Web developers are from Mars

I imagine most of you reading this blog already read Joel on Software, but today's post is destined to be a classic. Joel worked at Microsoft on the Excel team from 1991 to 1995, where he clearly learnt a lot about programming in the real world, with real world pragmatism and real world ugly hacks. His writings are always a good antidote to assuming that Microsoft is the evil empire, intent on owning the world. In reality, it's a bumbling megacorp making sensible, rational decisions that end up hurting someone, somewhere no matter which way the decision goes.

Today's post is about the war between the web standards sticklers and the poor saps who have to implement browsers. It's a really hilarious description of why standards aren't the panacea, and why writing useful stuff for the web is hard.

I have a sneaking suspicion that his prediction that IE8 will revert to buggy IE7 mode by default before release is spot on. But at least in the meantime enough web developers will notice that their pages are broken and fix them.

Me? I'm pushing the change to our site tonight that will force IE7 rendering mode, because I don't have time to fix the buggy behaviour just now. Pragmatic, but I hate it. However, you try telling your boss you need to spend a week hunting down tiny little bugs caused by a software upgrade that's a few months away from being out in the real world.