Opera to support -webkit- prefixes
So now it’s official: Opera will support a number of -webkit- prefixes. It’s supposedly “experimental”, but still.
The reasoning for this is “[...] we have experienced that many authors of (especially mobile) sites only use -webkit- prefixed CSS, thereby ignoring other vendor prefixes and not even including an unprefixed equivalent. This leads to a reduced user experience on Opera and Firefox [...]
(I guess Internet Explorer is not even relevant anymore, despite having a major market share.)
In other words: many web developers are doing it wrong and so Opera will basically support “erronous” coding structure. Faruk Ateş sums it up rather well in more detail, but what Opera is doing is “fixing” the websites that are supposedly breaking the web with their code by rendering poorly authored web pages “correctly”.
When you read it like that, it does seem like this is a proper attempt to move the web forward. But in my opinion, it is the exact opposite. This is not moving the web forward, it actually supports -maybe even encourages- writing “lazy” code. A developer who writes this sort of code, will not be inclined to fix it (for Opera) anymore if it looks fine in Opera anyway, and as a result, he/she probably will continue to code this way.
I understand why Opera made this decision -to give Opera users a better browsing experience, obviously- but I just disagree with it. Of course, -webkit-prefix support in Opera absolutely doesn’t make any sites break more (on the contrary), but it does break overall web progress. This is not working towards the solution of a problem; it’s surrendering to it, advocating it and caving in.
HELPING OPERA USERS…ONLY THEM
So what if a site looks bad in Opera because the author did not code it well? There are millions of examples where improper code is making things look bad in Internet Explorer 6/7/8 (despite the browser bugs itself, but that is a different story). In the past 2 years, developers have stopped supporting IE6 and IE7 in an attempt to say “That’s it, enough is enough. We’ve supported your prehistoric browser long enough, it is now time to upgrade. If you choose to keep
living browsing in the past, it will have some consequences“. Giving the IE6/7 users some tough love. If we would keep spending time on making our sites look good in IE6/7, we’d not be making any attempts to move the web forward.
Supporting the -webkit-prefix in Opera because authors are lazy is almost the same thing. Although it might seem that NOT supporting the prefix will “punish” the Opera user for the author’s faults, this is not the case. If there even is talk of any punishing, it’s the author who’s punishing his/her users, and Opera should not jump in and say “no worries, we’ll take care of this for you“.
YET ANOTHER ANALOGY
Let’s say the road from NY to LA has a certain speed limit. Anyone who exceeds that limit it and gets caught, gets a fine. Now let’s pretend that Greyhound’s policy is that if one of their bus drivers is caught speeding, the company will step forward and pay the fine. Always. The driver will go free.
This surely won’t encourage the Greyhound drivers to stick to the rules and obey the speed limit. Sure it will give the passengers a “better” experience (after all, they end up in LA before the passengers in any other bus), but at what cost? The end result is that the drivers will continue to break the law, simply because they (or anyone else for that matter) won’t be punished for taking those liberties.
That can’t be right.
It’s the same with this situation — Opera is telling authors that it’s OK to write “lazy” code, because their browser will render it properly anyway and it will give Opera users a better experience.
IT’S ABOUT THE ENTIRE WEB
Come on, Opera. It’s great that you have the best intentions for your own users, but this should not go at the expense of progress of the entire web. Take a stand to tell web authors that it’s not OK to write bad code, and that if they continue to do that, their users will suffer from it.
If Microsoft can show web authors to stop supporting IE6 simply because phasing out IE6 is simply better for the web, you can show authors your support to come up with proper code. And that’s really, really easy to do: by not supporting -webkit-prefixes.
I admire Opera’s intent to make this whole thing great for their users. But creates a disadvantage in many other areas. OK, it’s not directly “breaking the web”, but it’s encouraging/supporting authors to. And these authors should just code properly (includes adding other prefixes than just -webkit-), if they want to do it right.