The need for IE-only sites? (was RE: [thelist] Identify a Web Crawler's request)

David Travis dwork at
Wed Jul 7 12:18:21 CDT 2004

Hi Chris,

The baker metaphor is interesting... I imagine what the browser would say to
his user after visiting the site... "Hey, Bill, don't visit this site
again... it serves me XMLs and XSLTs to process! I am the client! This is
not a service!"...


Sites are not raw HTMLs anymore.


-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-bounces at
[mailto:thelist-bounces at] On Behalf Of
chris at
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 2:25 PM
To: thelist at
Subject: Re: The need for IE-only sites? (was RE: [thelist] Identify a Web
Crawler's request)


> I don't really understand the outlash, here. He's done what a Good Web
> Developer is supposed to do:
> (1) Analyze his or her site's audience.
> (2) Develop predictions of loss due to lack of support for certain
> .
> (3) Determine whether these losses are acceptable or whether it is
> worth it to work to support these other browsers.
> Now, you may disagree with his results with this process, but that can
> be argued ad nauseam in any situation.
> Web developers in standards-oriented communities tend to overapply the
> "standards are best" mantra. Coding to standards is a great way to get
> the most out of 95% of web sites. But, for those other 5%, very often
> including specific web-based applications, this is not necessarily the
> case.
> If he believes his audience to be Internet-naive, which it seems like
> he does, I think he would be silly to put any extra effort into
> supporting non-IE browsers.

I feel that the main issue at hand has nothing to do with proprietary
browser technologies and has everything to do with application design. If
this is a commercial enterprise, the excuse for client-side programming
being that he wants to take the load off the server is unjustified. A baker
wouldn't serve up eggs, sugar and flour and ask the customer to mix them up
and bake them with the excuse that he didn't want to employ another baker.
If your server can't handle the demands of a web application, then factor in
the costs of another server and re-evaluate whether your enterprise has any
business merit. If not, then perhaps take another route or keep it as a

Unless the application is to be run over an intranet or carefully controlled
extranet, you have no control over the browser. There are major differences,
for instance, in the manner in which CSS is handled in minor (and of course
major) versions of both IE and Netscape, so even accommodating the current
version or IE6 doesn't future-proof you in the least.


Chris Marsh
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