Snarky snarky.


This post is about me. Please do not post comments about Microsoft’s behavior in response to this post.  This isn’t a troll for congratulations or thanks, either.

I stopped replying to the comments in the last post.  Not because I stopped reading them, but because I realized that I needed to step back, because the (intentional or not) trolls really were luring me in, and I realized I have tended to sound extra snarky occasionally on my own blog.

There’s a lot of anger aimed at Microsoft, in particular around IE.  A lot of it comes out in comments, here and in the IEBlog.  A lot of the frustration behind it is certainly justified, though being frustrated at me personally is not. I try very hard never to take it personally, and usually succeed.  I occasionally let blatant inaccuracies piss me off, and then I can get pretty pissy in tone in reply.  (The inaccuracies are frequently the result of anti-Microsoft sentiment to begin with, compounded with the last five years of web browser non-feature-development.) Too many people read that as “typical Microsoft arrogance”, which frankly pisses me off all the more, because I’ve personally railed against Microsoft arrogance for longer than most of you have been involved in the web. (Yes, really. I started working on IE in 1995. I know many of you were working on the web prior to that, but I doubt the majority were.)

A few months ago, Molly posted a piece on internal vs. external standards evangelism.  I thought it was great, in part because I am perhaps the alpha internal standards evangelist.  Few of you believe it – occasionally, someone who knows me really well does – but I actually believe in open standards.  Real open standards.  The ones built by a group of people with an interest in making the world better, not just in their own private vested interests. I’ve championed that in one way or another since I joined Microsoft, and I continue to do so today. It’s been a hard road, but not one I can imagine myself not choosing to walk down. It’s been gratifying to me over the past couple of years to see my championing pay off in the change of direction in Microsoft. It’s been frustrating, though, to be continually identified as the personal screw-up responsible for IE not supporting more standards today, when it’s actually because of my personal influence that CSS is IMPLEMENTED in IE. 

What has frustrated me the most has been the uninformed or unrealistic comments. I don’t like my team being called lazy, for example; I don’t like being told my team is “[finding] excuses for not making other improvements.” We’re not looking for excuses; we’ve done the best we can in IE7 given the limitations of time and space. Everything is a tradeoff – look at the progress of the Firefox 2.0 project and I think you’ll see that project management is not that simple.

At any rate. For being snarkier than I should have been, my sincere apologies.


Comments (61)

  1. Peter says:

    With your position on the IE team and with your exposure here you need an awfully thick skin to survive. I don’t think I could.

    Clearly you shouldn’t be the whipping boy for all that Microsoft has done, but as a representative (and your position in the IE team) I’m not suprised that you’re being treated the way you are. I don’t think it’s right, but that’s not going to change any time soon.

    I can see it from both sides of the fence, I think the personal characterisation of you and your team as lazy is unfair and unjustified. However, as both a e-commerce professional and as a consumer I share the frustrations of others when it comes to the recent history of IE and the apparent stagnation that occurred until Firefox came along. In fact, I’m too cynical to believe that IE would change at all (except maybe a nice flasy Aero interface) if it weren’t for Firefox. So I would accuse Microsoft of being lazy in that respect.

    I applaud your efforts at attempting to improve the situation from the inside, and I’m looking forward to see what happens as time goes on. I have been using IE7 since the public betas began and I am pleasantly suprised by how much better it is than IE6 and the new features such as RSS reader and the more intuitive way of handling tabs. In fact, I have switched over from Firefox 1.5 to using IE7 almost all the time. I think your team has done a great job with IE7.

    Having said that, I still have issues as a professional with the perceived attitude of Microsoft when it comes to web development and I do see some further need to improve IE7 with respect to standards.

  2. RichB says:

    It’s a shame to learn the arrogance is endemic when so many good people fail in their efforts to make a change.

    As for the open standards "built by a group of people with an interest in making the world better", it would be nice if Microsoft had a rep on the WhatWG.

  3. Firdaus Aziz says:

    "We’re not looking for excuses; we’ve done the best we can in IE7 given the limitations of time and space."

    Limited TIME and SPACE? How much time do you actually need? How many years in between IE6 and IE7?

    As people have commented here in the past… it’s all excuses, excuses and excuses.

  4. David Joseph says:

    Ok I’n sure this is never going to happen but if you believe in Open standards how about adopting the Mozilla engine instead of the (I think) Trident engine you have now, then instead of modifying something thats broken you would be ahead of the game in the fact that all you would have to do is add the IE specific changes to it? I know, I know it would be a massive internal fight to get it done but think of the advantages? More time to work on those Open standards instead of internal ones

  5. David Joseph says:

    Oops I meant Gecko engine (my bad)

  6. Chris Jones says:

    It’s a bit strange to be claiming credit for CSS being implemented at all, given how bad it is.

    Sure you’ve probably been pushing hard, but the simple fact that you have to push at all when it should be a nobrainer, speaks volumes about Microsoft’s internal attitude to "playing nice" with everyone else on the Internet. Whatever you say to deny the accusations of arrogance, the simple fact that support for CSS was ever in question (which your post suggests it was), proves it beyond doubt, even if you can’t see it.

  7. ntoll says:

    With no intention of disrespect to you personally or to your team, given that "we’ve done the best we can in IE7 given the limitations of time and space" then one is forced to conclude that Microsoft’s best is just not good enough.

    Thankyou for your efforts at standards evangelism but I can’t help wondering why it has taken so long for MS to even start to address this problem. This situation is obviously a reflection of MS’s poor strategy and foresight for IE (or are Microsoft’s projects always so constrained [in terms of time and space]?).

    Unfortunately, as a developer I spend a good part of my day being frustrated by IE’s (both 6 and 7) lack of standards compliance. Until Microsoft fixes IE’s extraordinarily poor and frustrating standards compliance I can only but recommend either Firefox or Opera to my clients and fellow users.

  8. Samo says:

    I am on a Mac, hence no IE. And while I am not happy about the state of IE, I wanted to point out that developing a browser in the Microsoft context is completely different than what Firefox/Safari/etc teams can work with.

    Perhaps it would be wise for microsoft to simply licence a rendering engine and create a internet-only product altogether? Something completely self-contained and disconnected from the Windows/IE world, using the IE user interface? At least that would show that Microsoft actually cares about the users and their experience…

  9. Does Microsoft care about the end user, or do they care about the shareholder?

    Whilst Bill is happily trying to save the planet, perhaps Microsoft should be seeking to salvage some modicum of respect from the community at large.

    If you have time and resource constraints that mean you cannot implement a standards compliant browser, then don’t release it.

    Doing so suggests you’re more interested in maintaining a monopoly and locking in users to your products than actually enhancing user and developer experience and pushing back the frontiers of innovation.

    If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, not just because it increases market share and profitability.

  10. Florian says:

    I can very much imagine that M$ is so underwater with time and space that their best simply doesn’t cut it.

    After all what’s hard to believe that M$’s best is not good enough.

    Unfortunately for them, the world’s not going to stop and wait for them to catch their breath. So dear M$, please stop making everybodies lifes miserable on the web by pretending you could implement a Browser.

  11. Isofarro says:

    Chris, I don’t envy the position you are in, but I do appreciate the effort you and your team have made with IE7 in the past 18 months to 2 years. Just this morning something authored to webstandards just worked in IE7 – that is how it should be. Thank you.

    I think the only gripe I have about IE7 (and that was beta 2) opening a new Tab with Ctrl-T, I’d expect the focus to be in the URL bar so I can either paste or type in a new URL.

    Firdaus Aziz: "Limited TIME and SPACE? How much time do you actually need? How many years in between IE6 and IE7? "

    Now this is the sort of comment that thoroughly irks me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m under the impression that at some point development on IE6 stopped – around the time Microsoft made a statement that IE would no longer be a stand alone product June 2003 according to my own records.

    Then there was a gap of a few years. Then development on IE7 started. At best guess, IE7 has been in development for about two years max (it was already in development when the WaSP Scoble incident as SXSW in 2005) – not the five or six year’s claimed/insisted/demanded by certain bleaters (as in "What have you been doing in the last 6 years?" mantra)

    Anyways, from a web standards guy, thanks for getting Microsoft back on track. Its great to have a public record of the hard work you guys have done. You’ve taken a step forward – IE7 is  a great improvement over IE6.

    My advice is to keep a public record and a public dialogue going. Out of all the crap you’re dealing with, there will be one or two pieces of info that will be gems – those will most likely be from the people who truely stand for web standards.

  12. Glide says:

    Well it’s great that you are advocating open standards, but if other people aren’t jumping along with you to support them and if people higher up are opposing you, you have no chance.

    The real issue that most web designers have with IE CSS support is that is does a lot but not quite the same as other CSS implementations.

    Doing things in a browser hackish way was very popular several years ago.  Finding out how ot get things to work in every browser was annoying years ago, but people put up with it.  What you are really facing is people not willing to put up with creating multiple sites anymore.

    If internal inertia is against you, good luck to you and your team in what they need to do in order to create a browser deserving of a high market share.

  13. I am the author of the cited standards support resource, I personally prefer using Firefox on Linux, I’m a huge supporter of strict standards compliance, I think Internet Explorer’s present state (IE7 included) is perhaps the biggest obstacle in the advancement of the Web, and yet I completely agree with Chris Wilson’s post here.

    Internet Explorer is grossly behind the times because Microsoft dropped the ball several years back. But when IE7 development began, they picked the ball back up and are now running as fast as the developers of any of the other browsers. Yes, they’ll continue to be grossly behind for quite some time as they struggle to catch up (which, if they stay at their current pace, could take a decade or longer), but there is no point in pretending like they aren’t trying right now. No matter how much money you have, you can’t catch up on several years of development on a project like this overnight, and other browsers aren’t going to slow down to let Internet Explorer catch up. So don’t confuse not catching up with present laziness.

  14. bhub says:

    At least msft is moving. Kudos for that Chris. I can’t imagine how hard it is to stop a 1000 mile long locomotive. I had to open FireFox just to post this comment…doesn’t work in IE6. Anything! is better than IE6. 🙂

  15. Leigh says:

    I’ve been playing with the IE7 Beta and it DOES have a LOT of interface improvements and many kudos to that.  

    HOWEVER If one was to build a car that couldn’t go over speed bumps people would laugh.

    As for being the target of ridicule.  This is the position you’ve been placed in.  Your name is the one on the project.  While childish to resort to personal attacks,  like it or not you’re the one held responsible.  

    Historically IE (the product not the team) has been lackluster in it’s standards support,   since version 3, 10 years ago.  

    Since then 3 browsers come to mind that have easily surpassed IE in features and standards support.  Safari, Opera and Firefox.  One of which is only 3 years old.  The standards are NOT new or just invented.  SO the BIGGEST criticism of IE for YEARS is STILL outstanding.

    But then again. Why care?  MOST consumers don’t  they just click on the big blue E to get to their internet pipes.

  16. Isofarro says:

    Leigh: "Historically IE (the product not the team) has been lackluster in it’s standards support,   since version 3, 10 years ago."

    That’s false. IE3 was one of the first to implement the CSS working drafts, and CSS 1. IE6 was far ahead of any other browser on Windows in supporting stylesheets when it first emerged.

  17. I’ve only been a web developoer for a couple years now, and I like firefox, but IE isn’t as evil as everyone makes it out to be. I’m developing a 150+ page site right now and I’ve had very little trouble with IE compliance (6 & 7). I don’t see a problem with putting in an IE style sheet via a simple if statement. Off the top of my head, I think there’s 4 elements in a large PHP driven web site that IE is having trouble with.

    why do we have to do all this useless complaining about microsoft? look at it as a development challenge. IE is out there, it always will be; its not like we don’t have to check to see how a mac destroys a web site before it goes live (assuming it’s developed on a PC).

    I think we should all be pretty thankful that IE7 is supposed to auto-update so we don’t have to worry about styling for IE6 after it gets released.

    anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Chris, I think actually did a pretty good job with the new browser, and the average internet user won’t really care about how compliant it is (or isn’t).

  18. Jon Zoss says:

    I believe in giving credit when credit is due, so I have to say I have been impressed with IE7. It is a big improvement from IE6.  As the UI goes, I am even going to give a slight edge to IE7 over the other modern browsers. You have done a lot of good things and I give you the “props”.

    Now the truth be told, I have not switched Firefox as my default browser, but this has more to do with the plug-ins I like. As a web developer, deep into the whole web 2.0/Ajax fad, I can’t even begin to explain how much nicer it is to develop for IE7 than IE6. The best part is that a page in IE7 looks like a page in Firefox.  Being a There are a few things I am still worried about.

    1.First I think it is a great idea to push IE7 through windows update, but I would even like more of a push. I would like to see the end of support for IE6 be within a year of IE7 release. The sooner we can stop worrying about IE6 the better, it cost us developers a lot of time developing for multiple browsers. Making a page for IE7 + Firefox is much easier that IE6 + Firefox.

    2.IE7 + will have to be continually developed. No more multiple years between updates. The web is developing fast, and IE6 has been a huge obstacle in the past. To make sure IE7 does not become another IE6. The biggest problem with IE6 is not necessarily that it was a bad when it was released, but it is just so behind the times. Keep adding features.

    3.This one goes along with the last item, but in itself is important enough. First, I know you are working on CSS 2.1 compliance, this is very good. The closer you get the better developers will be. I also think you guys need to push to get CSS 3.0 standardized. When CSS 3.0 is finally done you know Firefox and the others are going to adopt it, and IE7 should as well.

    Last I have one suggestion, I know you have to worry about not messing up all the IE6 specific pages out there, but why not add a special tag people can add to their web sites, a render in IE6 mode tag. Then you could render all those pages with all the backwards compatibility you want, and still adapt all the standard ways of doing thing.

  19. Dear Mr Wilson,

    "There’s a lot of anger aimed at Microsoft, in particular around IE."

    Absolutely. And you have to understand from where such anger, repressed anger over the last 3-4 years, come from. In particular when such anger is expressed by web authors, web designers. I fully understand their anger, the depth of their resentment. It all comes from their powerlessness in making Microsoft and its IE browser to comply with W3C web standards, all of the official, finalized W3C web standards.

    It is definitely unacceptable that such anger, resentment spills over on to you, in a personal manner, or on to your IE dev. team.

    I do not wish to condemn, bash the real, genuine efforts of IE 7 dev. team and the undeniable/indisputable improvements they achieve in fixing many CSS bugs. Nevertheless, I just can not and will not say that IE 7 is a good/recommendable browser from a web standards perspective.

    As an IE manager, you can do a lot. Furthermore if you share the open standards philosophy.

    You were given many clues, hints, URLs, tough but fair/relevant feedback, ideas, clearly worded suggestions, etc. in the previous post "IE and CSS ‘Compliance’".

    1- The IE bug reporting system should not alienate people trying to report unconfirmed bugs.

    2- Microsoft should immediately start a plan for renewing its coding practices for all of its new/updated webpages at microsoft.com. There is *_absolutely no reason_* why a new webpage at microsoft.com should not trigger standards compliant rendering mode in IE 6 and IE 7 and then pass both markup validation test and CSS validation test. This is basic, elementary consequence and logical, natural coherence with oneself: you believe in "x" and you practice "x".

    3- Microsoft should make an official commitment about webstandards, striving to comply with web standards, explaining its stance, apologizing for not being strong in the past on that issue, etc. Along with a roadmap of some sort if possible. Public roadmap. The commitment from Microsoft should be renewed, wide-open and public. Such commitment with/without a roadmap will not necessarly be met with flowers and praiseworthy comments from everyone … but it would change the perspective of people like me who may not trust Microsoft a lot.

    4- Microsoft should definitely create an tech evangelism on best coding practices (compliance, validation, forward-compatibility, interoperability, accessibility, etc) according to web standards. Joining with other organizations (W3C, webstandards.org, opera and mozilla.org) should be considered as a serious and relevant possibility/goal to achieve. Creating more compliant web browsers implies/requires to have web authors upgrade their coding practices too: in the long run, this is unavoidable.

    Gérard Talbot

  20. Will says:

    > "support for CSS was ever in question"

    Chris was on the IE team since IE1 or 2, before CSS was even a standard.  Hence, of course whether or not it would be implemented was in question

  21. pinto says:

    Mr Wilson, you seem like a great guy.  As a developer I can appreciate that the task you and your team are up against is daunting.  I congratulate you for your effort.  Please consider the flack your getting as a combination of improperly directed criticism of your company’s priorities and general slashdot/digg knee-jerk flaming.

    Remember, most of those who are criticising you now have been in your position before.  What web dev hasn’t been blamed by a client when an IE-bug caused a rendering issue?  Who hasn’t been called "lazy" or "slow" when a tweaked, hacked and tabled to the core layout took forever and a day to migrate to a new look?  We too are constrained by time and space.  We can spend our day adding features, fixing bugs (in our own software) and addressing client concerns.  Or we can hunt down issues in IE.

    The problem seems to be that justifiable anger against your company is unjustifiably spilling over on to you and your team.  It would help if there were more constructive outlets for such concerns.  (Please prove me wrong with links or guidance to the contrary!)

    When I started moving into web development, my search for best practices lead me to "develop for the best (not your product, sorry), hack for the rest."  Having finished the first part, I usually tackle the second without any MS support.  When I run into a new (to me, there haven’t been new bugs for years, natch) IE bug, I google around and usually find an exquisitely detailed, reverse engineered conjecture along with duplication from a 3rd party.  If I’m lucky, there’s an elaborate hack to make the problem go away.  If I’m not lucky, it’s back to the drawing board – usually with a loss in form or functionality.  Where is MS in all of this?  Where has the IE team been when folks were concocting the "Holly Hack," debating hasLayout, guessing at box model logic and tearing their hair out?  Where is the Microsoft-sanctioned best practices document for say a three-column fluid layout?  Are we not asking the right people in the right way, or is MS not listening?

    As I see it, the folks really driving the web right now are forced to end-run around MS.  Google donates to Firefox.  Apple supports Safari/KHTML.  Dojo, Prototype and the rest of the ajax/client-side revolution are attempting to abstract hackery away from the workaday developer, but the hackery remains.  With such dominant marketshare, MS is missing a giant opportunity to participate here.

    At this point I’m not too hopeful for a productive dialogue with MS, but I’d love to be proven wrong.  Point us in the right direction!  

    Anyway, I’m highly encouraged by the new visibility and frankness in the IE team and I sincerely hope that public vitriol doesn’t scare you guys back into your shells for another 5 years.  It’s unfortunate that your company and your product have been stuck brakes for years, slowing the progress of web development on the internet as a whole.  It’s probably unreasonable to assume that folks are just going to warm up to you overnight and suddenly realize "oh, they must mean it about standards and supporting us *this* time!"  Please try to weather the storm and keep the dialogue open.  Trust isn’t earned in a day.

  22. MB says:

    One of the problems with IE (and, in fact all MS products) is that it’s so damned difficult for me, as a developer, to provide feedback, in a way that MS can (and will) make use of.

    I just spent 4 days trying to tweak a small section of my web app to make it work for current browsers (IE6, IE7, FFox, Mac, Opera) and I can tell you that the process is no less frustrating now than it was 5 years ago.

    But who do I tell my story to at MS, and where do I register my issues??

    I know it’s not perfect, but Mozilla did actually get some things right in this area.

    I go to http://www.mozilla.org …Click on "Developers" and bingo… there it is in front of me… "Report a Problem" and "Bugzilla"

    Now… if I want to do the same with IE… man… by the time I wade through all the blogs and info-torials  on MSDN… I’ve lost interest… and have more pressing things to do than work this stuff out on MSDN.

    DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS…

    Well… so the song goes anyway… and as an MS developer, I’d love to be able to provide more useful feedback and input… but MS just make it SO hard for me to do, that I end up doing nothing, and then bitching about it along with everyone else.

    We all know there are problems, we all know MS are working on them… but what we want to know is… what are the known problems, and how can I get a list of them (so I can avoid bashing my head against the wall for 4days) and how can I easily report a problem in a meaningful way, that will be added to the list of required.

    I’m no open-source zealot, but Mozilla are quite open about all of this information, and make it very accessible to developers.

    True or not, MS give the impression of trying to "hush up" issues, and make it difficult for developers to work with MS in resolving them… which, in the end, just makes it difficult for developers to work with MS… even if the reason is simply that their system is so unwieldy and difficult to use.

  23. hAl says:

    Allthough it is nice to focus on OpenStandards striving for compliance is also a sign of stagnation.

    It is definitly good to make a product comply to standards to make stuff compatible but we also need continued innovation. So don’t let the effort needed to comply to standards get in the way of innovation for the future.

  24. cwilso says:

    @MB:  Select the Help menu (Alt-H) and select Customer Feedback Options.

  25. MB says:

    Ummm… not exactly what I mean.

    That option will provide the "Do you want to send a report" thing when IE crashes… or lead you to the generic feedback page.

    This hardly compares to Mozilla’s dedicated product feedback and bug-tracking system… and if you think it does, then perhaps that’s a problem in itself.

    Developers need a place to register and track bugs… so that they can know where they stand, and make informed choices on how to manage an issue.

    MS simply make this too difficult, and this is part of the reason why developers end up taking it out on the blog-whipping-boys such as your good self… ‘cos you’re about the only ones around listening to our problems and providing a reasonable means of feedback.

  26. Dave says:

    You’re apologising for being slightly snarky at possibly the most miserable bunch of people in the entire world?

    @Firdaus Aziz: Excuses? You’re aware that development takes time, yes? I hope that you’re never in a situation at work where time is a factor – coz you know, excuses excuses!

    "Please do not post comments about Microsoft’s behavior in response to this post." – can I confirm that this is showing in everybody elses browser and not just mine? No? Oh it’s in yours too?! Read it again and have a little think to yourselves.

  27. OffBeatMammal says:

    nice to see people read your intro

    and totally ignored the request to keep on track.

    Chris – if you or your team are lazy and don’t produce a good product then I have to wonder why Firefox is no longer my default browser (as it was when IE6 was the option). I use IE7 day-to-day and find it reliable and trustworthy. I use Flock when I want to test stuff in the Gecko engine, and I use Safari when I need a third opinion (and to see what my designers are seeing!)

    Watching the progress from beta to beta I have high hopes that your team of slackers will keep up the good works through to release candiates, GA versions and (I can hope) on to frequent upgrades/revisions/fixes after that.

    IE has always taken a much more tolerant and flexible approach to adopting standards, and has pioneered some things that the ‘standards’ following community have not liked… but which have become crucial in pushing adoption and progress forward. I think IE7 will see MS back on that leading edge as far as developers and a majority of designers and ‘real world’ people are concerned.

    I just hope that the work will significantly reduce the number of hacks required to make a site work across different (relevant) platforms (I’m happy to ignore the sub 1% of my target audience as the return on investment supporting Lynx just isn’t there!) for the broad majority of CSS.

    But until CSS supports really useful capabilities like a float/position: bottom … then you’re dealing with a flawed product anyway!

  28. john says:

    personally, i think that if microsoft wants to take a leading role in future development of the internet, there really is an easy way to do it. wrap gecko up in a docobject and associate it with application/xhtml+xml documents.  add a little extra code for ms-specific css (-win-filter) and use xmlns to support any new markup features (such as behaviors). this approach loses no backwards compatibility with existing text/html documents, which would continue to be rendered in trident/mshtml.  and instead of trying to play catch-up with your html support, your support can speed the advancement of the web towards xhtml.

  29. Hello Isofarro and Chris Wilson,

    "IE6 was far ahead of any other browser on Windows in supporting stylesheets when it first emerged." Isofarro

    NS 6.1 was officially out in August 2001. MSIE 6 (final release) was out in late October 2001. I believe NS 6.1 had a comparable (maybe even better than MSIE 6?) support for CSS and stylesheets. And I’m not sure that Opera 5.11 (or 5.x) had a worse support for stylesheets at that time.

    What’s more serious and relevant today is that MSIE 6 failed to fix many publicly reported and documented (with testcases) CSS bugs occuring in MSIE 5.0 and in MSIE 5.5. And many of those bugs still occur in MSIE 7 beta 3. Yes. _Still occur in MSIE 7 beta 3_. So, we are talking here of entirely reproducible statements regarding the quality of the CSS implementations regarding MSIE 6 and MSIE 7.

    Internet Explorer 5/5.5 bug sheet

    http://www.richinstyle.com/bugs/ie5demo.html

    Internet Explorer 5/5.5 (162/157 bugs)

    After a few hours, I believe approx. 50 bugs (reported regarding IE 5.x) are still occuring in MSIE 7! Anyone can go to that webpage, examine the testcases and can verify, quantify, measure and assess accurately _all by himself_ how well MSIE 7 beta 3 passes (or fail) these testcases.

    How many CSS tests (coming B. Fassino, D. Baron and I. "Hixie" Hickson websites) fail in MSIE 6 and still fail today in MSIE 7 beta 3?

    http://www.brunildo.org/test/

    http://dbaron.org/css/test/list

    http://www.hixie.ch/tests/adhoc/css/

    We know MSIE 7 beta 3 is "layout complete" and that there won’t be any changes to IE7’s rendering engine before first quarter of 2007. So we have a lot of time here…

    Gérard Talbot



    P.S.: This testcase

    http://dbaron.org/css/test/sec090301

    first when viewed with MSIE 6 SV1 and then with MSIE 7 beta 3 clearly shows a regression bug.

  30. Tino Zijdel says:

    Chris: I know what it feels like. Taking things personally is an effect of being committed to what you do and I really appreciate that (the committed thing).

  31. GreyGeek says:

    I have no doubt as to why both IE6 and IE7 are not standards compliant — browser, hence OS, lock-in.  

    That is exactly why I don’t expect total compliance during the life of VISTA.  Combine that with the fact that VISTA wipes the MBR when it is installed and you have yet another case of deliberate lack of interoperability and community friendlyness.

  32. cookieninja says:

    I agree with those who say you need a *really* thick skin if you’re going to admit to being involved in IE7.

    On a much smaller scale I get stick from IE fanboys who use IE and don’t really understand what standards are about and why they’re good when I compare browsers and voice my dislike for various things about IE (IE7 excluded because I’ve not tried it yet).

    I hope your words are as real as they sound, because a "fear" I have is that IE will use some other new closed technologies in the future and/or limit the extent to which they support new standards.

    On an off-topic note or sorts, one thing I’d really LOVE to see is something like XUL becoming a common cross-platform standard. I’m not quite sure just how that’d work but it’d be nice for that idea to not be executed in different and incompatible ways by each browser. I think it’s too good for that!

  33. A Different Will says:

    Chris,

    You’ve got my respect for taking as much abuse as you do when blogging about IE. I left a few snarky comments of my own last year when you guys were first blogging about IE7 but unwilling to make any commitments about improved standards support.

    After reading your blog, I think I understand you a little better. I’m even beginning to believe that you and the IE team really do care about web standards. But after years of neglect of IE (and the web developers who have to work with it), real trust will only come with time.

    In the mean time though, I’d like to say thanks for improving standards support in IE7. (That’s coming from someone who is not a Microsoft fan.)

    Another thought came to me as I was writing this.

    When I first heard last year that you were working with WaSP on standards support, your credibility with me rose up a notch. I know those guys are serious about web standards and it said something that you would seek out their input.

    In a similar vein, I think it would be great to see you working together with the browser teams from Mozilla, Opera, and Apple. Despite the fact that Firefox, Opera, and Safari are all competitors in the browser market, representatives from their development teams have been working together on the standards front because they all want to see the web improve.

    If you are as serious as you sound about web standards I don’t see why you couldn’t work with them as well.  I can’t think of a more meaningful gesture on Microsoft’s part than to show that you can work with other browser developers on web standards at the same time that you are competing with them for browser market share. From what I’ve been reading recently, it sounds like the browser vendors are out numbered by mobile phone vendors and other companies in the W3C that have little incentive to create standards that are suitable for implementing in a web browser. It would be great to have the four browser developers with the biggest market share showing a united front when it comes to new standards that are being developed.

    Perhaps it is a ludicrous idea. But I’d like to think it could happen.

  34. Joe Almeida says:

    Hi Chris,  I feel for what you are putting up with right now.  IE along with so many Microsoft products are positioned and developed in such a way that its meant to lock customers in and keep them using MS.  It took Firefox to prove to your superiors the the browser is still an important piece of software that deserves investment.  That’s a tough environment to work under.  Part of that investment is standards compliance, and yet, you have some superiors who look at such compliance as a path to giving market share to the competition.  When that happens, you get blamed because the standards are not implemented.  All very convenient for your superiors.  The way I see it, the Firefox and Opera competition has made you guys relevant once more, and it should give you leverage in demanding resources and greater decision making power.  I don’t know if you are in a position to hire people, but maybe you can hire some guys from the Firefox or Konqueror projects to help catch up.  I’m sure there are some smart cookies who could use a steady paycheck and good benefits.  Irrespective of some of the rants I have made of Microsoft, it is good to see that MS has made IE important again, and the competition all around will insure no one "sits on their butt".  You’ve got a tough slog ahead, but at least now, the higher ups realize how important your group is now, and remind them of that when ever they lose that focus.

  35. Calophi says:

    It’s a shame that people are still belitting you even though you’ve explained yourself quite clearly.

    I know it would piss me off to keep hearing, "Why doesnt’ your company do this or that," over and over again.  Um, I don’t run my company, so I have no idea!

    You don’t run Microsoft either.  Microsoft is a HUGE company, you can only do what they tell you to do.  Even though people may be lobbying for products to behave a certain way, there’s gonna be some higher up making a decision, and there isn’t anything you can do about that but keep trying to get your point across.

  36. Dave Lane says:

    Hi Chris,

    I understand your individual dislike for this process, and your resentment of the invective many people send your way.  You must, of course, understand that SO many people are so unhappy with Microsoft and particularly IE 6 and previous, that any avenue of providing "feedback" will be showing red to a bull.  

    Despite your best efforts, the company you represent fails to respond to user requirements.  As a result, and because of the power that Microsoft wields in its monopoly position, that affects many people (like me, a web application developer) in a way that’s particularly frustrating because a) it’s so inevitable, and b) if Microsoft was a *good* business, we wouldn’t have to worry about it.

    If Microsoft *actually* wanted to fix things, they would get you to do what I have suggested before and what John, above (posted 18 August), suggested in an even less controversial way: wrap the Gecko rendering engine in IE7 to render application/xhtml+xml rather than the obviously non-standards compliant Trident engine.  

    If Microsoft does not fix CSS for those of us who make a living developing for the web, and want to use the perfectly good standards that everyone else has agreed on (and many applications already successfully implement, with the code doing so open to all to learn from or incorporate!!), and/or Microsoft does not offer to pay the approximately 1000 hours of my consulting time spent getting my perfectly compliant W3C sites (which work in Konqueror, Firefox, Opera, Safari) to work on Microsoft’s inexcusably broken browser – then you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of anger aimed in your general direction.

    Don’t take it personally, but do take it seriously – most people don’t like being nasty – they only do it when it’s the only way they can diffuse their pent up frustration.

    Kind regards,

    Dave

  37. Olivier says:

    Limited time and space ?

    This is a joke! Thanks for the good laugh.

  38. Joe User says:

    Chris Wilson said:

    ———

    "Few of you believe it – occasionally, someone who knows me really well does – but I actually believe in open standards.  Real open standards.  The ones built by a group of people with an interest in making the world better, not just in their own private vested interests. I’ve championed that in one way or another since I joined Microsoft, and I continue to do so today."

    ——–

    If that’s the case, Chris, I pity you being in a job at Microsoft. It must pay well but give terrible job satisfaction. Or does it?

    "It’s been frustrating, though, to be continually identified as the personal screw-up responsible for IE not supporting more standards today, when it’s actually because of my personal influence that CSS is IMPLEMENTED in IE."

    ————

    OK, you said this wasn’t a thank-you thread so let’s not even thank you for that 😉 But as it stands now, well…let’s not go into it. Let’s simply ask this:

    How do you feel about the current state of CSS support in IE? Is IE a world-class browser, in your opinion?

    You mention Microsoft arrogance. All I can say, given the evidence at hand…you must have a lot of pent-up frustration at your employer, or at least at certain higher-ups, then? Given that you love open standards, you MUST have a lot more love for Opera, Safari & Firefox, right?

    Unfortunately for me and thousands of other webmasters who don’t know where to vent their anger, they might occasionally end up venting at you and your team. You mentioned a lot of it is justified, so at least you can see where we’re coming from, even if it is misdirected.

    http://news.com.com/2100-1032_3-5218163.html

    It’s stories like this that make me personally vent all the more. Probably got nothing to do with you again, but…it’s that Microsoft attitude coming out again.

    "Yes, really. I started working on IE in 1995. I know many of you were working on the web prior to that, but I doubt the majority were."

    ————–

    I doubt anyone is gonna argue with this, but they probably would argue with one of the richest companies in the world paying lip-service to standards and the ever-changing web and only moving into action as their browser market share gets eroded. Not really caring about their customers (or their frustrations) for many years – both developers and end-users.

    In the meantime, we’ve all been recommending different products to clients – and it’s been real easy. Firefox and Thunderbird to replace IE and Outlook Express. Opera, too.

  39. Jeremy says:

    Interoperability is the only game in town these days. Think about that sentence for a moment.

    Implementing CSS in IE is a start but Microsoft needs a more fundamental cultural change than implementing CSS in IE. To survive in the future, let alone maintain its monopoly status Microsoft is going to have to wake up and realize that genuine interoperability is in demand; From myself on my home desktop, to the corporate sysadmin…

  40. Webdesign says:

    With your position on the IE team and with your exposure here you need an awfully thick skin to survive. I don’t think I could.

    Clearly you shouldn’t be the whipping boy for all that Microsoft has done, but as a representative (and your position in the IE team) I’m not suprised that you’re being treated the way you are. I don’t think it’s right, but that’s not going to change any time soon.

    I can see it from both sides of the fence, I think the personal characterisation of you and your team as lazy is unfair and unjustified. However, as both a e-commerce professional and as a consumer I share the frustrations of others when it comes to the recent history of IE and the apparent stagnation that occurred until Firefox came along. In fact, I’m too cynical to believe that IE would change at all (except maybe a nice flasy Aero interface) if it weren’t for Firefox. So I would accuse Microsoft of being lazy in that respect.

    I applaud your efforts at attempting to improve the situation from the inside, and I’m looking forward to see what happens as time goes on. I have been using IE7 since the public betas began and I am pleasantly suprised by how much better it is than IE6 and the new features such as RSS reader and the more intuitive way of handling tabs. In fact, I have switched over from Firefox 1.5 to using IE7 almost all the time. I think your team has done a great job with IE7.

    Having said that, I still have issues as a professional with the perceived attitude of Microsoft when it comes to web development and I do see some further need to improve IE7 with respect to standards.

  41. Webhosting says:

    I agree with those who say you need a *really* thick skin if you’re going to admit to being involved in IE7.

    On a much smaller scale I get stick from IE fanboys who use IE and don’t really understand what standards are about and why they’re good when I compare browsers and voice my dislike for various things about IE (IE7 excluded because I’ve not tried it yet).

    I hope your words are as real as they sound, because a "fear" I have is that IE will use some other new closed technologies in the future and/or limit the extent to which they support new standards.

    On an off-topic note or sorts, one thing I’d really LOVE to see is something like XUL becoming a common cross-platform standard. I’m not quite sure just how that’d work but it’d be nice for that idea to not be executed in different and incompatible ways by each browser. I think it’s too good for that!

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  43. medyum says:

    Doing things in a browser hackish way was very popular several years ago.  Finding out how ot get things to work in every browser was annoying years ago, but people put up with it.  What you are really facing is people not willing to put up with creating multiple sites anymore.

    If internal inertia is against you, good luck to you and your team in what they need to do in order to create a browser deserving of a high market share.

  44. Medyum says:

    It’s a shame that people are still belitting you even though you’ve explained yourself quite clearly.

    I know it would piss me off to keep hearing, "Why doesnt’ your company do this or that," over and over again.  Um, I don’t run my company, so I have no idea!

  45. hikaye says:

    Ok I’n sure this is never going to happen but if you believe in Open standards how about adopting the Mozilla engine instead of the (I think) Trident engine you have now, then instead of modifying something thats broken you would be ahead of the game in the fact that all you would have to do is add the IE specific changes to it? I know, I know it would be a massive internal fight to get it done but think of the advantages? More time to work on those Open standards instead of internal ones

  46. Interoperability is the only game in town these days. Think about that sentence for a moment.

    Implementing CSS in IE is a start but Microsoft needs a more fundamental cultural change than implementing CSS in IE. To survive in the future, let alone maintain its monopoly status Microsoft is going to have to wake up and realize that genuine interoperability is in demand; From myself on my home desktop, to the corporate sysadmin..

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