Joel: Now would be a good time to buy stock in Internet flamewars

by Volker Weber

Imagine that you went to Mars, where you discovered that the beings who live there don’t have the portable music player. They’re still using boom boxes.

You realize this is a huge business opportunity and start selling portable MP3 players (except on Mars they’re called Qxyzrhjjjjukltks) and compatible headphones.

Follow Joel on his journey to explain requirements for backwards compatibility. He is a brilliant writer who only lacks the ability to make his point with a short story. So pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and get cracking.

More >


How true that is! He writes beautiful and interesting stuff, but it's difficult to find excuses to take the necessary half-day off to read through his latest piece, follow up all the links and do it proper justice.

Nick Daisley, 2008-03-18

Mark Pilgrim's take on Joel is also fun to read...

Armin Auth, 2008-03-18

Mark is the idealist. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2008-03-18

true, but without his comment it would be only half the fun. And despite all, both are usually a worthwhile read.

Armin Auth, 2008-03-18

Mark is the idealist. ;-)That’s one word for him… ;o)

Ben Poole, 2008-03-18

So Joel Spolsky wants us to believe that the special behaviour of IE6/7 is caused by a legitimate interpretation of very complicated and vague standards. The IE team tried its best but unfortunatly web pages don't look the same in IE as in other browsers. That's naive. Microsoft deliberately violated standards like CSS or DOM by implementing them only partially or simply ignoring the spec. Who really believes that this impressive list of bugs and errors is just the fault of a bad standard, when almost every other vendor is able to comply with it?

Wolfgang Sommergut, 2008-03-19

It's fair to say that *some* of the rendering oddities in any browser are due to complicated and vague standards. HTML was intended to define semantic structure around text for generic browsers, not to build crazy, visually rich web applications. Furthermore, new versions have to support old bad behavior from previous versions, at least for a while. This is not an excuse, but a partial explanation. The issue is more and less complicated than Joel made it out to be. Here's my take:

Robby Slaughter, 2008-03-22

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe