and Opera, and even so, it seems that progress would naturally slow down as support starts to near 100% (as it is in Firefox and Opera) when the remaining bugs begin to deal only with relatively picky details here and there.

    I squarely lay the blame for the current Internet Explorer problems on Microsoft’s past actions, not your present actions. Internet Explorer is making progress, but it is currently so far behind that it seems IE won’t likely catch up to the competition for at least several versions, if ever. Assuming Internet Explorer continues to have an influential market share for the foreseeable future, I can only hope that the situation continues to improve at a reasonable pace. As I have said before, I would love to see a ground-up rewrite of Trident focused around proper implementations of the standards.

    Posted using Mozilla Firefox on Linux.