Enterprises by the very nature of their business, are speculative, cynic, slow to adopt new technology especially relating to information technology. And this is all for (quite) a valid reason. I remember one of my colleagues differentiating between ‘cutting edge technology’ and ‘leading edge technology’. The latest tech. breakthroughs on the edge are what we refer to as cutting-edge. While leading-edge generally refers to technology which is still relatively new and has to an extent been able to stand the test of tide. Enterprises feel reluctant to try cutting-edge tech especially in IT as IT is (mostly) a support function as compared to the main operation of the organization and is lower in priority. [This is the part III in this series — read part II The story of Netscape and Enterprise Desktop Browsers – Part II]
Vendors supporting non-standard proprietary technology always wanted to support their product on the commonly used browser. Their customers while quite aware of the fact did not foresee how in the future standards will play a role to integrate various technologies together. They chose products (from vendors) which could live up to the enterprise-requirements (even at the cost of being non-standard). Finally when technology changed and enterprises started realizing the growing potential of standards and the role they would play in the future, they could only speculate. And with the change in (browser) technology they came to a stand-off wherein they had to make a choice. The time-tested solutions (products) they were using made use of non-standard technology and did not work on the new Internet Explorer 7 claiming standards-compliance.
Now with the browsers pitching in standards and forcing enterprises to upgrade rendered the vendor products unsupported. They can either postpone the upgrade or look up to the vendor to issue patches which could make their products support the standards. This means big dollars to the organizations. The websites in the intranet (in all probability) will no longer function on Internet Explorer 7 until they are redesigned. Of course they will continue to function on mozillian browsers as (most) of them always used separate and standard code to run. Vendors are struggling to support Internet Explorer 7. Enterprises meanwhile are waiting it out. It’s time to learn a lesson.
- Supporting monopoly never helps in the long run.
- Following rules (standards) always helps in the long run.
- Most-commonly used technology is not the only good one there is. And,
other technologies don’t necessarily have any less potential.
- It’s never too late to start again.
Enterprises have their reservations about using open source software in the production environment. And this is not without reason. The main concerns are the stability of the product, updates, support and maintenance, availability of experts etc. However recent trends in the industry show that we are in the age of standardization. Microsoft Unified Communications is an excellent example of a technology that will rely completely on standards to bring various facets of communication together. Another is the increasing growth and adoption of Firefox on the internet. With its excellent support for standards (all) most of the standards compliant sites work on Firefox. Waiting to have more cited? Internet Explorer 7. Yes, it’s by far the (arguably the) biggest implementation of standards by Microsoft. Internet Explorer 7 may not yet be fully compliant but its undergoing the process.
While Internet Explorer 7 is one browser which comes with all the bells and whistles of vendor support, updates regular patches etc. there’s Mozilla Firefox which has been growing by leaps and bounds amongst the population. With easily available support, regular updates it also carries with it a host of features found in few browsers available today. Here’s an html presentation you could watch.
So, in this series we saw how the browser-world has changed and so has the technology and the market. All this is a part of the new generation of Web 2.0 as we call it. You can’t avoid it or keep your eyes closed any longer. Time to act or you are already on shaky grounds.