The Web Standards Project (WSP) is claiming the first round in the battle to encourage Web browser vendors to make their browsers more standards-compliant.
According to the WSP, its recent petition to Netscape convinced the vendor to include WSP's renderer, NGLayout, in the upcoming Communicator 5 browser software.
The renderer, or layout engine, is the part of the browser that turns HTML, XML and scripting code into the Web page displayed on a user's screen.
WSP claims that designing Web sites to support different browsers currently adds 25% to the cost of Web design and this is prompting Web developers to support its campaign.
NGLayout, codenamed Raptor, was meant to be included in the free Mozilla version of Communi-cator by September this year but the Mozilla development team has only recently switched to the new engine. According to a new development roadmap posted by Brendan Eich, who is responsible for architecture and technical direction at Mozilla.org, the decision to move to NGLayout was prompted by "the judgment of the (Mozilla) module owners; the fervent wishes of Web content authors; and my personal judgment as Mozilla.org's technical big shot."
Netscape's move will offer distinct advantages for third-party developers wishing to Web-enable their applications.
Michael Mealling, senior research engineer for Network Solutions, said: "One aspect of NGLayout is that it will create a much more rigorous modularity between parts of the application. If you're writing a mail tool and just want to be able to parse MIME messages, you can just include the MIME module from Mozilla without having to use the entire application and its look and feel."
The WSP still has to convince Microsoft to make Internet Explorer 5.0 more standards-compliant and to resist adding proprietary extensions such as Dynamic HTML Behaviours, an extension to standard DHTML. Microsoft did not respond to requests for comments on this issue.
- More Internet news p 30.
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