Musings from Mars Banner Image
For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Mars Report:

AOL’s I Am Alpha: A Wide Slap At Mac Users on Safari

Published February 16th, 2006

I Am Alpha: AOL’s Take on Widgets Doesn’t Work on Safari

So, here’s another company that’s dying to get in on the cool goodness that is Dashboard Widgets. This time, it’s AOL with something called I Am Alpha, and they’re basing their work on the excellent open-source Dojo Javascript framework.

Sounds great, but then it turns out that they left Safari users out in the cold!

This is another horrible example of a company with blinders on. Google has been doing this lately, too. What am I talking about? Why, thinking it’s OK to release a new product without support for Safari or other KHTML-based browsers.

It’s particularly galling in this case, since the whole concept of little HTML/CSS/Javascript/Ajax widgets was pioneered on the Mac… first with Konfabulator, and then, in a purer format, by Apple in the Tiger Dashboard. Another reason why it’s horrible is that Dojo itself is almost completely Safari-compatible. Indeed, the Dojo rich text editor is one of the very few that actually works on Safari. It runs great on the latest nightly build Webkit versions, but decently on the latest Apple releases (I haven’t yet tried 10.4.5, which was released today).

It’s NOT OK to do this. Firefox/Camino/Seamonkey/Mozilla are great browsers, but there are features of Safari that keep even those of us who admire the Mozilla family of browsers using Safari the majority of the time. By the same measure, it’s NOT OK to release ANY kind of web application without support for Safari. After all, Safari is–I think this is still the case–the browser that has the MOST COMPLETE alignment with the w3c standards for HTML, CSS, and Javascript. If you want to talk about open standards, that’s great. But then don’t go and release applications that work fine in a crappy browser like IE6 yet not in a brilliant one like Safari.

Grrr. AOL should be ashamed, and this alliance is certainly not something that Dojo should be proud of.

Yahoo's Browser Support StandardsAddendum It should be noted that Yahoo, by contrast, has released its dynamic HTML library of widgets with complete support for Safari. If you haven’t checked it out, you should… there are some marvelous javascript/css widgets for animation, trees, slides, and the rest at the recently released Yahoo Interface Library. What’s even more remarkable–particularly in light of AOL’s arrogant behavior toward Safari–is that Yahoo has developed well defined standards for browser support, and guess what? Apple’s Safari’s browser for both Panther and Tiger is listed as an A grade browser. See the full table here.

  • Google
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • blogmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx

Show Comments
Just Say No To Flash