What have you guys been doing since IE6?

Before I answer this, I want to acknowledge that we have a problem if people are asking this question. Listing what we’ve done or our priorities will help but won’t address the problem. Responding to specific questions with a great product and great documentation (for developers, for IT professionals, for deployment specialists, and for other customers as well), and doing that consistently for as long as we’ve been quiet about IE will help more.

So, what happened after Microsoft released IE6? Mostly the same things that happen after any product releases. Briefly:

  • Platform. Many of the people who had worked on the underlying platform of IE (layout and the rendering surface, scripting and extensibility, etc.) started working on next-generation platform pieces (e.g. Avalon, the Common Language Runtime, etc.). To oversimplify, they wanted to make developing powerful, secure applications and sites a lot easier.
  • Experience. Many of the people who had worked on the experience of IE started working on next-generation Internet client experiences (e.g. the core Windows shell, MSN Explorer, Instant Messenger, etc.). To oversimplify, they wanted to make using the Internet a lot better than “just another browser.”
  • Customer servicing. Many of the people who had worked closely with our corporate customers focused primarily on servicing. For example, large organizations en route to phasing out legacy systems (e.g. accounting, transaction processing, factory floor manufacturing) ask Microsoft for specialized, “one-off” changes in IE to get that legacy system to work with Windows.
  • Security response and pre-emption. Many people focused on security. Some customers have asked me if this is “just plugging holes;” it’s not. We do a lot of work (both internal at Microsoft as well as with external groups) to identify and address vulnerabilities before they are public. We do a lot of work to make sure that the way we eliminate vulnerabilities does not have a negative impact on applications (e.g. the AOL client), plug-ins (e.g. the Google toolbar or Macromedia Flash), or web sites that rely on particular IE behavior. We have a well-articulated support policy and product lifecycle for our legacy products, and updated an enormous matrix of IE / Windows version combinations.
  • Other. Some people were tired of working on browsers and moved on to do completely different things (like working on Office, or Xbox, or Windows Media Center Edition).

So, what did we (Microsoft, not just IE) do? I don’t intend this as an excuse for what we haven’t done, but as a fair description of what we did do. Briefly:

  • Many non-IE releases that made the browsing experience better (e.g. MSN Explorer, the MSN Toolbar) and the applications platform better (e.g. .NET CLR).
  • Many “smaller than a complete release of IE” releases as part of Windows. Shipping is a feature; each release took considerable effort on the part of many people. Specifically: Windows XP SP1 (and IE6 SP1), several Windows 2000 service packs (and associated IE5.01 updates), Windows Media Center, the Tablet PC edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003, and (in progress now) the 64-bit Windows client and Server 2003 SP1.
  • Many (in fact, hundreds upon hundreds) of specialized changes for customers (see Customer servicing above)
  • Many security updates for IE5.01, IE 5.5, and IE6 across many, many different languages and versions of Windows.

I want to call out XP SP2 in particular. Our goal was to eliminate entire classes of vulnerabilities while maintaining compatibility with applications, add-ins, and services. I think this was a strong step forward.

There’s also tremendous work on Avalon and XAML that the world is only starting to see. You can read more about that on other blogs, both on MSDN and off (for example, Chris Anderson’s). 

I think the unarticulated question behind “What have you guys been doing?” is “Do you think it’s enough?” I want to answer clearly: No, it’s not enough. It’s a good start, but we need to do more (product) and communicate more (acknowledge that we’re listening, post responses, and reflect that feedback in the product). That’s why we’re working on IE7.


Comments (79)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that you guys have done a lot of work towards securing IE, but you have shot yourselves in the foot by providing features based on the fact that the world (wide web) will play nice.

    I am 100% Microsoft, I am *still* using IE and I still advocate that no matter how "insecure" people think it is, it’s not because of the browser, but because of the access that the user themselves have on the machine. Running as an admin no matter what app you’re using, is a recipe for disaster.

    Advocate the use of restricted users. Offer tools and wizards that will help people convert their admin accounts they use every day to normal users and transfer all their settings and files. Force OEMs like Dell, Gateway, HP, and others to provide *two* accounts on the machines they sell with your OS on them. I personally find it quite distasteful walking in at Best Buy or Compusa and looking at laptops and desktops with an admin account that has blank passwords just because their tech support is unable/unwilling to help the users that call "tech support" when they try to install the "1000 recipes from wherever" application that is so poorly designed that it should have never been released in the first place.

    That’s my $0.02 on this. I do tech support for a living and I live the nightmares every day. I also do tech support for my family. I’ve setup around 20 PCs so far. Not a single one of them was ever hacked/hijacked/compromised. It’s been 3 years now, and whenever I see warnings about "blasters", "nachis" etc. I know that at least my family’s computers are secure.

  2. Anonymous says:


    The problem with IE (probably) isn’t the developers given Microsoft’s resources, it’s the management. They don’t seem to have a clue.

    "What needs to be done" is in many cases obvious. People have been begging for PNG alpha transparency support for 7 years now. Of course it will be in IE7, but undoubtedly billed as a shiny new feature rather than "sorry it took so long".

    Articles on this blog tend to be along the lines of "IE is great because I work here and see the quality of the people who work here". This arrogance is pretty intolerable given the security record.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree that "IE is great because I work here and see the quality of the people who work here" is arrogant. I don’t think that’s what they’re saying. Where did they say that?

  4. Anonymous says:

    So in other words you split the IE team up, stopped actually adding features and have plugged holes in what was already there.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Have you guys implemented tabbed browsing in IE7? What about standards? Come on you must have, you’ve had 3 years!

  6. Anonymous says:

    PS: a resounding second here! (see http://spaces.msn.com/members/jdanielsmith/Blog/cns!1pRjebUoVh0bNLSJvrecmAEg!164.entry)

    I’ve been doing C++/MFC/C# development with VS2002 on a daily basis since summer 2004 — without Administrator rights. Thankfully, no COM so I don’t have to write to the registry all the time.

    While running w/o Administrator rights isn’t the answer to all the current problems, it would help a lot — and is already in the OS.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "While running w/o Administrator rights isn’t the answer to all the current problems, it would help a lot — and is already in the OS."

    True, but it’s not enforced.

    Especially the consumer-targeted NT variants like XP should discourage the use of the Administrator account, make it so unattractive that users do not *want* to use it.

    e.g. limit the video modes in Admin. mode to greyscale or 16-color only. Or, like in some Linux distro’s , add thick red borders around the file manager when running with admin access. It should be obvious to users that the Administrator account is not for daily use.

    Back on topic: I’m not so much interested in what you did, but what will you be doing for IE7. Please clean up your act or even better: drop Trident and use Gecko.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think one of the previous posters hit the nail on the head, the underlying issue here is that Microsoft decided it didn’t need to do anything to IE and reallocated resource. At least until the security backlash happened and hence all the work done on that (thanks).

    I gather that IE7 would not have even been started had Firefox not had such a great takeup which does tend to give the impression that Microsoft is more than a little reactive instead of proactive.

    Whatever the case in the past, it is the past and wasn’t your decision (or indeed that of the current IE team) – good luck πŸ˜‰

  9. Anonymous says:

    1) Platform.

    MS wants to drop web standards in favour of their proprietary technologies.

    2) Experience.

    With IE the market leader, it is abandoned, with the IE team moved to different projects.

    3) Customer servicing.

    Small changes to IE for a limited group of customers. (Fair enough)

    4) Security response and pre-emption.

    Usual MS speil on security that ignores fundamental security problems in MS Windows’ and IE’s design. E.g. ActiveX security model, Browser/OS integration.

    5) Other.

    No translation needed – people’s interests change, that’s real life.

    BTW, using number lists instead of bullets would be a good idea if you want people to respond to your posts with clarity.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I hope you guys get time to address some bugs in the Scripting engines, like this:


  11. Anonymous says:

    I can understand Microsoft’s position.

    1) There is not much money to be made in web browsers.

    2) The web browser is archaic. I cannot wait for the web browser to die and become a nostalgic part of computing history. The browser turned our PCs in to a bunch of dumb terminals.

    As a developer I feel that I’ve had to take a step backward ever since I started doing web development over 7 years ago. This sloppy mix of HTML, XML, CSS, etc, etc, just kind of sucks.

    ASP.NET has gone a long way towards making development more clean, interesting, and fun.

    But, I’m ready for the next step. Who is more likely to take us to the next level? A new browser with a few more bells and whistles or some of Microsoft’s new initiatives?


  12. Anonymous says:

    "The browser turned our PCs in to a bunch of dumb terminals. (…) But, I’m ready for the next step. Who is more likely to take us to the next level?"

    Take a look at the abilities of XUL, open the following URL in firefox:


    How’s that for a dumb terminal ? Made with some XML and Javascript.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How sad.

    I remember the community buzz that existed when IE5 and 6 were released. I remember sitting on IRC channels while hundreds of web geeks eagerly anticipated their arrival. We counted down the seconds and drooled over new features and interfances to the magical web. That affection is well and truly gone.. it’s elsewhere now. (*cough* Firefox)

    It’s almost appalling that no-one at Microsoft admits that you really let things slide. I only hope you can learn to plough some serious effort into IE again, because that’s the only time Microsoft ever shined in my eyes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    "The web browser is archaic."…"The browser turned our PCs in to a bunch of dumb terminals. "

    Yes, but with a killer feature: the dumb browser could communicate with other dumb or clever machines all over the world, regardless of OS. An open world.

    The browser as a "dumb terminal" is really just Microsoft spin. They push the idea that browsers are primitive, and native apps allows a "richer experience" or something.

    But the fact is that today the web is a much richer platform than a native app. The rendering model of Windows.Forms is primitive compared to a web browser. Thats why the IE people has been busy at work with Avalon: to bring native Windows apps on par with web development in terms of richness and ease of development.

    When Avalon is finished some time in the future, it might finally be true that native apps can provide a "richer experience". But even then, the killer feature will be missing: Avalon will be windows-only. A closed world.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Most if not all games require you to be admin to install *and* play the game (MS’s own Age of Mythology was the last game I encountered this with).

    There is something about the way the OS is designed that encourages people to run in admin mode for regular usage. Until that is addresses, it is effectively impossible to implement good security practices with Windows, at least at home. (At work is a different story, since people don’t play games at work…)

  16. Anonymous says:

    OK then…to stay on-topic πŸ™‚

    The "security problems" of IE would be far fewer and less disasterous if people didn’t run with "Administrator" rights.

    I agree that it is far too easy to do so today, and there are various broken programs and/or pieces of the OS that more-or-less require Administrator rights

    But rather than patching IE all the time to address many of these security problems, Microsoft should be working hard to ensure that you rarely login the the console with Administrator rights.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with "mb" — I want my "dumb terminal" browser, thankyouverymuch!

    I’ve always believed that one of the downfalls of M$ (and a major reason why many people despise M$) is this attitude–it’s like buying a car that has a refrigerator, DVD/VCR/audio system, bunk bed, built-in masseuse, flip-tray investment advisor, wings that come out and enable you to fly to work when the highway becomes too congested, etc. Yes, you can now live in your car, but what if *I* dont’ want to??

    Small software apps that perform singular functions (like a "dumb terminal" browser or a desktop RSS aggregator or a small, simple FTP app or a PNG-compression utility or a "basic" word processor that doesn’t tell you what it wants you to do!…you get the point, I hope) enable a fast-performing, resource-intelligent, and more SECURE computing experience: I want a browser that browses, I DON’T want an OS that browses, thereby exposing my whole desktop to the world that, as "PS" above noted, will "not play nice".

    Latin is archaic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a language worth learning, and Aristotle is archaic, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t know anything.


    Make your "dumb terminal" browser even "dumber", take it out of the OS, make it more secure, make it open with standards that work, fix known bugs.

    But PLEASE, just let it be a browser.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Will IE 7 render using Avalon?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Fair enough. Not a priority. I don’t blame you, but I’m still running Firefox until IE is the better browser again. Even though I’m a .Net developer, and happy you’re devoting resources to that.

    The "smaller than a complete release" stuff might not be so hard if you weren’t so tied into the OS. Modularity seems to be accepted engineering everywhere but Microsoft.

    "web sites that rely on particular IE behavior"…As a web developer, I don’t care about backwards compatibility with idiosyncracies of old IE. We’re already checking "IE or other," and checking version number isn’t hard. As long as you move in the direction of standards compliance, web developers everywhere will shout for joy. You’re way outta touch if you don’t recognize that. If you’re just talking about security issues here, like support for ActiveX…well, ok, I can see it for corporate IT, but the general consumer version should make you jump through hoops for that. Public websites don’t assume IE.

    As for the rest…I just don’t care about MSN, and I don’t care about all the TLC you’re giving your big corporate customers. I don’t care about the AOL client, they’re big enough to merit something custom. I don’t care about Microsoft’s proprietary extensions to the Web, or using the shell to browse the Net with. What I want is a good browser.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps you’re interested in what I did since the IE 6 release ?

    I wasted time, lots of time to find out why javascript codes worked perfectly in mozilla / firefox / safari / opera while IE gives me some vaguely yellow colored triangle without a descent error-report.

    I pulled my hair out to figure out why those browsers exactly displayed website layouts the way I wanted and designed them to, and IE messed everything up.

    I questioned myself too many times how to change graphics because IE didn’t support png images natively.

    I scripted too much because IE didn’t support css pseudo-elements like :hover.

    I wasted time on googling around to find out what kind of method MS came up to replace standardized methods.

    I wasted too much time to tell others that the frase ‘this website is designed for IE’ is the wrong attitude if they want to become a professional webdesigner.

    I was frustrated too many times when some website just showed me the message that I needed to upgrade my browser (latest mozilla, what the h*ll do you mean ‘upgrade’ ??)

    I wasted bandwidth and traffic to submit bugreports each time IE crashed all of a sudden, and to forum postings to tell others how to work-around the same IE bugs over and over again.

    I got upset too many times when some website figured out how to popup a small blurred window to abuse my browser to install some mall-/spy-ware and mess up the register.

    I spend too much time at relatives and friends to clean up the mess they got stuck with because of IEI could spend a whole evening with typing, but you guys made me loose enough sleep already over the past years and what’s the use ?

    As long as I’m not waving with a few million dollars for some pointless upgrades I’m pretty sure you guys don’t give a stupid thing about my message or my thoughts from a developers point of view.

    But you don’t have to mind me anymore.

    Like so many of the MS personnel I’m now the proud owner of a Mac G5 with a nice, bugfree and userfriendly OS and some great software.

    I stopped supporting IE a long time ago and only develop webbased applications which run rock-solid and fast in mozilla and firefox, feeded by a xul file generated by a linux webserver.

    … I can finally catch up some sleep

  21. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me if Ie7 will compatible with Windows x64

  22. Anonymous says:

    Some speculation.

    I know you guys did a lot of work re-engineering the original IE codebase after buying it from Spyglass and I guess the result was _really_ seen around IE4 – about 2 years work according to the history (http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/history/ie.htm)

    IE5 felt like further refactoring, with most of the hard work going into CSS support but not a major re-write – more extending what was already there.

    IE6 felt more like you’d run out of 5.x version numbers – minor features / bug fixes / cleaning up.

    In other words seems like the last time the IE codebase was really "architected" was back in ’97. People are talking about 4 years since IE6 but seems like it’s 8 years since anyone looked at the big picture of IE.

    And the Net was a very different place back then. Aside from popups it hadn’t really got nasty. The core standards were still evolving (e.g. HTTP 1.1 ~ ’99) and web developers were still figuring stuff out.

    Meanwhile the story looks diffent @ mozilla.

    Remembering they took the bold decision to throw out old Netscape 4.x codebase and start over with a new design, based on lessons learned and mistakes made, strikes me they’re now in a very strong position.

    Their code base (http://lxr.mozilla.org) which even "smells" good, just browing around it.

    It compiles on multiple operating systems (including even OS/2 I believe) and builds into multiple browser offerings, is starting to compete with Outlook (http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/ & http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird.html) and even spin offs like NVU (http://www.nvu.com/), stepping into Frontpage territory.

    Also, the XUL / XPCOM / Javascript combination seems to be approaching critical mass with both hackers ( https://addons.update.mozilla.org/?application=firefox ) and e-businesses (http://toolbar.a9.com/).

    So here’s the crunch question. You think you really think you can keep pace with Mozilla, based on the current design?

    Does .NET somehow fit in as IE’s knight in shining armor?

  23. Anonymous says:

    What have you guys been doing since IE6 in regard to HTML/CSS/JavaScript? What have you guys been doing since IE6 that actually matters to web DEVELOPERS?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with you that shipping a high quality product with excellent documentation should be your goal.

    But please… tell us what you’re planning.

    Right now we know that there will be an IE 7… and that’s about it. You’ve said there will be new security features. Great.

    But can you elaborate? Or at least tell us *when* you’ll tell us what you have planned?

    I assume by now that you more or less know what kind of things you’re going to be doing over the next months with IE 7. So can you give us at least a partial list of features and/or specific goals that you’re going to tackle?

    I want to know, as soon as possible:

    -What new web standards are you going to try and support?

    -Will you offer tabbed browsing?

    -Will you make the IE interface more customizeable and extensible (a la Maxthon, Avant)?

    You don’t have to tell us everything. If you’ve got some super secret killer feature that you want to surprise us with… awesome.

    But if you tell us that we will/won’t have tabbed browsing… no one is going to "steal" that feature. Everyone else already has it.

    Now… do you want to know why I use Maxthon instead of regular old IE?

    1) Tabs. I am completely trained to middle-click on links and have them open in a new tab. At the VERY least, let us assign the middle button to open a new window.

    2) Groups. Having saved groups of pages is great. Especially when you can sync them with your tablet or another computer. I’m using these more and more lately.

    3) More functional address/search bar. I seriously type "g <some text>" in my address bar dozens of times a day to search for something. (or "m <some text>" for msn πŸ˜‰

    Pretty basic stuff. Oh, and having the "undo close" option is invaluable.

    Some innovative things you could do?

    Make IE 7 remember form text better. I had writing comments or blog posts, clicking "submit", and getting whatever database error – then clicking "back" only to find that the text I entered is gone forever.

    In fact, I think it’d be great if IE could have an option to track *everything* I submit over the net. And make it searchable (maybe with MSN DS). I could see you guys making a feature out of that, perhaps.

    Maybe you should talk to the Maxthon guys. They’ve done some truly great things with your browser (IE 6). Get those guys on board and you can’t go wrong.

  25. Anonymous says:

    mb said:

    "As a developer I feel that I’ve had to take a step backward ever since I started doing web development over 7 years ago. This sloppy mix of HTML, XML, CSS, etc, etc, just kind of sucks."

    Yes. It does suck. Guess why?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why does it suck? Certainly the amount of control over your documents said languages give you is not traded for having to deal with a buggy browser (*cough* Internet Explorer).

  27. Anonymous says:

    The answer to the "What have you been doing" question pretty much confirms everyone’s wors fears Dean. Reading between the lines, it appears that all except a core group got reassigned off the browser and onto these other projects you refer to, and you essentially abandoned the IE platform until forced back onto it by circumstance. I can see why you were so reluctant to address this question.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m looking forward to Avalon, among other things. But you guys should not have plundered the IE team to do it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    To summarize: Not a lot.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Have you seen


    "There is a speed war on the web. Browsers compete on many fronts; security, standards support, features and speed. Most people are aware of which major browser fails on three of these, but one of them is still open for grabs. Speed."

  30. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me IE7 will support "empty-cells: show"

    I do a lot of work with tables of data.

    The fact that in every peice of code i write i have to do a test and if there is no value I have to add a no breaking space.

    I can’t make them look correct without putting a space in every cell. i can’t make a print friendly version without without putting a space in every cell. i can’t have a border without putting a space in every cell. I can’t make my code lean and efficient if I continue to put a space in every cell.

    So please do the right thing and support "empty-cells: show"

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, just throwing an Idea out there, not sure if this is the place for it but, in IE 7 why not make a way to look up words using by right clicking as one of the Firefox plug-in allow you to do, this could be done via the research bar that OFFICE 03 includes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think the IE6 team has been slogging thru a bunch of posts from a bunch of religious zealots whining incessantly instead of possibly listening to constructive criticism trying to solve the problems. If you need exact control over your applications write them in C++ instead of a flimsy page layout language. If you think all the browsers are going to conform to a standard you might find you are better suited for work in either the food service or housekeeping industries.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, misbegotten higher-level MS strategies have crippled the IE efforts. The

    troops in the trenches then have to implement orders.

    Anyone who thinks baking the browser into the OS makes sound software-architectural sense should flunk a hiring exam. Unfortunately, the opposite has for too long been the case.

    Mozilla team, not so shackled, is thereby eating MS’s lunch.

    Mantra for MS: standards, modularity, x-platform, lean.

    It may be too late for the MS DNA to grok this. If so, the company will be reduced to a 1-product (windows) company.

    (OpenOffice, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, is eating MS Office lunch just as Mozilla is eating IE’s).


    — stan

  34. Anonymous says:

    Please tell us what you are planning to do with Outlook Express. Not only about Internet Explorer. but also about Outlook Express. If you are listening.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Amazingly write to many words to write: "We didn’t do nothing". Sorry for my English.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Wow. You wrote an entire 680 word post on what you’ve been doing since IE 6, and didn’t use the word "standard" once.

    You know this is why web developers hate you, right?

  37. Anonymous says:

    dolphinling’s weblog &raquo; What&#8217;s gone on since IE 6

  38. Anonymous says:

    "If you need exact control over your applications write them in C++ instead of a flimsy page layout language."

    Sigh. There are two types of developers: those with clues, and those without…

  39. Anonymous says:

    Firefox 1.0.1 is due for release.

    Comments like this one:


    demonstrate the importance of having widespread testing ‘in the open’.

    MS used to be king of user testing, even with its patches. Now it just looks stupid in comparison. Tens of thousands of users (including me) are testing every single Firefox nightly and submitting bugs in a very streamlined way to bugzilla. I wouldn’t do it for a proprietary product unless they paid me. But MS is even firing internal testers, despite having near infinite cash!

    I agree with Retrib, bad management, not necessarily bad coders.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I think that MSFT guys don’t realize the benefits and pragmatism of widespread testing. The problems that plague IE cannot be fixed in a timely manner by a few elite coders… Dave, we aren’t stupid, we are coders just as capable as you or the next IE dev is. We know bad code when we see it. Don’t you think it would be easier and faster to find and patch a problem if you had thousands of coders scouring your code for bugs? Saying there will be a beta is not reassuring… Heck, I’ve seen the IE 6.05 beta that comes with the Longhorn Alphas, to me it is just a shell of beta. A beta in name only. To what extent are going to listen to us for IE7?

    Dave, if you want us to take IE7 seriously, why don’t you let us interview you?

    Things I’d like to know

    *Do you think a coder such as myself could handle IE’s code if it were made available?

    *When you say "beta", are you talking about a pre-release where maybe one or two bugs will be ironed out or are we talking about a cooperative process between coders and the MSFT team?

    *How can we search for bugs and expect you guys to know how to fix it or even listen to us? We need some assurance.

    *Is it against your NDA to tell us whether the PNG transparency will be fixed?

    *Will IE7 be more integrated or less integrated?

    *Will there be a bug reporting tool?

    *Will IE7 beta be open or closed to people with BetaIDs?

  41. Anonymous says:

    So now that Avalon and Indigo will work on XP, and IE7 will work on XP, why should I (as a user rather than a developer) want Longhorn?

    IE7 is the ultimate ‘we must react to Firefox’, as 2 seconds of thinking like a PHB would tell you.

    I think I’ll short some more MSFT.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Take a look at the nightly firefox builds..


  43. Anonymous says:

    Are you planning to use the bug reporting service that Visual Studio 2005 is currently using for IE7? Please allow uses at least to openly submit bugs and suggestions to IE7 when the beta is release, like you do now with Visual Studio.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Screw most of the commenters here. Many of them would never use IE much less any other Microsoft product no matter what you did. Obviously there’s nothing to be gained by attempting the impossible task of pleasing malcontents.

    IE7’s security zones are great, but the UI for adding sites should be improved to make it easier to do on the fly.

    Fixing the print engine would be nice, too many pages end up with chopped off material when printed.

    Clearing up some bugs, like PNG transparency and some of the CSS quirks, should take priority over adding new CSS support, but whatever CSS support can be added would be appreciated.

    Either rip out behaviors or improve their performance when applied to large numbers of elements (which is their main area of usefulness). Behaviors are so godawful slow I never use them.

    An HTML editor control that can be dropped in as easily as any other form control would also be nice. contentEditable is great but why not save us even more work?

    I’m sure it will have tabs, just make it easy to turn them off because I really hate tabbed browsing.

    If you change rendering characteristics, you’ll need to find some way of getting around IE6’s use of Doctype (although that implementation was so unsatisfying that I just stick to quirks mode–which is actually quite nice).

    I’m sure there are other things that would be nice, but remember, your customers and potential customers are people who have used and enjoyed previous iterations of IE, not the whining trolls here who fume because it’s the browser with 90% marketshare and that just kills them (by the way, Firefox’s "sudden" popularity would be more impressive if it wasn’t mainly Mozilla upgrades).

  45. Anonymous says:

    Seems to me that the people who asked "What have you guys been up to since IE6 anyway?" were mostly asking it as a rhetorical question – the answer clearly being "nothing". Nothing IE-related, anyway. This post just confirms that.

    It’s interesting the order in which you decided to tackle the questions which you percieved in the comments. It’s almost in order of importance, but starting with the *least*.

    1. "What have you guys been doing since IE6?" As noted above, I think this was a rhetorical question. Answering it doesn’t add any value for anyone.

    2. "What makes IE7 on Win2K so hard anyway?" Duh. The fact that the APIs you’d like to use have changed, that the current codebase of IE is from SP2 and tightly integrated into the new XP security architecture, blah blah blah. Ironically, everyone complains about the security implications of integrating the browser too tightly into the operating system (which IMO is a very naive complaint, there are plenty of ways of achieving tight integration without compromising security) but nobody complains about this real negative effect of the too-tight integration between browser and OS. Didn’t all your customers tell you ten years ago that you shouldn’t integrate it too tightly, and now you’re going to tell us that you can’t give us what we want because of that decision that we all opposed in the first place? Regardless, we shouldn’t have to care why it’s so hard. That’s *your* job. Interesting as an aside, but again, we get no value from your answer to this question.

    3. "Standards, standards, standards… say something!". Ah, finally some meat. The problem is that Microsoft *has* said something about standards several times in the past, and we know your answer. "Standards aren’t important, we can’t fix them without breaking backwards compatibility, and nobody cares anyway". Even the fact that we *have* to bludgeon you over the head with the question to get you to say anything at all is by itself an indictment of Microsoft’s attitude toward web standards. If you had the slightest intention of improving your story here you’d be shouting it from the rooftops. Do you have any idea how huge a headline it would be just to say "IE7 will support alpha on PNGs"? Or "IE7 will allow you to place something, anything, over the top of a <select> element using DHTML"? Or "IE7 will support position: fixed"? The problem here isn’t the question, it’s that we all already know the answer, and it’s the *wrong* one.

    4. "What’s in IE7, or at least when can we find out?" This comes back to the standards question, really. There’s very few UI features that could be added to a browser that would be worth a new major version number. Tabbed browsing perhaps. We all know about "security enhancements" but those should be automatic, behind the scenes and (most importantly) applied retroactively through Windows Update to *all* versions of IE. A new major version primarily for security enhancements just confirms even further everyone’s opinion that you don’t care about IE from a feature perspective. Again, saying something, *anything* about new features, even "There will be some!" would be huge news. Your silence, once again, speaks volumes.

    5. "Don’t you understand that…?" Troll. Not worthy of a response. Spend your time answering the important questions, instead.

  46. Anonymous says:

    As an aside, I was reading through the provisional XHTML2.0 spec today and noticed that there wasn’t a single Microsoft employee mentioned. What happened between XHTML1.0 2nd edition (Tantek from Tasman and Rob Relyea from Trident I assume) and XHTML2.0 that caused you to withdraw from the discussion process?

  47. Anonymous says:

    Simple, MSFT wasn’t interested…

  48. Anonymous says:

    Whatever: are you referring to HTC behaviors being slow, or binary behaviors? HTCs are destined to be slow because they’re script, but maybe there’s some kind of compilation that could be done to make them a little faster. Binary behaviors are awesome, especially rendering behaviors.

    Stuart: I think it’s pretty much a given that IE7 will support transparent PNGs natively. Windows has had support for transparent PNGs through GDI+ since XP was released… they are used in many Microsoft products such as Messenger and Media Center. I can definitely see IE moving to using GDI+ for image handling, although it could be tricky integrating it with DirectX Transform filters that IE currently supports.

    As an aside… the fact that IE *doesn’t* use GDI+ for graphic rendering was a huge stroke of good luck back when the GDI+ JPEG vulnerability was disclosed. Could you imagine getting infected by just viewing a web image?

  49. Anonymous says:

    "Could you imagine getting infected by just viewing a web image?"

    Eh – are you being ironic or did I misunderstand something here? I thought that was the JPEG vulnerability.

    "… but remember, your customers and potential customers are people who have used and enjoyed previous iterations of IE, not the whining trolls here who fume because it’s the browser with 90% marketshare and that just kills them …"

    Hmm. You mean the Firefox users (previous IE users) who have realized what a good browser should be like?

    "(by the way, Firefox’s "sudden" popularity would be more impressive if it wasn’t mainly Mozilla upgrades)."

    Strange then that all those updates (from 1.0 to 1.0???) make up at least five percent of web users now. (The five percent reports are rather old by now.)

  50. Anonymous says:

    IE can be easily spoofed. No fix yet.


    Firefox 1.0.1 was pretty much all anti-phish. One of the really exciting ideas was to change the status bar color on secure sites depending on a hash of the URL. Not there yet, but w00t!

    nada from the IE guys of course, they are all under NDA…

  51. Anonymous says:

    Too much talk, not enough results.

    I think I’ll stick with non-vapourware browsers, TYVM.

  52. Anonymous says:


    Nope, thats not what the problem was. The problem was in GDI+. GDI+ is not used by IE to render JPEGs: Load IE under a debugger, view JPEGs, and you won’t see get GDIPlus.dll loaded.

    However it is used by the shell (image preview, thumbnail generator), and other apps, so it was still a critical problem. Just not as bad as it could have been.

  53. Anonymous says:

    the Select definitely should be implemented as a windowless control for IE, two reasons for this:

    1.- windowed control prevents anything from getting on top of it (like using CSS)

    2.- windowed version does not support all CSS styling, preventing Web sites from customizing a form look (for exemple, changing border and background colors using CSS)

  54. Anonymous says:

    So you’ve done basically nothing with IE for the last 3 years. This is despite the fact that Microsoft is the largest, most profitable software company in the world with billions of dollars in the bank and enough resources to solve pretty much any problem it wants to.

    I’m glad you’re not trying to make any excuses for your lack of action, because there is none. Well at least none that you can state publicly anyway.

    No great revelations here. Next question…

  55. Anonymous says:

    What it has done is let IE market share go below 90% despite being **FORCED** on people **AGAINST DOJ FINDINGS** and all semblance of honest competition.

  56. Anonymous says:



    Who would have thought that EUROPEANS would finally sort you boys out?

    Monetary fines make no diff, but ‘consulting with Samba’? The EU is going to totally own MS!

    AFAIK the euros hasnt held antitrust hearings on IE yet, but I’m sure it will! As a webdev who has been totally alientated by you guys for years, I hope they do it after you’ve put in all the hard work ‘integrating’ IE7 into Longhorn and you get the punishment you deserve.

    LOL, just wait for Japan and China and India, all the big markets you need, to do the same thing!!

    HA HA

  57. Anonymous says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE update Outlook Express too.

    It’s a clunky piece of rubbish compared with other email clients, but my employer (<5 people in firm) insists on it. 😐

    You’re probably in a no-win situation because if OE gets too good no-one will want Outlook, but given the competition is from free softwares, you’re going to have to bite this bullet sooner or later.

    But please don’t forget about OE!

  58. Anonymous says:

    No mather what you have been doing…. yo still don´t get it.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Please fix CSS2 bugs and add PNG support. Use Hixie’s testcases for a start, there are tons of testcases if you care to look. If you’re concerned about compatibility, then just add proper XHTML support (and support for the application/xhtml+xml MIME type), and let the CSS and PNG bugfixes etc apply just to that and not to "legacy" text/html content.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Hey, gecko has built in ECMAScript and will have SVG soon. I think you need to get coding!

    But that’s irrelevant, I think Gecko (and Firefox) will win because Trident (and Internet Explorer) are stupid names probably thought up by some PHB with no sense of fun.

    After all who was ever going to buy OS/2 when you could buy Windows?

    Why is google a verb but msn isn’t (OK, MSN beta’s results are still crap despite all the mythical man-months being thrown at it, but work with me here…)?

    Talking of mythical man months, the IE team is hiring…

  61. Anonymous says:

    Who cares what the IE ‘team’ has been doing anyway? They are way too late… There’s not a chance in hell anything they come up with is going to make me swith back from Firefox and Thunderbird.

  62. Anonymous says:

    i am very interested in this notion of "servicing". a change in IE to get an app to work with Windows? eh?


    For example, large organizations en route to phasing out legacy systems (e.g. accounting, transaction processing, factory floor manufacturing) ask Microsoft for specialized, β€œone-off” changes in IE to get that legacy system to work with Windows.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually glad the IE team broke up. Most groups can make a web browser, but not everyone can make a CLI framework and Microsoft Office.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Jonathan, if it’s such a given that PNG alpha will be supported, why is the IE team making such a point of refusing to confirm or deny? You’re right that it should be a no-brainer, but it should have been a no-brainer five years ago and clearly it wasn’t. You’ll forgive me for having low expectations of what the IE team considers a no-brainer.

    It’s certainly not fully supported in WinXP either – ever try making a transparent PNG your user account image? Hello ugly white box…

  65. Anonymous says:

    Come on guys, don’t bash with the Ie6 team.. they could sleep for a long, long time, because firefox refuses to Create Transform filters.. not to mention about behavoirs..:-)

    I must admint -that’s what i hate about firefox- then don’t implement Features of IE

    So , Yes, the Ie "New feature" Team did sleep for a long while, But hopefully they bring us some nice new things πŸ™‚

  66. Anonymous says:

    I like to think of open source as a personal trainer for the proprietary. That is, open source equivalents of proprietary technologies force the commercial ISV to innovate, to get its lazy ass out of bed and go for a…

  67. Anonymous says:

    If you’d open-sourced IE, you could actually have concentrated adding *new features*, instead of custom-fixing things for your clients…

  68. Anonymous says:

    I just wish all browsers behaved the same. Why do you make us all write browser specific code? While the browser and HTML are a bit archaic, it does allow ordinary people to put sites up quite easily. The problem is that without a great degree of knowledge, they will look different on different platforms. I do not understand Microsoft’s poition on this. It’s been said by many others above that there is no money to be made from browsers, so why make them proprietary, it’s not like there is a commercial position to protect.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I dump IE6 Sp1 into the trash can which full of piece of crap, Greatly IE6 Sp2 is now almost stable browser and I use it better than Netcrapy.