Opinion: Is the Firefox development model really better than Microsoft’s?

Everyone loves bashing Microsoft and preaching the vast superiority of Firefox over IE, particularly its near-perfect implementation of W3C standards. Unfortunately, that might be true as long as you’re doing what the most vocal advocates (the CSS folks) are doing, if you happen to rely on some other “supported” standard, you might find yourself in deep ****.

As my regular readers know, I happened to make a decision to use client-side XSLT a while ago. From the technology standpoint, it was a perfect solution … until Firefox 3 came out. It has so many XSLT-related problems that it’s almost impossible to get the right combination of relevant parameters to have the same XSLT stylesheet working on Firefox, IE, Chrome and the web server (for non-XSLT-capable clients).

OK, one would understand that every major software project has bugs. But it’s hard to understand that so many of the XSLT bugs are untouched after several years. For example: generic ticket describing XSLT result document problems (4 years), HTML-DOM initialization issues (5 years), Firefox crashing when combining XSLT with document.write (6 years), Firebug not working on XSLT-generated pages (1,5 year).

I’ve heard all about limited resources and priorities in my “previous life”, but let’s face the reality: once the motivation (let’s beat IE) wears off and the platform accumulates years of old sins and bad decisions, the development model doesn’t matter. Firefox is becoming no better than IE.

4 comments:

decisionz said...

I never got into XML + XSLT on the browser. (Though I have used it on the server.)

I'm currently revisiting the idea, but not finding information about active use.

This post and others make me think that the technology may not be practical on the browser.

Any comments about that?

Ivan Pepelnjak said...

I'm still using it on the browser, works in all major browsers (never got any complaints from the visitors).

It is, though, a fringe technology.

decisionz said...

Thanks very much for the information you've published about this.

I am looking a situation where a powerful solution would be to use XML + XSLT on the browser, no rendering (to X/HTML) on the server.

It looks as though this "pure play" approach isn't on the cards, so I'll probably go with server side processing.

You mention a list of sites using the technique. I couldn't find the URI to it. Is there a current list?

Anonymous said...

XSLT just translates/transforms from one form of information to another. In the browser, it's translating it (the data stored in xml format) to a format that browsers understand. I prefer CSS, but XSL(T) is fine, too.

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