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The new IE discussion »

FERDY CHRISTANT - AUG 22, 2006 (06:59:16 PM)

  After the decade-long discussion of Microsoft not making IE standards-compliant, there is a whole new discussion going on. Now that the team working on IE7 seem very dedicated on improving the CSS support, two new questions pop up:
  • Microsoft is blowing their horn on how serious they now take standards. Do we believe them, and, do they deserve credit for it?
  • Will all of this make any difference in the life of a web developer?
I think that this thread illustrates this new discussion well. On the other hand, this video of the IE7 team deserves some sympathy.

My take on this is as follow:

  • No. Microsoft deserves no credit for improving standards-compliancy in IE7. The decision to leave the most important application in the world not compliant for so many years must have been taken consciously. The decision is not in the interest of the end users, web developers and ISVs, but in the interest of Microsoft themselves. It is positive that the improvements are being made, but they are fixes, not new features. IE7 was supposed to work this way years ago, so I'll see it as an apology to the community, and not something to cheer for. I also question the timing and motivation of Microsoft. If Microsoft survives Google, are we left in the dark again?
  • Yes. The IE7 team deserves credit. Based on their video and blog, my impression is that they are clever, hard-working people who admit that IE6 is full of shortcomings and unexpected behavior. They cannot help the poor decision making at the top
  • Maybe. IE7 will have some influence on the lifes of web developers. If you are running in standards-mode (opposed to quirks mode), things that you previously had to fix for IE, will now work right away. Yet, will your original fix influence the renewed (working) behavior, or will you need to fix your fix? And what about users still on IE6? Are we going back to browser-sniffing again? I predict that you will only be safe on your corporate intranet, and that for the next 5 years, IE fixes will still be needed.

BTW, here is the IE blog entry describing the CSS fixes.

What do you think?

Comments: 3

COMMENT: YOGI homepage

AUG 22, 10:11:41 PM

comment » I believe that as a Domino developer, my life will not change as Domino outputs bad doctype which makes any modern browser (IE7 included) switch into quirks mode.

And not, adding DominoCompleteDoctype=1 in the notes.ini is not a solution as it may break all the existing databases. «


AUG 23, 07:04:21 AM

comment » hi Yogi,

Correct. Although it is possible to control the doctype without using that ini setting:

however, this is not realistic for all corporate applications. Its a whole different way of developing and can be more time-consuming. still, this blog is Domino-based, and the doc type is fine so it can be done.

What do you think about non-Domino web development? «


SEP 2, 11:31:55

comment » I use DominoCompleteDoctype=1 and it did not break all databases. Yes, there are some quirks to get around like centered tables started to center all inside text but speaking generally it was relatively painless.

IE7 is promised to be distributed through Windows Update, Vista will have it so it much depends on how much marketshare you consider as important. I expect IE6 and lower to drop below 10 percent same time next year and that is my pessimistic guess.

Will it influence a web developer? The growth rates of Firefox might become flat or slightly negative if people move to vista and get the IE7 default.

I had hoped that maybe Microsoft would just let it go and not do IE7. Why would it harm if the browser, that is free as in beer, does not come from Microsoft.

But at the end it is good that IE6 disappears, for both the web developer and the user. «

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