Shallow Thoughts

because deep thoughts smack of effort

W3C Developed Core Browser Engine

Posted in Web Stuff by Bridget on December 15th, 2007

The reader replies to Andy Clarke’s CSS Unworking Group post are, for the most part, pretty interesting. It hasn’t yet devolved into an all out flame war. Props to the respondents for that!

Some of the replies I agree with. Some of them I don’t. There was, however, one nugget I found particularly interesting.

Mike Loizides said (emphasis mine):

Would it be a leap too far to imagine that the W3C takes on the task of developing (and maintaining) a core rendering engine that the browser manufacturers can base their browsers on? Everyone gets given the same basic renderer which they can then bolt other stuff onto. So they get more time to come up with those all-important unique selling points that drive revenue.

Am I onto a winner or shall I get my coat?

I wonder: would it be a leap too far?

Dana Kashubeck and I had a discussion quite awhile back about what it is that sets different browsers apart. I digressed into what it should be that sets different browsers apart. I was of the mindset that bells and whistles should be what sets them apart from one another — not how they render what I’ll refer to generically as “web code” — (X)HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.

In my previous post on Andy Clarke’s call for the CSS Working group to treat specification development like any software company developing software does, I said:

The W3C participants who dream up CSS specs don’t deliver THE companion product that renders the CSS according to the plan. CSS is dependent upon an “outside” product — the web browser, manufactured by entities other than the W3C. Obviously, this complicates matters.

W3C ExplorerIs there hope for a solution in “web code” specification development in having the W3C create and maintain a core web browser engine? Would it simplify things?

Maybe it would. It would be one step toward being able to treat spec development in the manner that Andy suggested. It might lighten the burden of Microsoft from figuring out how to meet standards without breaking the web. Their team can focus on bells, whistles and other technologies and get out of the line of fire coming from web developers/designers for a change.

Maybe this idea is completely unrealistic. I accept that it very well may be. It is interesting to consider anyway.

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