ComputerWeekly.com is running a story entitled “Non-Microsoft Browsers Are Most Secure Choice” (see http://www.computerweekly.com/articles/article.asp?liArticleID=131776). The article argues that Microsoft Internet Explorer is less secure because a) it has grown to be too big and complex and that makes securing it difficult, b) “we wanted interactive stuff and to plug things into the browser; and there’s a cost to that: there will be ports open”, c) “more obscure operating systems will get hacked less”. These are valid opinions (although perhaps a little too simplistic).
But my favorite part of the article is the tail end, a brief discussion on how static content can easily be made to be cross-browser, but dynamic content less so. “The questions to ask are what is the site doing: is it dynamic or static? If it uses dynamic HTML and cascading style sheets, it will take more work”. Ok, so “dynamic” is referring to DHTML, got it, and yes, that can indeed be a pain to make cross-browser (although, equating CSS with DHTML in this way is somewhat misleading).
And then, “If the site uses a high degree of scripting languages like PHP and CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language), developers will also have their hands full … tools like Macromedia MX, and Dreamweaver MX allow you to produce a site for every platform available. But if you’ve written the scripts in something like CFML, there are not many tools available to translate the interactive, dynamic part”. So now dynamic means server-side dynamic? Huh? Make up your mind, they are not the same!
Portability is indeed an issue for client-side dynamic content (DHTML), but dynamic data driven server-side processing? What has that got to do with portability? If anything, the ability to generate different content on-the-fly can actually help promote portability.
Am I missing something? There seems to be some confusion here. This one belongs squarely in the “irresponsible reporting” category.

4 thoughts

  1. "…But if you’ve written the scripts in something like CFML, there are not many tools available to translate the interactive, dynamic part…"
    I had to deal with this "argument" (non-sense) a couple of months while pitching ColdFusion MX to a prospective client. The argument came from their most senior IT guy and at that point, I knew I was wasting my time with this company 😉

  2. The reporter obviously doesn’t understand the distinction. Although, I think you will find most people using the term "dynamic" interchangeably.
    These problems related to CSS, Javascript and XML are caused by there being no single, specific standard. Microsoft can go off an do their own thing in defiance of W3C "standards." The only people for feel the pain are developers and end users. That’s the real story: how to create and enforce Internet standards.

  3. Reporters commonly have rather "strange" knowledge about IT, for example "open source, better known as shareware".

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