Internet Explorer Developer Center


Today we relaunch the Internet Explorer Developer Center on MSDN. You can find this at the relatively easy to remember URL http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie and is a portal for developers using Internet Explorer technologies. On the developer center we highlight technologies and events and link to reference material, articles and other essential information. The Developer Center is useful for both web developers and Windows developers who are building their solution on the Internet Explorer platform. The reference material on MSDN clearly shows when functionality is part of a published standard or not, and offers a great many samples to help get you started.

If you have topics you’d like to see explored and/or feedback on the developer center and documentation please let us know here or through the feedback links on MSDN.

Thanks
-Dave

Comments (65)

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is one of my favorite lines in all of MSDN:

    "

    When Internet Explorer 6 or later is not in standards-compliant mode, it is in compatibility mode. If you developed applications for earlier versions of Internet Explorer and you want the applications to render the same way on Internet Explorer 6 or later, make sure the !DOCTYPE declaration doesn’t switch on standards-compliant mode.

    "

    I start giggling uncontrollably every time I read it. 🙂 Backwards compatibility is such a pain in the …

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the use of this developer center? Since Microsoft doesn’t release browser as a separate software there is no point in having this developer center or site for IE. We can’t get a new version of IE or features etc unless there is a big OS push. I honestly believe Microsoft should change it’s mind and make IE as a separate software and have it’s own product cycle.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m moderating comments right now due to a large number of spam posts in the last day. I’ll turn off moderating if/when it appears the spammer is going away.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps integrating SURBL is a good way to fight blogspam?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Bruce, why don’t I see any Microsoft sites that have the following W3C validator logos?

    XHTML

    HTML

    CSS

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wanna know what’s funny? That CSS article on the front page is over 3 years old…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mind expaining why IE did so poorly in this contest at Cnet?

    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3000-5568116-1.html?tag=nl.e497

  8. Anonymous says:

    There is no point in having developer center if IE is such a poor and outdated platform to develop for.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, obviously we think IE is not a poor and outdated platform.

    While many developers are fully aware of the CSS support and issues in IE6, there are many who are not quite so aware. So even if that article is 3 years old, it’s still worthwhile reading.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think a central Dev Center for all things IE is a great idea. I’d like to see some resources on building IE toolbars. I found some good tools on theCodeProject after googling for a bit but I’d like to see an "official" guide or tutorial from Microsoft.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why not have more about XAML up there? I can find very few MS developer resources about it.

    MS need to stamp this Firefox+XUL nonsense into the ground before it becomes a serious enterprise development platform. Control is everything.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Bruce, even if it is "worthwhile" reading, it still drives home an important point.

    You guys haven’t touched the rendering code in 7 years.

  13. Anonymous says:

    IE6 had the last significant set of functional enhancements to the rendering engine with additional CSS support, DOM changes, etc. as the CSS article describes. IE6 shipped with Windows XP in August of 2001.

    In XPSP2, there were numerous security related changes to the rendering engine.

    So it’s actually been only a few months since our latest rendering engine was released.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The IE Developer Center contains a feed auto-discovery link in the page head (to http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie/rss.xml) however this returns a 404. Could this please be fixed?

  15. Anonymous says:

    > If you have topics you’d like to see explored and/or feedback on the developer center and documentation please let us know here or through the feedback links on MSDN.

    I already pointed out a mistake in your documentation here:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2004/11/03/251900.aspx#256467

    It appears to have gone unnoticed.

    As far as things I’d like to see… well there have been numerous community efforts to identify bugs in your rendering engine and ways to work around them. How about you publish an article that lists them all in one place, along with a list of downsides to the workarounds?

    I’m thinking recipe-style stuff, like "if you are trying to do [a], but [b] happens instead, it’s because [a] is broken in Internet Explorer. If you do [c] instead, it will get you the effect of [a], but will break in [d] circumstances. Alternatively, you could do [e], but that’s against the rules of specification [f] and might break in any other browser, past, present or future."

    After all, you’re the guys with the source code, nobody’s in a better position to describe how to beat Internet Explorer’s bugs than you.

    As far as timely rendering engine updates and "obviously we think IE is not a poor and outdated platform" goes… CSS is eight years old tomorrow. PNG is already eight years old. The last time you did anything with them, Safari didn’t even exist. Today Safari can handle those specifications just fine, and Internet Explorer is still broken. Put your money where your mouth is and show us this platform that supposedly isn’t poor and outdated. We’ve been waiting over three years for it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The reason why you’re going to be waiting for the MIME documentation to be updated is that we are putting our money where our mouth is – our resources are primarily focused on the next IE.

    I very much doubt that we’re going to be making extensive investments in the documentation of the kind describe. If Dave had the dev resources to do all that investigation work (and he doesn’t), then I’d be first in line to snag them for other work.

    BTW, you post a lot here, Jim. Why don’t you stop being anonymous? That would be putting your money where you mouth is, too.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree that it is useful to have the CSS docs here…after all, one has to be able to study what’s not working according to spec, and since MS hasn’t updated IE in such a long time, it’s a virtual necessity to see what IE does and doesn’t do right, so thank you.

    As to putting your money where your mouth is, it is VERY hard for me to believe that the world’s richest corporation (maybe excepting Wal-Mart?) doesn’t have the resources to do "all that investigations work" to find info that is so readily available on any number of websites around the world…not trying to be mean-spirited, and I realize that you and your "group" have probably been given restrictions (monetary as well as others), but really, nobody in their right mind can believe this anymore…it simply APPEARS that MS doesn’t REALLY care, and yes, appearance IS important!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Only 57 errors!? Congratulation! http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie/

    There is nobody, who can make litle standarts-friendly websites?

  19. Anonymous says:

    On the topic of resources the Internet Explorer team is hiring. We’ve been growing the team for some time and continue to look for passionate people who want to make a difference. http://www.microsoft.com/careers/default.mspx

    Thanks

    -Dave

  20. Anonymous says:

    Howdy.

    I’m a graphic designer by trade, slowly getting into web design/development.

    Yesterday I spent half an hour getting a css based site design up and running, via testing in Firefox. I spent the rest of the day trying to get it to work in IE 5 & 6 and I’ll have to continue doing that today Why? Because, IE sucks when implementing CSS. Why do I have to read up on all these stupid hacks to get IE’s broken CSS to work?! You’re costing me time and money,

    The public face of this development team seems to be playing developers for fools. Either fix the problems, pubicly state your’re going to fix the problems or go away. From a business standpoint, it’s just stupid to have this many customers pissed at you.

    Fix the CSS implementation in IE 5, 5.5 & 6 for windows. It’s just that simple.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Joe, there really aren’t any "restrictions (monetary as well as others)" placed in our way. The notion that the IE team is blocked from accomplishing its goals is a oft-perpetuated but fundamentally flawed idea.

    As you say, there is a lot of "info that is so readily available on any number of websites around the world". Clearly Dave can’t just do a "collate and publish" on that data – vetting that sort of input is what takes resources.

    I have never worked on any project where, at some point, the "things to do" list failed to grow longer than "people to do them" list. That’s the nature of the work. People have high aspirations, lots of things they want to accomplish, and the list is already quite long for IE. Go look at the Wikis for a long list of things people would like us to do.

    So my comment above was really about where I would place this task on that "things to do" list. Dave might disagree, and then we could argue that point.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Bruce, you must realize this. IE has a userbase and very few fans. Other browsers such as Firefox have huge fanbases and userbases.

    I don’t see you guys promoting IE in the New York Times…

  23. Anonymous says:

    I find there is a large disproportion between the last update of the rendering engine you speek of and the number of Quirks that have gone unfixed over the last few years.

    As for the futer goes, people will still be using IE6 for years to come (lots of people are still using IE5). not everyone wants to or can upgrade. would it be really that hard to knock out some of these rendering bugs? even if it were just a few per update?

    Most Internet users don’t care about if a website is standards compliant or not or if it takes much more time to fix up the site for IE, they have security holes to worry about. But opening a developer center for IE strikes me as another example of Microsoft not listenting to what people want, but telling them what they want. not to say that a company should not take the iniative to innovate obviously, but at this point in time, it looks like the IE team just don’t care.

    -Robin

  24. Anonymous says:

    Robin, your last paragraph just doesn’t make sense to me.

    The developer center for IE is a collection of pre-existing resources – a better way to organize what’s on MSDN. People have asked for exactly that.

    Additional content will be added, obsolete information will be removed, things will get better. Again, people have asked for exactly that.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Web developers around the world have also asked for better CSS support, tranparent png support etc during years without anything happened. I think that is what Robin meant.

    I am a web developer and are also very frustated with the extra time I have to spend to make things look ok in IE when doing CSS layouts. Its really a pain.

    So personally i prefer website like these:

    http://www.positioniseverything.net/explorer.html

    where people can find out how to get around CSS bugs in IE, when things simply dont make any sense. Reading about "CSS Enhancements in Internet Explorer 6" simply doesnt help at all.

  26. Anonymous says:

    hrm, good point, i’ll have to take your word for it then. but it’ll have to get much better, becuse reading through the articles, there really isn’t anything new or with any high educational value for the moment (most developers know that java, activeX and popups exist). lets hope that this new resource can strengthen the links between the IE developers and the community

  27. Anonymous says:

    Consider the following…

    Internet Exploiter: Shrinking userbase, almost non-existant fanbase.

    Other browsers: Rapidly growing userbases, HUGE fanbases.

    What has Microsoft done about this?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Fiery Kitsune – you are wrong. Internet Explorer has a huge fan base, just look at all the Microsoft MVPs.

    But platform control is vital, strategically. We can’t let things descend into service models because then you lose control. Margins for ALL software developers go down once we let products be free.

    The way for MS to do it is to create and extend proprietary file formats, and start taking back the web using lots of DRM. Ignore all ‘platform-neutral’ technologies. Use all your powers to become the ‘de-facto’ standard, and make reverse engineering HARD. At the same time, patent everything in sight so it becomes economically unviable to distribute competing software for free. (This has the extra benefit of scuppering the GPL).

    This only works if you can persuade people to use your stuff, but that’s easy because so many people don’t even know what a web browser is.

    The danger with Firefox is that it provides a compelling, platform-neutral alternative. We can’t let it flourish, it’s bad for the balance of power. The time for action is now.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t say

    Other browsers: Rapidly growing userbases, HUGE fanbases.

    I’d say other browsers: rapidly growing userbases, VERY VOCAL and growing fanbases.

    I use ff over IE, due to the reasons that have been listed many times over, but I think that occasionally proponents of alternatives can get overzealous trying to get their point across.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Firefox users are fickle and will flock back to IE at the first excuse.

    And I say this as a dedicated Firefox user 🙂

  31. Anonymous says:

    Chloe: Spot on.

    Maurits: Well I sure won’t, as a matter of principle.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Does this new Development Centre explain hasLayout?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Martin,

    I’ll make sure we have a bug entered to explain hasLayout a little better at http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/author/dhtml/reference/properties/haslayout.asp . Although I do think the example at http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/samples/author/dhtml/refs/hasLayout.htm shows this quite well.

    If an element has width or height specified or is absolutely positioned then it is said to have layout in that it is specifically measured and the page has to take that into account when laying out the page. It was found that it is sometimes useful for a DHTML application to know if the element that it is interacting with is in this mode or not. Hence the hasLayout boolean is exposed on the currentStyle object.

    The entire topic of layout which can be quite confusing may be a good one for us to explore in more detail in an article next year.

    Thanks

    -Dave

  34. Anonymous says:

    I don’t mind IE. It’s there, and it can display pages with CSS to a great extent that I can deal with.

    Will there be any new articles posted anytime in the future? I’m interested in using xmlhttprequest and integrating java into dhtml to make connections to other websites, and using dhtml with other tools to connect to other protocols, like imap, irc and ftp.

    Also great would be some clarification as to some of the browser enhancements that will come with the new windows, such as the XUL-like application tool that’s been mentioned.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Chloe – Internet Explorer has a huge fan base?

    How about EVERY windows box comes prepackaged with IE. So, most normal everyday users don’t know about FF or Opera — nor to they normally care. IE large fan based is on the pretense that people who have windows and use IE like IE. I know alot of people that use FF right after i show them how. They didn’t even know it existed.

    Besides, I’ve used FF back before the named changed and still will use it now and I am not changing either.

    As for CSS in IE, thats why my site uses very little CSS or even JS cause of the problems of browsers non-standard rendering of them.

    Maybe one day they will fix it.

    -Flamus

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hm. I don’t find outdated topics overly useful — I due agree they have a use for research — but you’re essentially slowing teaching methods. Bad habits form; much like piano, when you teach a student who’s spent most of their life trained by ear but not with formal training – you’ll have to break them of their dependance on the dominate hand so that they learn proper methods. You unteach what they learn.

    I’d atleast hope you would put up somewhere that these methods are outdated; I love teaching people design, web design as well — but teaching the proper habits can get redundant… especially when a developer gets poor input right off the bat. I spend most of my time <a href="http://www.codingforums.com">on user forums</a> doing just that.

    That being said, I think my IE comments in this blog disqualifies any possible application for Microsoft:). Teasing, it wouldn’t be a nice fit even if I were useful — I’d want to improve your advertising/marketing image to a unified professional look that could outdo apple, not be beneath them.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Yes, IE has a huge fan base. It is the de facto standard with excellent (and more importantly, ACCOUNTABLE) support behind it.

    Homogeneity makes life EASIER to develop for. Standards are pointless when none of the browsers actually adheres to them. There is hardly ever anything intrinsically ‘wrong’ with the IE rendering, it is just different to what the W3 says.

    But unilateral action is what gets things done. All we end up with at the W3C is a mishmash of compromises, which everyone and their dog will implement for less than free, giving away their code.

    This is dangerous. The silent majority of software developers realise this. There’s just as much of a community there as for the open sourcers, but it is more mature and as someone else pointed out, less vocal. It’s time for them to make themselves heard.

    Defeating open-standards, open-source will not only ensure better QUALITY software through more structured development, but has the side-effect of preserving jobs and salaries in places which are losing them fast.

    Unfortunately, quality is easy to replicate. MS would be lambasted from here to kingdom come if they borrowed the Firefox ‘find as you type’ bar or whatever, but Firefox is happy to copy the look and feel of the IE interface – toolbars, go button, etc…. This is where patents, closed file formats and DRM come in. DRM also ensures that web behaviour is in the hands of trusted administrators rather than

    clueless grandmothers, making things more secure.

    The traditional argument against monopoly is that it stifles innovation. However, everyone knows this isn’t true at MS, just look at their Research Dept. Strong leadership is a GOOD THING.

    Quite aside from any questions of technical merit of the EXISTING IE, this is an excellent reason for supporting it. There is a big community who agrees with me. They are too busy protecting their jobs to become vocal about it.

  38. Anonymous says:

    The biggest problem I have with IE6 is

    that it SHOULD not be part of the operating system – so even though I dont use IE anymore I am still open to the security holes that remain in IE.

    I do inhouse intranet development for our company and will be switching all users over to firefox in the new year. Developing for standards compliant browers (eg not IE6) was so much less hassle.

    And finally Chloe dont assume to be speaking for all the silent majority and it is not about open source vs close source its against a browser that has stagnated while all others have moved way past it. I am not anti-microsoft I am just anti poor and antiquted software.

  39. Anonymous says:

    > Mind expaining why IE did so poorly in this contest at Cnet?

    Like most of what’s published in the media today, it doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be interesting enough to make you click…

    Think about it.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I have and I think that I will keep using IE for the near future, however evertime I see the new version of firefox it makes me want to switch… IE still has no support for transparent png’s or CSS (not that it has ever caused me any problems).

  41. Anonymous says:

    Merry Christmas Chloe,

    But if you don’t want to use Open Source software I hope you don’t use a Windows 2000+ since your TCP/IP stack is powered by BSD code.

    <serious mode=’on’>

    As an European guy I’m very *happy* that software patents get kicked off (at least in 2004), I’m happy too that the Eolas "patent" (which may affects MSFT) get contested by many organizations (including Open Source ones).

    I’m happy to use Open Source software, to build *commercial* software upon Open Source software, and sometimes to give back some contributions to the Open Source world. Competition is good, just look at the Open Source world, it’s like evolution [Darwin, no offense intended].

    So IE by not supporting PNG and alpha channel, CSS, HTML 3.2 (object, input, button…), is just a brake on the Internet. Hope to read and see soon some announce about a new IE using DOCTYPE switch and supporting CSS (and HTML).

    By the way happy Christmas to all the IE Team, this a very curious blog, dont’t know if anything good will grow but I’m still there!

    </serious>

  42. Anonymous says:

    Merry Christmas to you too, and all on this blog.

    Europe may not have software patents but well designed DRM will have the same effect. The internet has unfortunately grown in too ‘free’ a manner, meaning less fees along the way. Decommoditizing protocols is the way forward for a capitalistic society.

    Even if the EU decides MS is anticompetitive with regards to IE (or Media Player or whatever) it shouldn’t be able to dictate the nature of the competition as being open-source. MS could simply license its protocols for a completely meaningless fee, and that would ensure that only closed source development can compete. This would obviously be best for all long-term because it guarantees a revenue stream. BTW the EU decision is completely mindless… MS was more than adequately punished in the US, why couldn’t it simply use the same remedies?

    Regarding IE specifically, it is obviously less feature-complete than Firefox… but who cares, it’s not like Firefox will get more than 20% marketshare before the next release of IE, and even if it does, it will mainly be irrelevant home users.

    Where MS needs to be careful is to ensure that FF isn’t deployed on corporate intranets together with XUL applications. But this is OK, it just needs to tout complete Exchange + Outlook end to end integration etc, together with a promise not to be sued for patent infringement (in the US) and the promise of everything working in the future with DRM (in all markets). It has a big stick, and now is not the time to be wary of wielding it.

    As it is, the EU decision on software patents could probably be swayed with enough lobbying. One big advantage for MS and the IE platform is that it has the cash to offer serious indemnification. It would be in the interests of all serious developers if MS leveraged this advantage to suffocate the open-sourcers.

    By the way guys why won’t MS blogs allow nested comments… a flat format is really stupid for something even vaguely high-volume.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Cloe, easy there on the MVPs. The list of Internet Explorer & Outlook Express MVPs isn’t that long at all.

    I’m an ASP.NET MVP but I can’t stand IE. Irony? Yes. But of all time I spend developing code I waste too much of it tweaking it for IE when it goes without any tweaks for all other modern (!) browsers.

    To Microsoft folks: Longhorn is nowhere in sight. Even more so it won’t be as release dates slip and they always do. Until then public awareness and the quality of other browsers will tip the scale. Right now "they" have something valuable to offer, and you don’t. The trust has been ruined thanks to a gazillion flaws that have been exposed. You’ve patched them, I give you credit for that, but you were too slow about it (look at the SP2 shipping timeline), reactive instead of proactive, and the damage has been done. I stopped using IE for online banking and shopping—I just don’t buy "trustworthy computing" from you anymore, and I’m a devout Microsoft follower. Think about it.

    Also, you fail to fix what people are demanding, asking, begging you to fix. Your matra of "this is not what customers want" won’t cut it. To you, guys, it’s a question of what stakeholders want, not customers. All of us ARE your customers, and some of us bank our careers on Microsoft. You keep saying "this is not…" and y’all be out of jobs before you know it.

    As to your phobia of breaking the web by fixing IE (http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_Windows_Exec_Talks_IE_Firefox/1100534022) I’d like to say this: the web is already broken thanks to a large degree to the poor quality of IE. Please, act responsibly and help fix the web by fixing IE. Take 10 minutes to read what Eric Meyer had to say about it (http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2004/12/01/unbreaking-the-web/).

    Good luck.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Milan, we don’t have any mantra about "this is not what customers want".

    I know there were two Microsoft Australia executives who made some inane comments like that when Firefox launched, but those two have no connection to the IE team, aren’t aware of what we’re doing, and their comments are meaningless.

    So I don’t know why you think we keep saying that. It’s just flat out wrong.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Oh, my bad. I couldn’t really figure out the hierarchy of Microsoft execs.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Is this a joke? You can’t really be trying to pawn off some half baked 2 year old marketing article as a developer resource, are you? The developers out there who do work this on a daily basis know exactly how poorly IE has supported css for years now, and that no help is in sight other than from independents like Dean Edwards. The fact that you can’t fix the rendering problems in IE, or at least provide an adequate level of css support in recent IE patches, speaks volumes about how much you value those of us actually building the applications that end users see. It is becoming rapidly apparent to those of us in the development community who have been forced to code to a poorly implemented browser that we’ll have to reconsider this decision if this is the best we can hope for as alternate and superior browsers once again become freely available (know who I’m talking about).

  47. Anonymous says:

    There are lots of reasons for making software work the way it does. Some are technical and architectural, some are made for reasons of compatibility, others just out of ease of implementation. However, in recent times, by far and away the most important factors are ‘political’ business decisions.

    But the political decisions are important, even on a company level. Consider PNG alpha transparency support. There is a huge clamour for it by developers, and a complete lack of compatibility issues. It wouldn’t be hard to code, probably one coder-day at most. If you then ask yourself WHY it hasn’t been added, it becomes obvious that the decision has been made for political reasons (and rightly so). Why encourage PNG graphics to proliferate when its advocates are almost all open-standards fanatics? In fact, the best thing to do is to create a rival graphics format capable of transparency , which includes some recently patented image compression algorithms, and make it a Longhorn standard.

    CSS is a similar story, although in that case there are valid compatibility concerns too. Why make it easy for people to switch? MSDN provides perfectly adequate information for the de-facto standard, including all the improvements MS have made. If developers insist on coding to W3 instead of MSDN then it’s largely their own fault.

    It may not be ‘nice’, but you have to compete as hard as you can. It’s a little ironic that governments around the world see this sort of thing as ‘anticompetitive’, (of course, the fact that MS is incredibly successful, American, and has lots of cash on hand has nothing to do with it!) but there you go…

    I’ve been censured for my viewpoints on such matters before, so I’ll stop here and refrain from being too provocative!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Despite baseless assumptions to the contrary, implementing alpha PNG transparency isn’t "one coder-day at most".

    I completely agree that our lack of support for alpha transparency is a major bug for many webdevs, and something sorely lacking in IE.

    It’s not a simple bug fix, it’s a significant design change because of the way Trident renders pages. Lots of code change, lots of churn, lots of compatibility testing, lots of performance verification, so on and so forth. That doesn’t mean we won’t support PNG alpha transparency in the next IE. That’s one of the top developer requests (yes, I’ve seen the petition) and we aim to support things like top developer requests.

    Some CSS work is in the same catagory, although some issues probably are simple bug fixes. Others, believe it or not, are not bugs but valid interpretations of the W3C docs that simply differ from other browser’s implementations.

    And I deleted the post you refer to because it was way off topic (not about IE or even close) and excessively inflammatory. You talked about the monopolies, Firefox, the United Nations, Fallujah, and Christianity. Way too many hot buttons for one post. You can be off topic, and you can be inflammatory, but your post was too much of both.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Chloe: you are just too funny. I find it amusing that some of the commenters here are taking you as anything but a caricature of the close-minded Microsoft slave.

    Bruce: Your excuses are not fooling anyone. You have had 8 years to fix png. You could even fix it in your browser stylesheet with the directx filter rubbish if you could be bothered: your rendering engine has no real issues with transparency. The box model I’m willing to believe is an issue, but this…. Lets not pretend this is an issue of inability, but an issue of unwillingness. And stop complaining about having to do tests if you won’t even release betas.

    If you had the will to be standards compliant, you would have already fixed Trident, written a new engine, or adopted Gecko or KHTML. And it would be released for everything from W2K up.

  50. Anonymous says:

    To be honest it’s not difficult to code for W3C and MSDN standards in the same site. Indeed, current cross-browser development issues are no different from ye olde Netscape 4 / IE4 wars, save that both Mozilla and IE6 are significantly better than their antecendents.

    Personally, I feel that Firefox is a superior web browser to IE. It’s also a tremendous application platform and no doubt will go from strength to strength with the advent of JavaScript 2, CSS 3 and SVG.

    However, IE still makes for a superior enterprise application / intranet platform when deployed via Hypertext Applications (HTAs). What I want to know are HTAs going to be supported under Longhorn and /or will there be any development of them in the near future? Perhaps MS have given up on them, though, since the DHTML web-API had the potential to make traditional applications obsolete – is this why MS appears to have dismissed developing them?

  51. Anonymous says:

    RJW, Normally I ignore comments like yours, because I think it’s folly to debate with anonymous people. But I’ll jump in anyway.

    Your post is a classic example if intentional mis-interpretation. I was disputing Chloe’s assumption that transparent PNG is a one day task. I’m trying to give insight into why things are they way they are; you intentionally mis-interpret that as me making excuses.

    You’ve never seen internals of the Trident architecture or the actual code, yet you claim that it has no real issues with transparency. Another baseless assumption on your part.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Bruce,

    Sorry, I was too harsh. I’ve just spent a long time working round IE bugs, and it sometimes gets frustrating. It is natural to think that a company with Microsofts resources could do better if it had the will. I don’t think there is anything you could do to change that impression, other than

    1) promising to support certain standards

    2) actually releasing a browser with that support that people can realistically target in less than 3 years.

    This means decoupling IE updates from Longhorn. Thats been categorically ruled out by Microsoft as far as I know, so why would people have any other impression?

    I’ll take your word for it that transparency for png is hard to achieve with Trident (I’ll assume the filter stuff isn’t maintainable long term). I hope you get the resources you need, and the buy in to ship a browser that will make everyones life a bit easier.

    Also, a hint: when two of your main competitors are open source, its probably not the best idea to taunt critics of your engine that "You haven’t seen the source!". Thats not our fault!

    I know none of these points can be changed by your decisions, but you can’t be too surprised that people attempt to judge what your employers intentions are by what it has done in the past and what it has said it will do in the future.

  53. Anonymous says:

    RJW, that’s OK. My response was on the harsh side as well.

    My advice to you is this: participate. Don’t be an anonymous complainer and victim. That’s easy, trivial, pointless. The blog comments are full of that kind of thing.

    You want the next IE decoupled from Longhorn? Ask for it, rather than take the position that we’ve "categorically ruled [it] out" and now you’re just a victim of that decision.

    Ask for transparent PNG support. Sign the petition. That petition tells us it’s really important. It makes a difference.

    Go to the IE Wiki on Channel9 and add your stuff. Make your business case for the changes you want. Tell us why it’s something millions of people want instead of something else someone else is asking for. Tell us why adding your feature would make IE better.

    When we start giving technology previews and betas and RC1s, use them. Report bugs. Yell about standards we decided to not support. Tell us what we did well, what we didn’t do well.

    You have a voice. Use it wisely.

  54. Anonymous says:

    The IE Developer Center contains a feed auto-discovery link in the page head (to http://msdn.microsoft.com/ie/rss.xml) which is *still* returning a 404. Could this please be fixed? If you are serious about this then surely it would have been fixed ages ago…

  55. Anonymous says:

    As much as you might like to spin it otherwise for PR reasons, taking a decisive approach AGAINST competing products is often of far more importance than the technical merits of your own product. This isn’t to downplay the importance of the latter, which everyone acknowledges, but simply a statement about how litigation (or the threat of it) can be invaluable. We have seen this time and again in the software industry.

    I would like to second Bruce’s view that those in the proprietary software community can ‘be part of the solution’ just as much as with the open-standards people.

    For example, I have found the following patent covering tabbed browsing:

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=5,546,528.WKU.&OS=PN/5,546,528&RS=PN/5,546,528

    This patent is owned by Adobe. They are threatened just as much as Microsoft by open source. I have reminded them of this information via the feedback mechanism on their website, and hope that they will have the guts to enforce their IP rights. I encourage others on this forum to do this also. I will provide an update as and when I get a response.

    rjw, I hope this helps to prove that I am not just doing this ‘for a joke’ as you seem to think. I just recognise that the future of my job, and the future of the American software industry, needs money to thrive (or even survive).

    Regarding my previous comment about alpha transparency PNG rendering, it was just an example. I am prepared to believe that it is difficult for historical reasons. (Though surely even MS must realise that it isn’t easy to believe – that with all of Microsoft’s resources and their ‘commitment to top developer requests,’ that they have had the will but not the ability to fix it already!) Anyway, I’m sorry for any offense I may have caused.

    Anyway, it was just there to illustrate the point – namely, political decisions are often more important for business than technical ones.

  56. Anonymous says:

    "I hope this helps to prove that I am not just doing this ‘for a joke’ as you seem to think. I just recognise that the future of my job, and the future of the American software industry, needs money to thrive (or even survive)."

    I doubt money will be a huge problem if open source catches on even more than it already has. Some people have been making good money on the mozilla platform despite the fact its open source nature.

    Url: http://news.com.com/Firefox+fortune+hunters/2100-1032_3-5455173.html

    [quote]

    "Business is pretty crazy right now," said Pete Collins, who last year founded the Mozdev Group in anticipation of demand for private Mozilla development work. "With the popularity of Firefox and the economy rebounding, we’ve been swamped. We don’t even advertise–clients find us and provide us with work."

    The Mozdev Group is still a small shop–seven employees scattered around the globe, including two new hires. In response to demand, Collins intends to hire two more workers in January, and hourly rates, which range between $75 and $100 per hour depending on volume, are going up.

    [/quote]

  57. Anonymous says:

    Want a better Internet? You belong with Mozilla Firefox

    🙂

  58. Anonymous says:

    I have one comment on something which I think could make a great difference to the security of web applications. I’ve been burned more than once by XSS vulnerabilities (not of my making, but I’ve often had to test/debug/fix them).

    Every so often a "new" way that IE parses content seems to appear as an XSS flaw on Bugtraq. These aren’t the obvious ways of inserting JavaScript into a document, but (for example) encoded tab characters (&#x0009;) within the "javascript:" symbol? When you’re trying to look for (and disable) any JS execution in included HTML, it can be frustrating that the tokenization can act so differently to what one might expect (my first question on seeing this is why the hell would tabs within "javascript" still parse as that single token?)

    I’m not necessarily asking for this to be fixed. But when people became aware that "expression()" could be inserted by using CSS escape sequences like "expression()" etc., I was able to look up the exact tokenization in the CSS 2.1 spec for compliant browsers (assuming no bugs in their behaviour). The flex grammar specified in http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/grammar.html came in very useful (this was to fix the problem at http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/365045 ).

    In general, the tokenization rules would be VERY handy (including exceptions). I know this isn’t a quick writeup and then it’s done – but a relatively complete list could be a very useful resource for people trying to block all forms of active content.

    And – if you’re unwilling to document these because they’re actually bugs, this is still IMPORTANT imformation (that they are bugs, and existed in certain versions). The lack of visibility into this sort of thing carries real issues for security, especially since the QA testing matrix for most companies can be quite limited (in terms of versions of IE tested anyway).

    Another example problem is "@", which means the same thing as "@import", but I’ve never seen that documented (it’s at least quite hard to find). It should be mentioned at http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/author/dhtml/reference/properties/import.asp as well as having its own page. Not documenting this can give rise to problems like http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/372659

    Just a comment, probably not of use to the majority of people – I hope you put it on a todo list somewhere though 🙂

  59. Anonymous says:

    The RSS feed for the developer center page is still broken…

  60. Anonymous says:

    Yes. The RSS autodiscovery link points to a non-existent feed.

    We don’t actually have an RSS feed yet, so we’re sort of stuck between "do we create the feed now" or "do we get the MSDN folks to fix their template so it doesn’t assume we have a feed" or some other fix.

    And frankly, in a world of many things to do of varying priorities, this just hasn’t been the thing to get much attention. It’s slowly progressing, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.