Hey everybody! Molly Holzschlag here. As some folks might be aware, I’ve been visiting Microsoft, refining our work goals in relation to standards, and meeting some really great people in the process. One thing that’s really got me excited is how many people from around the company reached out to me with great enthusiasm regarding product evolution in relation to Web standards and interoperability. This did come as a surprise, frankly, I was confident that the IE team is more than interested in doing the good work, but learning that other product teams around Microsoft are paying attention to your feedback and concerns and are beginning to reach out to form strategic plans makes me feel very optimistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day, of course, and there’s a lot of working to do over the coming days, weeks, years and decades. But one thing is very clear, people are interested, listening, and best of all, enthusiastic.
Here’s a synopsis of the conversations and issues we discussed, along with details as to how some of the challenges Microsoft is facing are being prioritized and addressed.
My visit began with a social get together with Pete LePage on Sunday. After enjoying a visit to downtown Seattle, we settled in over garlic fries at Gordon Biersch and began to brainstorm focus for the visit, and what we wanted to accomplish individually and together. Both of us felt strongly that we should each come up with a clear description of role, responsibilities and task priorities in detail. I spent Sunday evening sorting through the main points of our discussion and coming up with top goals.
Monday morning was spent fleshing out goals and deliverables with Pete. The afternoon found me clarifying four activity areas of my role, drawing out a general plan. Then, I mapped each activity area to delivery mechanisms and measurable results. These were reviewed by Brian Goldfarb and Pete, who provided guidance and editorial feedback.
Activity Areas and Related Actions:
Developer and designer community liaison. This focus area is a continuation of ensuring that the discussion between web developers and designers and Microsoft at large remain open. I will continue to attend and participate at events and conferences focusing on standards and interoperability concerns as they relate to all tools and browsers. A monthly resource roundup will be posted here on the IE Blog to ensure that strategic updates like this one, news of importance, articles, podcasts, screencasts and videocasts of interest to the community are published on a consistent and regular basis.
Vendor Interoperability Liaison. In this activity area I will work to achieve the following:
- Acquire and develop solid relationships for browser and related software vendors and general interoperability solutions
- Encourage more productive discussions – to quote Chris Wilson from the Browser Panel at the recent South by Southwest event, “The talking smack years are over”
- Assist with standards and long-term strategy and planning for interoperasbility concerns as they relate to other vendors and Microsoft products and services
Strategic consulting for standards implementation in Microsoft Web-related products. Priority products at this time include:
- Visual Studio / ASP.NET
- Expression line of Web design and development tools
- Additional products as I am able (Office, etc.)
Wshew, that was a big step. Now that Pete and I were able to get that formalized, the days continued into some interesting areas of actually doing some strategic planning. I met with Chris Wilson and members of his team to address developer concerns regarding feedback and bug reporting mechanisms. This is understood to be a priority concern for both developers and for Microsoft, who really do want to provide decent bug reporting so as to improve developer input on IE and other products, too.
A bit later I met with Saloni Mira Rai. Saloni is tasked (among other things) with solving problems in IE CSS support for printing. We discussed specification and implementation oddities as they currently relate to the way people use and write CSS. This was a highlight for me, as I’ve been studying how ambiguous language in specs influences browser differences. Another meeting, this time with Channel 9, gave Pete and I a lot of ideas and resources for where and how to publish and promote developer and designer resources.
Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for IE, met me for an early morning coffee Wednesday at Café 9. Dean is always energized when I see him, supportive, honest and filled with questions and great ideas. I have some video clips of our discussion, which ran the gamut from standards to security to browsers to commenting on the gorgeous morning. I’ll be publishing those soon. Late morning saw a meeting with Andrew Jewsbury, Program Manager of Expression Web. We talked about the product’s current weaknesses and strengths, and discussed creating an advisory board of external experts to assist with the direction of Expression product growth.
Here’s an exciting bit for those developers and designers who’ve been clamoring for internal training. Well, it’s going to happen. I’m working with Markus Mielke and Cyra Richardson planning internal standards and best practices on-site training events across Microsoft.
Clearly, a lot of energy, time and money is being put behind the commitment to standards and interoperability within a variety of Microsoft products. Finally, there’s but one goal, and that’s to ensure that Microsoft’s commitment to standards and interoperability as well as all people who use and work with Microsoft products will continue as a priority goal for both the short and long-term evolution of the Web.