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(Dis)Graceful Degradation: OmniGroup Responds (they agree)

23 January 2001

In my latest column, I begged OmniGroup to fix their CSS implementation, and argued that web developers should not refrain from implementing long-standing web standards like CSS just because a beta-version browser supports them poorly. I received an email from Ken Case of OmniGroup in response, which is reproduced in full below (aside from translating a quote marks to curly ones, etc). I would like to thank OmniGroup for their constructive response, and I look forward to seeing another browser that takes standards seriously, when the final version arrives.

— CodeBitch (

> OmniGroup, get your act together soon, please!

Absolutely! And I strongly agree: I really, really don’t want anyone to “fix” their pages to work with our current broken implementation, I want people to complain to us that our browser is broken and expect us to fix it.

I apologize for the current state of CSS in beta 8. As you know, it truly would have been better to have either finished our CSS support or to have left it out entirely: your page looks much, much better in beta 4 (before we started adding support for CSS). Our plan was to finish all of CSS for beta 5 (and yes, finishing CSS includes actually going through the test suite and making sure everything really does work), but as we were half-way through this process Public Beta was finally released with a bunch of new OS bugs that made OmniWeb completely unstable – so we had to drop working on CSS to work on stability issues for the last several betas (and unfortunately, that meant it was half-implemented in all of them).

Now that OmniWeb (as of beta 8b) is a lot more stable again, we’re able to focus our attention on implementing full CSS support again, and that’s our top priority for beta 9. We’ve redesigned our text building engine around CSS (so we now use some default style sheet settings to implement standard HTML markup tags like <b>, etc.), and everything is much, much better.

Unfortunately, beta 9 is currently built on top of a post-Public Beta release, so either we’ll have to backport everything to Public Beta or we’ll have to wait until March 24 when Mac OS X is finally released. We’re doing one more stability release for Public Beta in the next few days (a small patch to beta 8), so maybe I can quickly add a preference to disable the broken CSS support to that build, and make it the default.


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