Since 2000 or so, I've found myself drawn into two related areas of Internet advocacy: web standards and alternative web browsers.
It started when I was using Opera, then later Mozilla as my main web browser. As much as I liked some of the things that made their way into Internet Explorer—I started experimenting with CSS when IE3 came out, long before Netscape added even basic support—I was bitterly disappointed in the way they wiped Netscape out of the picture, using sneaky tricks instead of competing on merit.
So I used Opera, then pre-release versions of Mozilla, then a Mozilla-based browser called Galeon. That meant that web standards were in my own self-interest. As long as I had chosen an alternative browser, I wanted the web to remain open to it. Instead I found sites that insisted I "upgrade" to Netscape 6, even when the browser I was using was based on a newer, more stable, more capable version of the same engine.
I got more involved in 2004 as Firefox ramped up to its 1.0 release. There was a sense of excitement as Firefox managed to make the first gains against Internet Explorer's marketshare in years, and I started putting "Get Firefox" buttons on my personal website.
Things took another turn in 2005 as flame wars broke out between Opera advocates and Firefox advocates. The arguments were generally little more than "I had it first!" "No you didn't!" and served only to drive a wedge between users who, in my view, should have been cooperating against the real enemy: dominance by Internet Explorer. So I launched the Alternative Browser Alliance, and I got more involved with Opera.
I've come to the conclusion that the web needs competition. Real competition, not one dominant browser and a bunch of hangers-on. A web dominated by Firefox would certainly be more open than a web dominated by IE, but it would still be a one-target world for malware authors. And several browsers competing guarantees that they keep improving.
- Alternative Browser Alliance - webmaster and promotion.
- Opera Watch contributor (during 2008)
- Spread Firefox forum/blog participant.
- Opera Community forum/blog participant.
- Mozillazine Forums occasional participant.
- Dillo Browser RPMs maintainer for several Linux distributions up through version 2.1.
- Promotional buttons for Firefox, Opera, and the Alternative Browser Alliance on my own websites.
- Promotion of the Alternative Browser Alliance (and in some cases Firefox and Opera) in forum signatures.
- Standards-based web design.
- Browser compatibility pages, such as this sitewide page and at Flash: Ride the Lightning.
- Web posts at K-Squared Ramblings, at Confessions of a Web Developer (my Opera blog), and at my Spread Firefox Blog
- CSS Firefox Buttons (Sep. 2004)
- Why your website should support Opera (Nov. 2006)
- Simple Browser Categorization (April 2005)
- What's in a User-Agent String? (June 2004)
- Making Use of Microsummaries (July 2006)
- Webslices and Revisiting Microsummaries (March 2008)
- CSS Outlines (May 2005)
- Weblog Etiquette vs. Link Rot and Linkrot, Part Deux (Jan-Feb 2004)
- Best Way to Label Dead Links? (Nov. 2009)
- Creating CSS Buttons (June 2004)
- Form and Function (Feb 2005) on XForms and Web Forms 2.0
- What's dynamic about it? (March 2008)
- The Right Tool... (Jan. 2008) on client-side vs. server-side scripts.
- Web Design is Like Pizza (Jan. 2007)
- Blocking IE6: You, Me and...PayPal? (April 2008)
Browser War Commentary
- Why Alternative Browsers?
- IE7 got you down? Try Firefox or Opera! (Oct. 2006)
- Browser Zealotry (Jan. 2006)
- Acid2 Timeline
- How Thunderbird's Scam Detection Works (Nov. 2005)
- Voyage of the FyreFawkes (Sep. 2005)
- User-Agent Spoofing Explained (Aug. 2005)
- Foxes need updates, too (June 2005)
- Bring It On (Feb 2005) re: IE7
- Web Browser Renaissance (June 2003)
- Interesting Omission (April 2004)
- Browser Switch Campaigns Compared (Dec. 2004)
- IE7 and competing on features (May 2005)
- Know Your Enemy (Opera and Firefox editions) (May 2006)
- On Broken HTML (Nov. 2006)
- Farewell, Netscape! (Dec 2007)
- Spreading to the Converted (April 2007)
- Upgrading the Web: IE8 Released (March 2009)