Netscape, MS face Web developer wrath

Executives from the Web browser teams of both Microsoft Corporation and Netscape Communications faced the music this week as they stood before heckling crowds at a Web development discussion panel, explaining how their companies would live up to the promise of a Web based on open standards. The event, hosted by the Web Standards Project, was aimed at letting Web developers vent at the companies that most obviously are ignoring their pleas.

"We assert that we have pretty complete HTML support, about 90% support for HTML 4.0," said Microsoft's director of standards activities Mark Ryland, who was largely drowned out by skeptical developers, clicking away on annoying little mice that were supplied at the event.

"How many people here want 94 percent compliance in their condoms?" asked Web Standards Project cofounder Glenn Davis, to deafening cheers.

"This room cares about HTML and CSS, but you don't care so much about LDAP or IMAP, where Netscape has taken a leadership position," said Netscape's Angus Davis. "In CSS, I'm not going to BS you. There's a lot of work to do."

Davis says that Communicator 5.0 will be "100%" compatible with standards such as HTML 4.0, CSS 1.0, XML 1.0, the new Document Object Model (DOM) and the Resource Definition Format. By the time it comes out, however, those standards will likely be passé.

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