Are Apple and Google creating a crisis for the open Web?

February 10th, 2012

A CNET article, W3C co-chair: Apple, Google power causing Open Web crisis, says that “The dominance of Apple and Google mobile browsers is leading to a situation that’s even worse for Web programming than the former dominance of Internet Explorer, a standards group leader warned today.”

The problem is that both the Safari and Chrome browsers, and their counterparts on Android, iPhone and iPad, use the WebKit layout engine. WebKit supports many non-standard CSS features and Web developers are building sites and pages that take advantage of them.

Daniel Glazman, co-chairman of the CSS Working Group, described it this way.

Not so long ago, IE6 was the over-dominant browser on the Web. Technically, the Web was full of works-only-in-IE6 web sites and the other browsers, the users were crying. IE6 is dead, this time is gone, and all browsers vendors including Microsoft itself rejoice. Gone? Not entirely… IE6 is gone, the problem is back.

WebKit, the rendering engine at the heart of Safari and Chrome, living in iPhones, iPads and Android devices, is now the over-dominant browser on the mobile Web and technically, the mobile Web is full of works-only-in-WebKit web sites while other browsers and their users are crying.

He issued a call to action that describes the steps that the web community of authors, designers and developers can take to support an open web based on standards.