Time, Time, Time, see what’s become of me…

Hello again. This is Peter Gurevich, Program Manager for all things rendering and display related on IE. How are all of you enjoying the IE7 Beta 2 preview refresh?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the nature of Time. Now before we launch off into some big Physics discussion (which would be fun) I mean HTML +Time. I want to use this blog post as an opportunity for all of you to discuss and provide feedback on how you use it in your sites.

How do you currently use HTML + TIME? Have you seen the Introduction to HTML+TIME article? What do you think is the coolest feature? What are your usage patterns? Can you point me to your sites or other sites that you know of that use HTML + TIME? Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

So, don’t be shy, Lets hear it. (But please keep the input related to HTML + TIME)

 - Peter

Comments (104)

  1. Andy says:

    Taalklas.nl uses html+time in a very neat way. It’s in Dutch; you can login ("inloggen") using Peter/935779. Try some excercises or the help function for example.

    I really like html+time. Many things it does are also possible by using Javascript and the DOM, but I like the declarative nature of html+time. Other things, like audio, even require using plugins like WMP or Flash.

    However, the biggest problem is that other browsers don’t support it. So, any site that has to work cross browser basically won’t be able to implement it. Which is too bad.

  2. Scott says:

    No offense, but this proprietary stuff is part of the reason why Internet Explorer has a bad reputation. HTML+TIME looks like a cool idea, but DHTML behaviors are not part of the CSS spec. I highly recommend dropping support for it in the interest of improving IE’s reputation.

  3. Josef Dunne says:

    I aggree with above…proprietary stuff has to go.

  4. Jeff says:

    i don’t particularly care if it is proprietary or if it is a big old web standard supported by millions.  let’s just get this puppy out the door then add these things later.

    HTML+Time can then become a 7.1 feature… or a never, never feature.

  5. as cool as this might be, I have to agree that the web doesn’t revolve around IE anymore, so being browser specific makes it *useless* for a lot of sites nowadays

  6. game kid says:

    Also agree with Scott.  taalklas, decent as it is, is the ONLY site I have ever seen that uses this, and it’s just not standard.

    "Many things it does are also possible by using Javascript and the DOM, but I like the declarative nature of html+time. Other things, like audio, even require using plugins like WMP or Flash."

    That’s a good thing.  Some work environments just want to turn off music and Flash ads.  If HTML+Time has separate preference settings (I hope not) this just makes things harder.

    I’ll stick with the (semi-)standardized plugins and script, thanks.

  7. game kid says:

    "HTML+Time can then become a 7.1 feature… or a never, never feature."

    I recall HTML+Time being on IE6 already, no?  It’s been around a while.  The fact that Jeff thinks it’s a new feature (and that it’s not standard) shows how horribly it failed.

    Furthermore, the presence of this article so long after HTML+Time’s implementation here suggests it’s new.  That’s just misleading.

  8. Ron says:

    IE6 already takes most of my spare time away, don’t waste my time again with IE7.

  9. ieblog says:

    I don’t care how many little asterixes you use, if you swear on the blog, I’ll delete your comment. Let’s keep it clean.

    – Al Billings [MSFT] and his bar of soap

  10. cooperpx says:

    @ Peter Gurevich

    Hi Peter. I know IE6 supports HTML+Time. Due to IE being the only browser that supports it, I have never bothered to experiment with it.

    At one point, when reusing ie as a UI control was a potential goldmine of goodness, IE-only features made sense ~ even appealing. However, a lot of changes to IE have made reusing it a *land-mine* (for anything other than what it was first designed to do: display web pages).

    I would wager that if Microsoft (or dean edwards *wink*) developed a replacement javascript toolkit, you could cut it out and not look backwards. This might not be what you want to hear. I do look forward to seeing some actual usages of HTML+Time.

  11. What does (proprietary) HTML+TIME add over (standard) SMIL?


  12. Jeff Handley says:

    I would have to agree that HTML+TIME could be dropped from IE7.  I’ve never used it, nor have I used many browser-specific features.  I am a firm believer that every web-based application should be developed for at least some cross-browser support, even for internal/intranet type applications.  It’s tough to justify painting yourself into a corner in my opinion.

  13. mors says:

    It’s a very bad idea to support such thing. SMIL already does what TIME does and much more. Of course supporting TIME, you’ll contribute for more browser discrimination and nonsense browser sniffing.

    Go the W3C way.

  14. ugh-noyed says:

    I find it terribly amusing to see such standards-defenders asking for HTML+Time to be completely removed, no less.

    Yet when the Safari and Mozilla folk release obscure incomplete ideas like <canvas>, they all rejoice.

    IE Team, please keep pearls such as HTML+Time, VML, behaviors and filters in IE. They’re awesome tools in a browser that offers the widest toolset available today.

    Zealots, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. I suggest you also stop using other such evil proprietary extensions, such as XMLHTTP and innerHTML. Oh wait, they got copied by the others, does that make them okay now? Maybe we should get the others to copy all other useful "proprietary" stuff to make them kosher too.

  15. Nudger says:

    Now would be the time for someone from MS to say,

      "We heard you loud and clear."

    On a different matter…

    …IE7 Beta 2 preview refresh…


    what’s next?

    IE7 Beta 2 preview refresh SP update


  16. Xepol says:

    IE no longer gets foward/next browser button sequences right 100% of the time (just since the latest preview release), and you are focusing on lame, non standard features that degrade on other browsers so badly that noone in their right mind would touch them????  Tell me you aren’t serious.

    I’m pretty sure I can do the exact same thing with javascript, dhtml, and css AND have it be cross browser compatible.

    Frankly, I agree with many here: drop this line entirely.  Lobby to include it as part of the standards if you are convinced it has real value (but I seriously wouldn’t waste my time if I were you!)  Removing it from IE to reduce some of the complexity would probably help increase stability and upgradability.

  17. black pea says:

    Why do you give webmasters headaches, forcing them to mangle another specification ? What does TIME do that SMIL doesn’t ? Better, what does SMIL do that TIME doesn’t ? The answer to this one would be long.

    And finnaly, why do you waste time, revenue and man-power re-inventing the wheel, developing proprietary secret technologies, when there are open standards ?

  18. Adrian says:

    Heh, well this post was useless…what webmaster/webdesigner/admin is going to admit they use HTML+TIME with this lot ready to jump on them?

  19. PatriotB says:

    Xepol – It would be wrong to say that they’re "focusing" on "non-standard" things such as TIME.  If I recall correctly, HTML+TIME was introduced in IE5.5, and that was an evolution of some of the DirectAnimation technologies from the 1998 timeframe.  IE6 may have had some TIME improvements but TIME certainly isn’t a "focus" of IE7.  Peter’s just posting this to see what kind of things people have built using it.

    And no, they’re not going to just up and remove HTML+TIME.  They would break numerous applications that use IE components, as well as web sites.  There’s actually very little precedence for removing functionality completely from the IE platform: usually only if there is a huge security risk AND there is an alternate technology available.  And usually in this case, they just "deactivate" it (such is the case with scriptlets in IE7).  (On the other hand, the IE *application* itself often has features removed: channel bar, media bar are good examples.)

  20. PatriotB says:

    Ok, I should have read the article Peter linked to before I posted.  According to that, HTML+TIME was first introduced in IE5.

    The article also says that HTML+TIME is based on SMIL 2.0.  So it looks like it actually was developed to fit a standard.

    The actual SMIL 2.0 Recommendation (http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/REC-SMIL2-20050107/) is dated January 7, 2005.  So there are bound to be differences between IE’s implementation (from ~1999) and the official standard.  (That tends to happen when you start implementing specs before they’re in their final form.)  Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about SMIL and HTML+TIME so I have no idea how huge the differences between them are.

  21. "Zealots, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. I suggest you also stop using other such evil proprietary extensions, such as XMLHTTP and innerHTML. Oh wait, they got copied by the others, does that make them okay now?"

    I’m not one of those guys that says pull proprietary features out simply because they are not standards.  And I’ve never heard of HTML+TIME…

    But actually, the fact that XMLHTTP was copied by other browsers is PRECISELY what makes it now so useful (and consequently XMLHTTP is now pushing its way towards standardization).  Kudos to Microsoft on inventing something so cool and kudos to Mozilla, Apple and Opera for having the class to acknowledge this innovation.

    On the other hand, if all other major browsers are now working on implementing open standards like SVG, and Microsoft’s VML is effectively dead (with an insignificant adoption rate), doesn’t it make sense for Microsoft to start implementing SVG?  Hm, unless they have some other sort of technology in the works that would directly compete with SVG while enforcing tool lock-in…  but that would never happen.

    My point is:  innovation is good, but if there are already standards out there that are being adopted by browsers, it benefits web development in general to contribute to the Working Groups and to implement them.

  22. Ross says:

    All those calling "standards" and nothing but… Who gets to decided what a standard?

    HTML-TIME is a standared that Microsoft first put into effect with IE5

    Who owns the IP rights to a standard and can palce limits on its ussage and modification and develoment does not matter.  People you need to realzie that some of these things that you complain about not being standards ARE standards but the IP is owned by someone other than whatever body you want. So when you say be standard complient, please be more specfic State which standards. And when you say take out wxy, look and see first if wxy might be a standard somewhere before saying it is not….

  23. In my opinion, HTML+Time is simply not useful.  Flash would be my first choice for animations, and really for anything less than that level of animation Iā€™d just assume use DHTML so that all browsers can see it.

    We are leading, given the percentage of posts above that consider the functionality to be unimportant, toward a classic Microsoft problem.  Absolutely classic.  Features are included in products for one reason or another (to get them off the shelf, or in this case to draw developers to a product and away from another, or whatever), and even if the feature is ultimately of little use to most, the application’s code base (and download size, bug surface area, maintenance requirements, etc.) continue to hemorrhage.  As I’ve mused before on the Office UI blog, there seems to be no path (and very few precedents) for removing under/un used features.

  24. hAl says:

    @Andrew Eberhard

    As flash is now mostly used in avoiding ad blockers about 90% of all flash I encounter is advertising. Flash will become more and more something to shut down and avoid ads. Flash is therefore already switched of in several of my browsers.

    For others from the w3c site about HTML+TIME:


    And whomever referred to the XMLHttpRequest. Foolish as this was first implemented by Microsoft and only then used by other browser.

    Mayby people do not realise that most standards begin their life as propriaty features. Succesfull features can rise to standards as people start to adopt them widely.

  25. I can’t stand Flash! Even more I can’t stand "designers" who make sites completely out of Flash. HTML+Time looks cool and useful at first.

    If an employer wanted me to use them then I would only do so in conjunction with conditional comments. Thats what I like the most that is IE proprietary, conditional comments. Scripts and stylesheets included for IE specific aspects or issues.

    If it was a standard shared by all rendering engines I’d use it. Though even if it came out before a W3C spec or other separate (from browser vendor) standards body it’s still proprietary. I would welcome it if it became supported in all browsers as I suppose the term would be an independent standard?

  26. Dao says:

    What means "HTML+TIME 2.0 is based on the HTML+SMIL language profile"?

    I just hope it’s not the same crap as MSHTML or JScript.

  27. ge1doot says:

    Greetings –

    There is still a [small] customer demand for TIME, especially in the "stationery" community šŸ˜‰



  28. Time? says:

    "I have been thinking a lot lately about the nature of Time."

    Have you?  Since we are on the topic.  How much time does it take to get out this browser? How much time has it been?  How much more time will it be?  You don’t have to waste our time to create more for yourself.

  29. mrpoopooplops says:

    This guy makes great use of html+time: http://uguru.com/ ( part of the http://99.com chat sites )

  30. mrpoopooplops says:

    Take at look at some of the great use of DHTML on those sites too. A full featured chat application which allows the creation of your own html ‘tags’.

  31. rch says:

    I suppose that among "all things rendering and display" there are many, many other issues that need attention. It’s strange why IE developer team focuses on things of minor importance but ignores the needs of the vast majority of Web developers: :before, :after and display: table-*.

  32. Sherri says:

    It would appear that IE7 is identifying the safety beta site (Windows live) as a suspicious site, and prompts me to add it to the anti phishing filter.


  33. Daniel Schierbeck says:

    The single reason HTML+TIME is bad is that it isn’t possible to separate structure and presentational behavior. If IE was to support XBL it would interesting.

  34. hAl says:

    Hmmm, is the new beta vunerable for this:


    Some serieus phishing ahead it seems !!!

  35. James A says:

    This has as much of a practical use on the Web as <layer> or document.all and in a time when the world is waking up to standards they’re not going to be using this much either. The only benefit I can see it having for MS is to allow them to sell people easy-to-use developer tools that create HTML+TIME documents in a WYSIWYG environment without the user realising what they’re really using or why it doesn’t work it other browsers (those browsers must suck, right?)

    I doubt whether a notable proportion of sites use other proprietary features like transitional effects, but at least they’re harmless in the sense that non-IE users simply jump between pages rather than seeing a funny fade. Am I not right in thinking that a page that uses HTML+Time will simply not work in non-IE browsers, just like pages that use VBS or any of the proprietary Jscript objects that are tied to Windows?

    It seems existing technologies and emerging ones like SVG already provide an adequate platform so I wonder if there’s a fear that a platform agnostic platform is going to make people realise they don’t need Windows, hence the same old trick of adding more and more proprietary features to try and keep people locked in.

    Up until now I had been quite hopeful that we were seeing a new side to MS but this has made me cautious again. As others have already said, this isn’t going to do much for your existing reputation. I just want common browsers to have adequate standards support so that the one page I make displays pretty much the same across them all and I don’t have to squander hours of my damn life each day hacking and hacking and hacking again because of your stagnant browser. And I still have years to face of IE5 and IE6 being around in high enough numbers.

    Why don’t you do something so that all the people who could be using IE6 right now but can’t be bothered to upgrade from IE5.0 do so and make my job a bit easier, instead of wasting time on new proprietary features like HTML+TIME?

  36. Peter made a post on the IE Team blog about HTML+Time. Some of the comments seem a little confused calling…

  37. Jim says:

    Unlike others here, I’m not too bothered if you want to include new standards like TIME (although I must admit it seems a bit silly with SMIL out there, and I doubt very many people will use it)

    However, are you aware of the many bugs IE7 has in core HTML rendering? I think I speak for most developers when I suggest you spend time on that first!

    see here for a good list:


  38. Bogtha says:

    Daniel hit the nail on the head:

    > The single reason HTML+TIME is bad is that it isn’t possible to separate structure and presentational behavior.

    Proprietary or not, the entire approach is screwed up.  What’s the point in the last few years of developer education and all the work you’ve done on CSS rendering to aid the separation of content from presentation, only to turn around and tie them back together again with this?

    A better way of doing declarative timed presentation of HTML is to develop this functionality as a CSS module, and hook it up to documents using existing standard CSS selectors.  None of this p dur=5 nonsense.  That looks like something out of mid-90s HTML 3.2 crud.

    A serious question:

    Do you actually have any *web developers* on the Internet Explorer team?  People who actually build websites?

    The strong impression I’ve had since Internet Explorer 5.0 days that I just can’t shake is that you have little to no input from actual web developers who actually have to use the stuff you put out.  I don’t mean random commenters on this weblog, I mean actually part of the team that can point out mistakes like HTML+TIME straight away before they get off the ground.

  39. Robert says:


    What makes you think it is just about what YOU want?

    Besides, as people have said, this isn’t a new feature at all. It goes back through three or so versions of IE.

  40. I Give up says:

    You delete a post because it contains the word "asterisks"?

  41. ieblog says:

    Why would we delete a comment because someone cannot spell? It’s right there at http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/04/07/571198.aspx#571294.


    Yes, we have current and former web developers on the team. Some people, like Chris Wilson, have been doing this since the original days of the first version of Mosaic.

    An improper assumption made by some people is that things that they don’t like or don’t use must therefore not be liked or used by everyone. That is simply not the case. Peter is asking questions about something that has been in the product for multiple versions in order to gather feedback. That’s part of what the blog is about.


    As to why we look at this sort of thing instead of implementing other CSS attributes for example, I will point out that the entire organization does not work on defining, developing, or testing CSS. IE is a lot bigger project than that. That is why you see particular people writing posts here since these people are working in different areas of the product. This isn’t a ten person team and we have lots of irons in the fire as to what we are investigating and thinking about.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  42. Bogtha says:

    > An improper assumption made by some people is that things that they don’t like or don’t use must therefore not be liked or used by everyone.

    If it was just me that didn’t like things like this, then I wouldn’t ask such questions.  But it seems that when you guys come up with extensions like this, you tend to ignore established best practice.  This isn’t one person’s opinion, the ideal of separating content from presentation is a fundamental principle of high quality web development.

  43. ieblog says:


    Except this extension is an implementation of SMIL and we came up with it about six years ago so it isn’t us ignoring the established best practice, because such didn’t exist.

    Some people here seem aware of this but not everyone: One of the ways things become standards is various groups or companies make proposals. Then they either implement their own proposals or those of others. The final form of the standard may or may not be driven by any one company’s implementation. Look at the history of HTML and CSS for many examples of this.

    If people only ever implement what is already a standard, there isn’t much room to try new things. At the time, HTML+Time was a new thing and it still has uses (and is used) for some. Peter is gathering feedback from a variety of sources. Talking about things here is just one of those. How about giving him a little slack and not using this as an opportunity to rant? We are here talking with all of you, end users, web developers, etc. for a reason.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  44. PixelSlave says:

    >> HTML+TIME looks like a cool idea, but DHTML behaviors are not part of the CSS spec.

    Yea yea. XmlHttpRequest is not part of any spec also, and you know what, if MS didn’t do it in the first place, there won’t be AJAX. DHTML+TIME su*ks, not because it’s propietary, but because no one uses it, plus SMIL is a slightly better choice (but equally useless.) No offense, but I think most people who want to sync HTML with Time ends up creating things up in Flash.

  45. codemastr says:

    "If people only ever implement what is already a standard, there isn’t much room to try new things. At the time, HTML+Time was a new thing and it still has uses (and is used) for some. Peter is gathering feedback from a variety of sources. Talking about things here is just one of those. How about giving him a little slack and not using this as an opportunity to rant? We are here talking with all of you, end users, web developers, etc. for a reason. "

    Just to begin with, I want to be clear that I know nothing about HTML+Time and even less about SMIL. I’ve been using IE since the 3.X days and I’ve never even heard of this feature.

    That being said, I agree with you entirely. Sometimes the best way to get a standard through is to force it on people – implement it, make others implement it, then suddenly it’s already a de facto standard and soon becomes official. I would not complain about that. I have no problem with MS implementing proposals rather than waiting for full standards. If I recall, people were asking for CSS3 support in IE7 which I believe is not standardized yet. So users do want stuff before it is standardized.

    However, the thing is, when you implement a proposal, then your proposal loses out as being named the standard, you implement the standard. Removing HTML+Time is stupid. You don’t remove things people rely on, and certainly not over night. If today you wanted to announce the addition of SMIL in IE7.1 and the removal of HTML+Time in IE8, I’d say fine, but arguing it should be ditching in IE7 is ridiculous – you don’t screw your users just because they used a feature that is no longer necessary.

    We do have a standard now. So why not implement it? The argument you made is strong, except if you think it means that MS is going to continue to think of HTML+Time as the standard rather than SMIL. Once your proposal loses, you implement the real standard. Feel free to keep HTML+Time for now, but also add SMIL so that we’re not constrained. If the reason Peter made this post is to guage user sentiment, then I think it’s clear people like the *idea* just not the *implementation*. So why not move to SMIL in the future? If it’s now the standard way to do this stuff, it seems logical that IE should adopt the standard.

  46. Xepol says:

    Al -> Society has already agreed that astrix ARE keeping it clean and allow for expressing an extra level of frustration, or haven’t you read comics before?  Frankly, if you are going to be narrow minded, those you most need feedback from (the truely frustrated and annoyed) will just leave and you’ll loose a valuable opportunity for Microsoft to address those issues just because of your personal feelings. This isn’t a christian faith blog.  When you delete feedback, you tell the writer you don’t value it, and by extension, them.

    Someone suggested they enjoy flash sites?  Not me, not anymore, not since the fix for the lawsuit that MS failed to defend properly.  Having to click before you can click?  Ya, that makes it easy and intuitive to use a flash menu…  Personally, I believe that sites that use flash chrome are going to moving over to something else because it is quickly becoming a pain to use.  It will become even worse when the patch that forces this click before you click is installed more widely.

    Don’t believe me?  When the company CEO who can barely use his computer goes to his own company’s website and runs into the click-before-you-click issue thanks to fancy flash chrome, there will be screaming and changes.  Instead of being "easy and intuitive" it will be seen as "weird and frustrating" by the less tech savy.

  47. cooperpx says:

    @ Xepol

    Moderators delete posts based on whatever they want. There ain’t nothing wrong with having rules and upholding them. If somebody wants to say exactly what they want to say, they can post in their own blog and link it up.

    Al does a good job of being forceful, yet polite. I have no idea how much hair he has left… but I am curious.

    As to your flash issue, If I am not mistaken your "click before you can click" issue can be resolved in a specific way that side-steps the eolas patent:

    Under "Loading Interactive Controls Externally"


  48. jace says:


    Comics are not a reflection of community decency standards, which is actually where decency standards are set.


    I appreciate your censorship very much. Please keep up the good work, with IE and with the bar of soap

  49. ieblog says:


    I hear your feedback but we are not going to change our blog policy on this. If you write swear words here and change some of the letters to try to obfuscate the word, we will still delete your comments.

    People here are, largely, adults. Adults can communicate without swearing or being vulger. This blog is run as part of our business and we are not going to allow swearing on it. Feel free to swear on your personal blog if you like but it isn’t going to be tolerate here. We’ve had this policy since the day we started this blog.


    My hair is intact actually. I’ve managed to avoid the baldness endemic in certain parts of my family (but I’m only 34). I do have a lot of grey hair on my head and beard though and most of it in the last year. Maybe there is a connection? šŸ™‚

    As to the tone of the blog, people should recall that while you are our customers and you’re coming here to see what’s up with us, to talk (or yell) at us, that we are doing this as part of our job and we represent Microsoft here. By and large, while we try to keep the tone pretty casual, we are also doing our jobs.

    If this was over on my personal blog, we could have a flamewar if we were inclined but that will never happen here. We want to talk to people and here what everyone has to say and we, generally, aren’t going to get into arguments with people and certainly aren’t going to get petty.

    Al Billings [MSFT]

  50. Bob Burke says:

    Very worthwhile, particularly in following references. Prior to this wasn’t aware of HTML + TIME. So far found the slide show workable in even my limited capability. Anxious now to proceed to video utilization.

  51. Anas Hashmi says:

    I dont believe this!  I never heard of this feature before but now that I do know, I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a greaaaaaat alternative to flash.  I know longer have to count on users having flash anymore.

    I just wished it would validate.  All those extra attributes makes it tough for validation.  

    Is there any conditional comment I can implement for HTML+TIME compatibility?

  52. Bogtha says:

    > Except this extension is an implementation of SMIL and we came up with it about six years ago so it isn’t us ignoring the established best practice, because such didn’t exist.

    This is incorrect.  The separation of content and presentation wasn’t a buzzword back then, but it was certainly an important concept recognised as best practice.

    For example, in 1998, well over six years ago, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

    "An architectural rule which the SGML community embraced is the separation of form and content. It is an essential part of Web architecture, making possible the independence of device mentioned above, and greatly aiding the processing and analysis. The addition of presentation information to HTML when it could be put into a style sheet breaks this rule."


    You should note that he’s describing existing design principles in that document, not inventing new stuff.  This was not a new idea back in 1998, it had been around a long time.

  53. Jim says:

    Here’s a perspective:

    XHTML is designed to be extended, whereas extended HTML is invalid HTML.

    Do you see the ability to augment a language with extentions such as TIME without forcing authors to produce invalid documents as a reason for IE to move towards XHTML support?

    Do the TIME people have any influence in this area? I’d have thought fewer people would have a problem with XHTML+TIME.

    Oh, and don’t forget all the core HTML rendering bugs IE7 has!

  54. I’m being serious here… what is the functional difference between HTML+TIME and SMIL?  Are they two different ways of accomplishing the same thing, or do they have different features?

    I’ve never used either, but the standards question seems to hinge on this point… which has been completely ignored!

  55. This makes about as much sense as invading Iraq! Focus on the real problems. If you made IE the most standards compliant browser with support for as much CSS (like CSS 2 or 3), JavaScript and DOM manipulation as possible and get rid of every proprietary piece in IE, you would gain the support of every developer world wide. You would also scare the pants off of FireFox. Let the developers figure out how to provide media and content and make IE a really good platform to do that in. Realize however that there are other browsers, better browsers out there. Instead of forcing people to use one browser or another (which is annoying) make them want to use IE instead.

  56. John Lord says:

    Whew! It certainly took me a lot of TIME to read this blog. The most interesting thing I got out of it was the link to Secunia (and of course adding their RSS feeds by using the easy RSS features in IE7B2). The second most interesting is the link to the bug reports.

    I valued the comments regarding standarda that stayed focused on pros/cons of standards and who makes them.

    I sympathize somewhat with the web designers, but at the same time confess I am a lousy, lame designer myself who now has the audacity to ask: "Will the time feature be easily codeable using some new version of Frontpage?"

    Before everyone slaps me – I did say I was lazy. I had to ask though. You can stop laughing now.  šŸ™‚

    Regarding TIME in a web page, the only uses I’ve ever seen that I actually NOTICED happening are download pages that say "click here if your download doesn’t begin within 10 seconds" and a cool web page with Javascript that came on my wife’s Sony Vaio. The HTML page was used as an active desktop and changed the wallpaper to one of four images based on the time of day: dawn, daylight, sunset, midnight. The changing backgrounds helped keep me aware of the passage of time while I sit at the computer.  Interestingly, the Vaio html page using Javascript to change it’s picture by time, does NOT work in FireFox, even if I enable everything. It does work just fine in all versions of IE with Javascript enabled.

    Regarding disabling Flash or Javascript: I could and I sometimes do, but not often. I disable it all if I’m surfing known-to-be-risky sites. I enable it when I go to amuse myself with the animations at http://www.illwillpress.com/

    And I’m pretty sure that everyone here knows that Javascript can identify your IP address in spite of anonymizing proxying. There’s a test to show that at http://www.stilllistener.com/checkpoint1/

    Regarding the Secunia spoof test, I had IE7’s phishing tool turned on and got no warning from it. I also have CallingID installed and it came up green showing the site as verified, but at least it was showing me that the site owner was verified as "secunia.com  Server location: Denmark;  Owner: Secunia APS, Denmark, Toldbodgade 37 B 2., KBenhavn K". While visiting the http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/ web page, I followed the "Learn SMIL with a SMIL" link and got warned by CallingID that the owner of that site was considered High Risk because "multimedia4everyone.com  Server location: United States;  Owner: Hides its identity".  Again, not a peep out of IE’s antiphishing feature – sorry getting off-topic.   I’ll hush up now.

  57. ieblog says:


    Why are you expecting the anti-phishing filter to warn you when neither secunia.com nor the w3.org are phishing sites? It only warns you when you are on a known phishing site or one that matches the fuzzy matching for one. Neither of these even remotely qualify as such.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  58. ActiveX says:

    Click to activate and use this comment

  59. PatriotB says:

    "If you … get rid of every proprietary piece in IE, you would gain the support of every developer world wide."

    Every developer? Think again.  IE’s proprietary functionality is very useful for Intranet developers, and for those who use IE components in their own applications.  Examples of the latter case, who would be broken if the proprietary stuff were removed, include InfoPath, Visual Studio’s HTML designer, etc.

  60. sure says:


    Why are you expecting the anti-phishing filter to warn you when neither secunia.com nor the w3.org are phishing sites? It only warns you when you are on a known phishing site or one that matches the fuzzy matching for one. Neither of these even remotely qualify as such.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]


    Yes works well.

  61. rei says:

    Just leave it in and deprecate it. I’m not the type to lash out at Javascript or Flash or anything, but TIME is more destructive than it is constructive. All the timed features I’ve seen so far on webpages are deceptive features.

    It would NOT be in the interest of your users to encourage using it.

    So okay, well TIME is apparently a w3 submission, so it IS a standard as much as any other proposition there is (HTTP included).

    This is more a case where the other browsers aren’t implementing the standard, not that IE IS where it shouldn’t be.

    BUT at the same time, the msdn site says that the implementation differs — quite drastically. Style elements don’t behave normally — that’s going to cause zillions of problems.

  62. Tyler says:

    I lvoe alot of the features in IE7, and I can’t wait until it becomes the most prevelant IE, so that its better CSS support can be used.

    However I must agree with that others say. This browser-specific stuff has to go. The reasons FrontPage extentions are dreaded, and the reason Javascript can never be fully relied on, are the same reasons that make me worry about this.

  63. Mike Gale says:

    I used HTML + TIME a long time ago.

    This was on an ASP site and I code it so that other browsers got static content.

    It was really good and easy to use.

    Unfortunately I found some IE installations that left out the +TIME functionality.  (Custom installations for an airline in their VIP lounges at airport.)  That really put me off.

    I think we need something that does this sort of thing.  All in the source, no fairly closed standards (like flash).

    What it is is a question, but whatever the answer it should be supported cross browser.  (The important thing is that it works (eventually) on all browsers, now if HTML + TIME, SVG + JScript and WinFX are all interoperable and on enough browsers then we’re in heaven!!)

  64. Jeremy Rand AKA Biolizard89 says:

    While I’m probably repeating what multiple people have said, I’m going to throw in my $0.02.

    Proprietary features like HTML+TIME are why Microsoft has such a bad reputation among web developers and the browser community.  It’s completely proprietary, and, even worse, has no functionality that can’t be acheived instead using W3C specs like SMIL.  I agree that a declarative syntax is better than Javascript, but implementing SMIL would be a much better step than promoting a Microsoft-only solution.  Microsoft is a member of the W3C; they helped write those specs.  They should be willing to implement them as well.

    @ugh-noyed: I’m also against public web sites using canvas and any other nonstandard feature.  However, at least canvas is going to be submitted to the W3C if I remember correctly.  The W3C also has a Working Draft of XMLHTTP.

    @Ross: No offense, but single companies (especially large monopolies like MS — not trying to pick on MS, since I like the way they’re going with IE7, but still) do not write standards.  Standards bodies like the W3C, which has representatives from the whole industry, write standards.

    Instead of dealing with proprietary languages like HTML+TIME, I think the IE team should concentrate on other stuff, like fixing CSS bugs, and adding support for XHTML, XForms, SVG, and other standards.  I realize that they’re already working on CSS especially, and I have to commend them for that.  But still, much more needs to be done to get IE to the level of standards-compliance found in Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

    Thanks for listening to my rambling.

  65. game kid says:

    Everything that Jeremy Rand AKA Biolizard89 said.  True SMIL, not crippled SLIME.

    " https://google.com/adsense/

    Yes works well. "

    That’s just because the domain name google.com doesn’t strictly match http://www.google.com as given in the security certificate; Firefox and Opera also warn of that.

    It’s not a Phishing Filter problem.

  66. rajeshd says:

    Not gonna stray into the "standards" side of the debate.

    But for "internal" applications/sites I have used HTML+TIME successfully and pretty impressively. So I would be on the side of keeping it, especially since it has been around for a quite some time now. Especially for some fairly simple animations (more than DHTML can do), I find myself reverting to it over Flash (which I don’t know) or animated gifs (which I’m no good at the artwork).

    I would like to see more support not less, e.g. some sort of designer, to work with it. In fact I would like to be able to use it more, like embed an HTML+TIME section into a page, similar to a Flash animation (maybe you can, I haven’t figured it out). Without some type of designer HTML+TIME will forever be a decreasing niche which will continue to be viewed as more and more proprietary.

  67. Ron says:

    About the https://google.com/adsense/ issue, I’m a little worried that IE7 doesn’t give any indication of the legitimacy of the certificate until you click on the padlock, in which case it says that both ‘Owner’ and ‘Location’ are unverified.


  68. Michael Ward says:

    HTML+TIME should be deprecated by MS and should be removed in a few versions time.

    If there is a demand for this type of functionality that implement something that is a standard (SVG?), or if there is no standard then get your heads together with the other big players (think WHATWG) and come up with a standard.

    Other than that, I don’t think I’ve ever used a site that takes advantage of this feature – and if I did now then I wouldn’t benefit because I largely use Safari+Camino+Firefox.

  69. cooperpx says:

    @ Al Billings

    "Why are you expecting the anti-phishing filter to warn you when neither secunia.com nor the w3.org are phishing sites?"

    Al, I’m going to wager that John Lord is an intelligent person. Nevermind what the "fishing-filter" feature is (or means to the average person). Your average joe is going to depend on it without knowing what it does under the covers.

    "If it ain’t yellow or red, it means it passed Microsoft’s blessing. Oh yeah, Green means really good, but I don’t see that often.". This is what people are going to believe whether that is [your] intention or not.

    This feature is about helping to cast more light on the "shades of grey" that is the Internet. People don’t want to think in shades of grey though. They want to be told black-or-white this is good or it isn’t.

    I’m really concerned about this feature, what it implies to your average joe, and how [smarter] people are going to abuse the system you put in place.

    I’m thinking that this will invent a brand new security market called "website definitions" that is akin to "virus definitions". Scares the pants off me, and I really really don’t want to see another Norton memory hog program forced on me.

  70. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Ron: "About the https://google.com/adsense/ issue, I’m a little worried that IE7 doesn’t give any indication of the legitimacy of the certificate until you click on the padlock, in which case it says that both ‘Owner’ and ‘Location’ are unverified."

    In the google.com/adsense case, there’s nothing wrong with the certificate, it’s just that it doesn’t match the site that is providing the certificate.  Hence, this triggers the Certificate error page.  Google can fix this problem by configuring their server to deliver the correct certificate for the page in question.

    Now, as for the "Owner unverified" text: This will be removed from later builds.  It was put in with the best of intentions, but it will be taken out for IE7 RTM.  It may reappear in later versions of IE for "standard assurance certificates", after Enhanced Validation certificates are broadly available.

    There’s an entire post about certificates and validation standards here: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/11/21/495507.aspx

  71. UnexpectedBill says:

    Hello all…

    HTML+TIME definitely sounds like interesting technology. However, like many other commenters, I just don’t think I’ve ever seen a web site use it. (How would you know? Check the source?)

    That said, I’m really *not* a big fan of web pages that make noise unless I request them to do so. When I use my computer, I’m very often listening to music in the background, usually played from an application such as iTunes or the Windows CD/Deluxe CD player. As such, the volume is set right for those things and not for web pages. That means I usually get scared into the ceiling or wonder what’s making unwelcome noise in the room. That’s why I hope IE7 will offer options to turn this off or make it ask before making noises.

    Finally, are there any plans to allow the menu bar to be placed on *top* of the toolbars, at least under Windows XP SP2? I really do hope there are…

  72. Ron says:

    Thanks for clearing that up Eric.

  73. Bogtha says:

    > In the google.com/adsense case, there’s nothing wrong with the certificate, it’s just that it doesn’t match the site that is providing the certificate.

    But that’s a major problem, especially for phishing.  Are you really saying that http://www.bank.example.com shouldn’t throw up a warning when the certificate is for http://www.attacker.example.com?  That it should show the padlock symbol telling users that everything is secure?

  74. FWIW, Firefox does show a warning when connecting to https://google.com/adsense

  75. David says:

    I’m excited at the prospect of a (somewhat) standards-compliant IE7, but I can’t imagine any reason why the IE team would spend time on unnecessary proprietary add-ons like this instead of finishing the incomplete implementation of real, current, in-demand standards like CSS or SVG.  IE is currently losing marketshare to better browsers because they are more predictable, more reliable, and more secure.  I understand that the security is being worked on, but the best way to make IE more reliable and more predictable is to stick with current standards.  Wasting precious dev time on HTML + TIME and other proprietary non-standards is a kick to the groin of the web development community.

  76. Mike says:

    If it doesn’t work on all browsers, I won’t be incorporating it into any of my designs.  

    No thanks.

  77. Lubos Motl says:

    IE7 refresh is the best browser in the world as of today, but as always, it’s not perfect.

    I still don’t like that ctrl/shift can’t be used to switch in between the locales (keyboards).

    Moreover, I open URLs using ALT/D, and it often happens to me that when I try to browse history back/forward, it skips several pages and returns me to a completely unexpected page. Is not there a bug in it?

    In tools, manage add-ons, the add-ons are no longer divided to disabled and enabled (everything is unspecified) which looks like a negative progress from the previous review.

  78. thomas plagwitz says:

    i have used HTML+Time for displaying enriched text (foreign language text with translation information, in a 2-column layout, a limited number of table rows of a datagrid at a time, equals one sentence at a time, to preserve screen real estate).

    i compared a number of technologies and liked this one best (multimedia features that are are emittable and can be easily integrated with a datagrid control). the article "Introduction to HTML+TIME" was helpful in the process. i hope to be using HTML+TIME in the future.

  79. Eric says:

    I don’t think there’s much use for HTML+TIME, I’m sure some people use it. On the general internet though, few people can use it because its not supported by most browsers. If you want to add something new to your browser regarding rendering (VML, HTML+TIME, and various extensions to standards pop out in my mind) it should be done in one of two ways (or both for that matter):

    1) Microsoft needs to evangelize their technology with other browser makers. Work on some sort of agreement with the other browser makers to add new features into each others browser as long as they meet certain quality criteria. Now I know that could be a huge loophole but I feel that if enough energy is put into this with all teams working with an open mind it could be workable.

    2) Implement non-widely supported features in controlled environments. Only turn the features on in the intranet zone or when the browser is hosted as part of another program. This allows you to get the features out in the wild and show off their usefulness but also protects the interoperability of web sites.

  80. Wow, there’s a lot of ranting going on here.  I can’t stay silent.  Granted, I’m not a web developer.  I’ve never used HTML+TIME.  I’m just a digital artist who would find it much easier to create something in Flash than deal with too much coding…but I must say that you are all correct.  I mean, seriously – what were they thinking putting in a feature such as HTML+TIME that only IE can support?  If EVERYONE can’t use it, then no one should!  

    In fact, why stop at Microsoft?  We should petition car companies to make all the cars in the world exactly the same!  Don’t have a DVD player in your car?  Well then we should get rid of all trace of DVDs and never use them again, because if we can’t all enjoy them in our car – then no one should!  

    Nevermind the fact that there may be other uses for them.  There needs to be a standard for every single little feature and if all the car companies in the world don’t comply and follow them to the letter, then we should definitely do something about that.  If one car has an in-dash DVD player with GPS, then all cars should have them.   Nevermind that it might help tame the kids in the back seat, its pointless for car companies to just assume that everyone has kids and put in features that would benefit only those that actually do.  

    Oh wait, you mean I don’t actually HAVE to use it?  Hmm…I guess I just assumed that every single option has to be used no matter what.  My bad.

  81. Jim Ley says:

    I’ve attempted to use HTML+TIME before, but the implementation is just so ropey that it’s never made it past QA, I’d say please just drop it, and push forward with a wholly new mechanism that doesn’t aim for compatibility with HTML+TIME.

    The behaviours leak, they’re too easily disabled, they cause problems for authoring tools and in CMS toolchains.

    Nice idea, bad implementation I’m afraid.

  82. COLJC says:

    Still getting the msfeeds.dll error on installation if IE7 Beta 2.

    Tried the registry fixes, but still get the error.

  83. In many ways I see myself in IE; want to add and utilize the bells and whistles all at once, making the application look all flash. However, I’ve turned to believe greatly in the «Keep it simple s…».

    Surely the guys working on IE (should at least) know that building a stable core should be priority number one, supporting standards second and then add the bells and whistles.

    That said; I’m glad they are trying to make a versatile and good browser, though working against the tide with respect to the W3C-standards hardly seem as good move.

  84. Ian Thomas says:

    I’ve never even heard of TIME before, but I have heard of SMIL (though I’ve not had a need to use if).

    If I ever do look into this sort of technology, I will not be restricting myself to IE.

  85. Juan Carlos says:

    It does not look accessible to me (and I agree with the arguments about it being proprietary).

    I have not looked at it in depth, but I don’t think it would help someone meet WAI priority 1.

    Furthermore, looking at the HTML itself, you have content there that is going to be read out (or seen) by user agents (e.g. screen readers) that do not observer CSS (or most of CSS). Hence, I think this might pose an accessibility problem. It is possible that Windows-based screen readers might be okay depending how they hook into MSAA.

    Can’t the same thing be implemented using DOM to create nodes via the SetTimeout() function instead?

  86. Boo Radley says:

    @Daniel LeFebvre (6 posts back)

    Yes, you’re not a web developer, so I’d say it’s difficult for you to have a proper perspective on the standards argument.

    In continuing your car/DVD analogy. Let’s agree that a car’s primary function is to get you from point A to point B.  What if a user got in one car and in went from A->B in a straight line, and another user got in a car and it went from A->B in a zig-zag? Do we change all the roads to accommodate the zig-zaggy cars? No, we come to an agreement of what is the primary function of a car and what is the best way to carry it out (a standard, if you will). Thus, the zig-zaggy cars stay off the road.

    It’s fine to add niceties like DVD players, A/C  and such that don’t interfere with a car’s primary function (getting from A->B), much like browsers add features like tabs, history, search, etc… which don’t interfere with their primary function of displaying web pages *correctly*.

    Web page display should be an open *universal* medium much like cars and roads, and street signs and lights are.  Everyone (mostly) knows what to do when they see a red octagonal sign here in the States. Sure, you could add an extra purple light to a street signal, but would anyone know what it means? Would anyone care?

    *All* browser platforms should strive to perform their primary function based on a set of standards. A web page with standards-compliant coding should look/perform exactly the same on one browser as another. Period.

    If you’re a browser developer that has an idea to improve the primary function, submit it to the standards body. If it’s good enough and makes sense, it will be approved and implimented in all browsers and for all users – not just the one’s driving the zig-zaggy cars šŸ˜‰

    P.S. Some ways to go with IE7, but a *huge* leap forward – keep it up!

  87. IEBlog says:

    Hello again, this is Peter Gurevich, IE PM for ClearType (among other things, as my blog posts have shown).&amp;nbsp;…

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