With Firefox 3 recently released, with its market share higher than 30% in Europe, it's easy to forget that seven years ago, things were really different:

  • The Mozilla future was quite gloomy. I remember discussions inside Netscape were many people thought that killing Mozilla was the best option, and the Big Rewrite was still underway, and the codebase was in really poor shape (Netscape 6, anyone?)
  • The future of the Web was uncertain: most Web sites were limited to Internet Explorer, which was not actively developed after version 6 was released in August 2001.

At Netscape, a gang of people (the TE/DS team) was concerned that the Web needed Open Standards to thrive. In order to promote Web Standards, several initiatives took place, including:

  1. Devedge, a Web site dedicated to Web developers, teaching Web standards
  2. Testing the top 2000 or so Web sites in the US, France, UK and Germany (this is how I ended up being paid to visit German porn sites during office hours!) When compatibility bugs were found on a site, we used to send patches to the owner of the site.

Seven years later, in 2008, Web standards are doing better than ever, and the future of the Web is bright again...

Among the people from the TE/DS team, 4 are now working for Mozilla:

Marcio, Bob, Arun & Tristan

Marcio Galli, Bob Clary, Arun Ranganathan, Tristan Nitot

Some other include Eric CSS Meyer, Mathieu Pillard[1] and Susie Wyshak. Edit: I forgot to mention Doron Rosenberg, shame on me!

While I think that all of us in the TE/DS team did make a difference to promote the Open Web (with the help of ALA, the WaSP, OpenWeb and the efforts of many individuals, I think in retrospect that the biggest single thing that has made Web standards a reality is 200 million people using Firefox on a regular basis ;-)


[1] Mathieu was an intern at the time, based in the Paris office.