Lexis Update

I’ve been working to get the Lexis-Nexis online legal research system to generate valid HTML so the service works with browsers other than Microsoft’s. Back in April, Lexis promised the fix was imminent. About a month ago, I wrote them back explaining that they had fixed it for users who spoofed their browser agent as Netscape, but not Mozilla (or for Netscape users on GNU/Linux). I got no response, so wrote them back yet again more recently.

Finally, they’ve “fixed” it for the Mozilla browser. Here’s the response they gave me:

Thank you for your continued contribution regarding these issues. Rest assured that your feedback is received and considered. Following the August release the Tab issue was corrected for the Mozilla Browser. A user should not have to "spoof" NS to get Mozilla to function properly regarding the tabs. I also checked Opera and the tabs are all working on that browser as well. Both Opera and Mozilla combined comprise less than one half of one half a percent of user access for lexis.com. Linux currently comprises .06% of OS access to lexis.com. While we try to address usability and functional issues that effect our customers, there is an analysis involved regarding cost of fix v. benefit returned. The Linux OS, as well as the Mozilla and Opera browsers, are not included in our testing programs at this time due to their low use. When issues are subsequently discovered we examine them on a case by case basis to determine feasibility and cost of implementation. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us and for using LexisNexis.
lexis.com product management

All I was asking for was to have the

and tags in the proper order! How much could that fix cost?

More fundamentally, if these companies adhered (at least generally) to the HTML standard (any version!) then many of these problems would go away. The whole point of standards is to reduce development costs; you shouldn’t need to test your product on one hunderd and one different browsers. If it passes an HTML validator test, then you can call it a day.

This whole episode also hammered in for me yet again the advantages of open source development. If there’s a problem and the developer refuses to fix it, then you can do it yourself. With a proprietary system like Lexis-Nexis, you’re at their mercy, and even a one minute fix won’t make it in if it’s not on their agenda.

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