Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Harmony Fallout

There's a lot of weirdness going on around the Harmony announcement. This post in particular tries to dig into some of the wrangling that caused the ES4/3.1 split and what the Oslo resolution "means", but I'm afraid that much of the analysis is being done without the benefit of an inside view of the WG process.

At the risk of talking too much out of school, I want to set the record straight in some ways. First, let me set some facts out:

So, lets pop up and talk about strategy for a minute. Fundamentally, very little has changed in terms of available strategic options for any of the players:

What died here wasn't Adobe's attempts to "own" a spec. If there were such hopes in play, they had been quietly put down one rational, backwards compatible decision after another in the year preceding the Oslo meeting. What died was an assumption that the web can evolve without implementations being out in front of the spec. AS3 was one implementation of a JavaScript-like language that might have been a contender for crown of "the next one", but so was JScript.NET. That neither of them "won" simply because they had been built in good faith is as true a sign as I can find that the process is working. Adobe gets it. Lets end the silly meme that "Adobe lost" or that "Microsoft won". The game has hardly begun and it won't be settled in a standards body anyway. What matters – and what we all need to keep our eyes keenly trained on – is what the big implementations do in the way of compatibility, performance, and feature set once ES3.1 arrives.