“Let’s use Microsoft Runtimes!”

Startling to consider, I know, but… isn’t that what “Standardistas” and “Open Web” people are actually saying, when they say “Only HTML/JS/CSS is acceptable”?

Hear me out before judging. I’m pretty surprised at having such a thought myself, so I’m still looking for ways to invalidate it. If you’ve got a good argument, I’d like to hear it. But it’s a simple thought, and so seems strong.

We do know that “Flash subverting The Web” and such are bandied about. The rap is that you “shouldn’t” rely upon the Adobe runtime because it’s “not HTML, CSS and JavaScript“. When asked why, the most common response is something along the lines of “Because Adobe might do something bad someday.” (At this point I want to ask, “What, like they did with PostScript or PDF?” ;-)

According to the best stats I’ve seen — Google worldwide queries Jan07-Jun08, over a billion browsers — Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 is still used by almost 40% of the people out there. That’s a lot. Beyond that, there’s also about 40% of the world using Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. Another big audience. Beyond that, Firefox? One person out of six… 16%. A meaningful audience, but still, only one person out of every six. Safari has half the remainder, Opera is bigger on mobile, and 1.4% use even rarer browser brands.

Microsoft has overwhelming, crushing marketshare in rendering websites’ HTML. 80% of the time your JavaScript will run in a Microsoft logic engine, against a Microsoft DOM, with Microsoft styling, and it’s 50/50 whether you’ll be running inside IE6 or 7. A TV network is ecstatic to get a 40% marketshare. A political party is completely satisfied with a 51% marketshare. Google dominates search with 60% marketshare.

For running Ajax, Microsoft has an 80% marketshare.

You can’t choose. Your audience makes their own choice. And 80% of the time they choose a Microsoft runtime to render your HTML, CSS, and JS productions. Microsoft runs your code for you.

When you create an HTML page, 80% of people will view it in a Microsoft runtime. A pure “web standards” site from a CSS guru? Four out of every five people will see it rendered by a Microsoft runtime. A JavaScript application which can retrieve text from a server without refreshing the page? Your scripting will overwhelmingly be interpreted by a Microsoft runtime.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, getting close to 50%. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, dropping down towards 30%. Mozilla Firefox, less than 20%. Safari, Opera, Konqueror, and more which must be supported.

But inevitably rendered 80% of the time in a Microsoft runtime.

(I know, I know, there is the promise that the standards process will someday Shame Microsoft Into Doing The Right Thing, and that Firefox must eventually rule the world, and “Better IE than SL!”, but please bear with me, I was born a skeptical fella…. ;-)

If you’re objecting to Adobe runtimes “because they’re proprietary”, then why would it be preferable to run nearly-all-the-time in Microsoft runtimes instead?

Such a simple question, seems like it should have a simple answer….