Dave Hyatt: Quirks and the Uselessness of Modes.
Having just spent the better half of last night wrestling with x-browser issues for a new website I’m working on, I have experienced first hand the kind of quirks Dave refers to. Despite all of the effort involved in getting even a simple CSS design to work across all browsers, I really feel strongly about not introducing “quirks” into the browsers.
However, Dave, if you plan to support the quirks of one browser, let it be Mozilla. I develop sites (in fact a full web-based application as well) for IE, Mozilla (and now Safari), and there once was a time that I lamented that Mozilla wasn’t quite up to scratch. However, in the past 3 months a significant shift has happened – Mozilla has now exceeded IE in many respects, and is by far more compliant than IE. Plus, Mozilla is currently the only truly cross-platform free browser (with significant market support). I can get stuff working for Mozilla on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux with a single code base. If there’s a tostle between behaving like IE or Mozilla, my vote goes to support the Mozilla variant.
That said, I would like to see Safari and Mozilla fight it out to become the most compliant browser, to eliminate the kind of discrepencies that have plagued web development for almost a decade. My experience is that the web cleaned up a lot when Mozilla hit a critical mass because it complained about stuff that before Netscape (or IE for that matter) would ignore, and any serious developer started to refactor their sites to work correctly on both IE and Mozilla. If Safari starts caving and adding quirks in strict mode, I think the benefits of such competition are lost.
Of course, Safari needs to display as many websites as possible correctly, and ultimately this is going to mean in some way supporting such quirks – it is, in the end, about facilitating a postive user experience.