From Microsoft TechEd 2007: Web Development Tools for Internet Explorer


The information published in this post is now out-of-date and contains links which are no longer valid.

—IEBlog Editor, 18 August 2012

The following information is from a talk I presented on web dev tools for Internet Explorer at Microsoft TechEd 2007 in Orlando. It provides an overview of lightweight, in-browser web dev tools (a couple will be separate apps). I don’t go into great detail on each tool or get into overly complex debugging scenarios. However, I hope it provides some useful tips you can use immediately, as well as give you a starting point to investigate the tools further and find even more great features.

These lightweight tools don’t provide full-featured authoring or deployment environments like Visual Studio or Expression Web, but do offer significant benefits:

  • They’re accurate:
    • Data comes directly from the browser so you see the browser’s interpretation of the site instead of your own or the tool’s
    • Data reflects current site content rather than original since script may have modified the page
  • They’re quick:
    • No round-tripping between Internet Explorer and a separate application
    • Immediately see changes
  • They can improve your skills:
    • Learn quickly because it’s easy to install, load, and then inspect any site, not just one you authored

These characteristics make it ideal for a few important web dev tasks:

  • Planning/experimentation
  • Debugging
    • Declarative content (HTML/CSS)
    • Script
  • Network traffic
  • Learning

With these tasks in mind, let’s get to the tools and demos. Some of these videos I created based on my talk and others are pointers to existing videos. Enjoy!

IE Developer Toolbar
Provides a variety of tools for quickly creating, understanding, and troubleshooting webpages.

Demos:
Planning/experimentation with the IE Developer Toolbar
CSS Debugging with the IE Developer Toolbar

IEWatch
Provides detailed information about the inner workings of webpages and tools to modify them.

Demos:
Edit CSS live (rapid prototyping) with IEWatch
Script debugging with IEWatch
HTTP Monitoring with IEWatch
HTTP Profiling with IEWatch
Other IEWatch demos

DebugBar
Provides powerful features to help you inspect the DOM, HTTP traffic, Javascript, and much more. 

Demo:
Quickly determine rendering mode with DebugBar

Visual Web Developer Express
Provides a fun, easy-to-use, easy-to-learn tool for new web Developers looking to build dynamic web applications.

Demo:
Script debugging with Visual Web Developer Express

Nikhil’s Web Development Helper
Provides a set of useful tools for AJAX/Javascript developers as well as ASP.NET and control developers.

Demo:
HTTP monitoring and better script errors with Nikhil’s Web Development Helper

Fiddler
HTTP debugging proxy for virtually any Windows application.

Demos:
HTTP Monitoring with Fiddler
HTTP Profiling with Fiddler
HTTP Debugging with Fiddler: AutoResponder and Fiddling

AjaxView
Client- or server-side proxy that instruments javascript to capture profiling data.

Demo:
JScript Profiling with AjaxView (see Cyra Richardson’s MIX07 talk for the rest of her presentation on script performance)

Developer Tools on Windows Marketplace
Even more developer tools to explore.

So that’s it! I hope these demos and tools help increase your productivity and make development more enjoyable.  Keep following the IEBlog for more posts from me about web development tools. You can expect about one post per month on tools and naturally plenty of additional posts from other members of the IE team.

Thanks for reading and for developing on IE!

John Hrvatin
Program Manager
Internet Explorer

Comments (74)

  1. Sorry, IE guys.  I see you’re making quite an effort here, but 95% of us web devs – even those of us lucky enough to be in fairly well-funded companies – are not going to shell out even a penny for proprietary, closed-source development tools, just on principle.  Not gonna happen.  It’s too bad IE just doesn’t have a lightweight, open, built-in development framework like XUL.  Even so, it’s just not worth going to the trouble of developing web tools if you’re going to charge for them.  Not worth it!  So don’t bother!

  2. Brad Pliner says:

    David, these tools appear to all be free.

  3. Brad Pliner says:

    Nevermind, some of them are free – not all of them.

  4. John Hrvatin [MSFT] says:

    Hi David,

    IEWatch has a license fee and DebugBar has a license fee for commercial use.

    The rest of the tools I demo here are free.

    Thanks.

    John

  5. Gavin says:

    The IE Developer Toolbar is fairly neat and is a very welcome addition to IE. The ideal solution would be a combination of the DOM inspection features of Developer Toolbar with a reworked Script Debugger, much like Firefox’s excellent Firebug. All the same, the current debug setup I have works wonderfully.

  6. Diego says:

    I can’t believe that after all the years of IE market domination that its dev tools are so inferior to those on Firefox. Firebug leaves all the comparable IE dev tools for dust. Truly dissapointing when having to deal with IE. Whereas on Firefox it’s more of a pleasure when working with Firebug. I am no touting Firefox, simply voicing my dissapointment that after all this time there’s nothing better.

  7. Hello Mr Hrvatin,

    Is there a true (built-in or standalone) SGML validator in any of those tools? A true SMGL validator which would report markup errors like the W3C validator would?

    Is there a CSS 2.1 validator in any of those tools? A true CSS validator (built-in or standalone) which would report parsing errors occuring in a webpage?

    How about building a tool like "A Real validator"

    ( http://arealvalidator.com/ )

    which comes with a complete documentation, helpful examples, good explanations, capable of validating many local webpages at the same time?

    Do you have W3C Tidy

    ( http://tidy.sourceforge.net/ )

    built-in (or as a standalone with an UI) in any of those tools? W3C Tidy is not a true validator but it can fix a lot of malformed markup code (misnested elements, non-quoted attributes, missing closing tags, etc), pretty print code, etc. W3C Tidy is a good clean up tool to first fix a lot of very badly coded webpages. W3C Tidy is highly configurable and has settings targeting markup code produced by weak, bad authoring tools of the past.

    E.g. Tidy can strip Microsoft specific HTML from Word 2000 documents or FrontPage, Tidy can strip out surplus presentational tags and attributes replacing them by style rules and structural markup as appropriate. It works well on the HTML saved by Microsoft Office products like FrontPage. Tidy can strip out proprietary and non-standard attributes.

    If you are talking about basic and true debugging of declarative content (HTML and CSS), then it *_has to start with_* true validation tools using and complying with W3C web standards.

    The tools you promote should serve the web authors in trying to serve their website visitors regardless of the web browsers (like Opera 9+, Safari 3, Firefox 2+, etc) they use. The tools you promote should serve as a *solution* on the web and for the web, not as a *problem* on the web and for the web.

    Best regards,

    Gérard Talbot

  8. Jacob S says:

    Was there an announcement of when the public bug tracking for IE would return at TechEd 2007

    It seems odd that nothing was mentioned in this post, when it is the #1 concern of every developer that reads this blog!

    tx

    jacs

  9. warren says:

    "Thanks for reading and for developing on IE!"

    Huh?! is this a joke?

    Yeah, we read it, and we are glad there are some good links/free tools out there.. but "for developing on IE".. you’re joking right?

    We **TEST** on IE, no one with deadlines **DEVELOPS** on IE, that would be counter productive!

    We want the debug tools, the inspectors, CSS helpers… to find out why IE isn’t rendering content like it does in all the standards based browsers like Firefox, Safari, Konqueror, Opera etc.

    Developing for a non-IE browser is a piece of cake!  It trying to track down those strange bugs in IE (in v7, in v6, in v5.5, in v5) that we want the tools for.

    Ask any non-VB, and even a fair number of .Net developers what browser they develop in.  The answer is not IE*.

    (*excluding those building thick applications using the IE web browser control)

    Warren

  10. Sick of repeated stupidity of developers says:

    Why do developers keep harping on about only developig in Firefox?!?!?  Regardless of what you /prefer/ or what’s easiest, you’re an idiot if you don’t primarily target the ACTUAL browser the VAST majority of people use.  Anyone who doesn’t design that way is causing themselves headaches.

    Yes it would be nice to do one design confident it will ‘just work’ on everything.  But no software does that.  Go ask some java developers who cross platform java really is and how much fudging they need to do.

    Web developers are whiney asses with more regard for making their life easier than actually working in reality.

  11. proxy says:

    Has anyone noticed that in Vista x64 attempting to load a XPS document from a webpage with protected mode on will cause a loop that doesn’t stop until you can close the offending window?

  12. > Regardless of what you /prefer/ or

    > what’s easiest, you’re an idiot if you

    > don’t primarily target the ACTUAL

    > browser the VAST majority of people

    > use.

    Developing webpages with MSIE 6 in mind as the main target/focus of development is

    - no longer making sense from a financial budget perspective, (return on investment)

    - not a real solution for the web developer and (not recommendable) for the website visitors, is not a recommendable goal when there are lots of other browsers that are

    * free,

    * cross-platform,

    * less buggy,

    * more secure,

    * with better features,

    * more accessible, more UAAG 1.0 compliant,

    * more usable, user-friendly,

    * more capable (extensible) in all sorts of ways/dimensions (eg SVG, MathML, debugging,) etc.

    Even MSIE 7 is better, slightly better (not perfect!) than MSIE 6 from a web standards perspective and it’s downloadable from Microsoft’s windows update!

    > Yes it would be nice to do one

    > design confident it will ‘just work’

    > on everything. But no software does

    > that.

    I can create many webpage designs (css layout) and I am confident that those will work as expected in/with Firefox 2, Opera 9, Safari 3, Konqueror 3.5 and Icab 3. Most of the time, those webpage designs will not work/render as expected, as coded in MSIE 6 and/or will not work/render well or as coded in MSIE 7. Who is to be blamed for this? Who?

    The nr 1 problem on the web is with Microsoft and its browser and its WYSIWYG HTML edition tools that have been used during so many years or years ago or that are still being used by amateur web authors.

    One day, Microsoft will have to get truly, intensively involved into educating, tech-evangelizing its customers and providing them with ATAG 1.0 compliant tools and good, useful, helpful validation (markup and CSS) tools.

    People have to upgrade one day. The web users people have to upgrade their browser. The web authors have to upgrade their general coding practices. And the Microsoft browser manufacturer/vendor have to correct/fix/upgrade their browser (rendering engine) and related tools on a regular basis and much faster so that amateur web authors do not get accustomed to IE buggy rendering.

    Gérard Talbot

  13. JFR says:

    Hi,

    To answer Gerard Talbot comment, the DebugBar has W3C Tidy integrated in it.

    Regards.

    JFR

  14. DebugBar, "the most advanced web development tool" is not free (its 59 Euros), but free to try for 30 days (FAQ says 30) and elsewhere (register page) says 60 days. Oh wait, for private usage (school, home), it is free.

    DebugBar webpages (main entrance page, download page, afterinstall page, searchweb page, register page, faq page, etc.,etc) do not use a doctype declaration at all (so this will trigger MSIE 6 and MSIE 7 in backward-compatible rendering mode, also known as quirks mode and "bugward" mode).

    DebugBar webpages have each 20-30 validation markup errors… and that is when choosing a transitional DTD. DebugBar uses table design and nested tables to layout its webpages: every single webpages, all of them.

    Microsoft, I would have certainly expected "the most advanced development tool" to be ATAG 1.0 compliant and it definitely can NOT be the case here.

    DebugBar webpages overconstrained all its tables and table cells: idem est, align, valign, width and height over-declared, over-defining tables, rows, cells and horizontal formating. This is widely recognized as a very bad, old and deprecated technique which usually fails in different browsers, even in different versions of the same browser.

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/data/cs.css" type="text/css">

    is even inserted outside the head section (line 91 in faq page).

    DebugBar webpages close some elements by minimizing the XHTML way (eg <br />). DebugBar webpages all use frequently, several times per page, spacer.gif coding techniques:

    <img src="/picts/pix.gif" height="1" width="1" border="0">

    DebugBar uses/relies on CSE HTML validator which we all know is not a true SGML parser.

    It’s unbelievably miserable. Microsoft fails and fails repeatedly because Microsoft either does not listen or does not understand web standards or just does not care about web standards.

    Gérard Talbot

    Why Microsoft creates an IE blog that very often, regularly have well over 500 validation markup errors? Why Microsoft can not create an IE blog that uses true validation tools and good, sound, recommendable development tools?

  15. Hans says:

    If you don’t want to pay for software you also give away all your software?

    So you will work for me for free?

    If you have a real company you don’t care about 50 dollars for a good tool.. 50 dollars is 30 minutes work…

    Stupid Firefox Fundamentalist…

  16. In questo post John Irvatin ha riassunto i plugin pi&ugrave; famosi per il debug su IE: IE Developer Toolbar IE Watch Debug Bar Visual Web Developer Express Nikhil’s Web Development Express Fiddler Ajax View I commenti nel post sono ovviamente molto

  17. JFR says:

    Hi again,

    @Gérard Talbot

    DebugBar is not a microsoft tool at all.

    DebugBar is developped and maintaned by a single developer (myself…) who is focused on trying to develop an ie tool for web developers (far as good as firebug yet, but I am working on it).

    The web site is not my priority so far and I am not a webmaster. That is why it is crappy…

    I am freelance, and I get 99% of my revenue doing services for other companies.

    When I get time I work on the DebugBar. Trying to get revenue from the DebugBar would give me more time to work on it, but it is not the case so far.

    About the CSE HTML validator, it is a user request, so I added it with Tidy.

    JFR

  18. tools at what price says:

    I’m not going to moan about the price of the various tools (although if I was to, it would be warrented), but what I’d like to point out, is a flaw in IE, that hasn’t been fixed in IE7.

    I checked out the sites for each of the tools, but when I got to the "Web Development Helper" page, I got this security bar warning:

    http://img150.imageshack.us/my.php?image=iesecuritywarningmw1.png

    Now, I’m a techy person, but even I have no clue what an "owssupp.dll" is, and the fact that ‘Microsoft Corporation’ is in quotes, makes me doubt the legitimacy of the vendor.

    Why can’t this bar be more meaningful.  the 3 options I get are:

    1.) Run it! (fingers crossed)

    2.) General warning that if I don’t know what it is, it might do something I don’t want.

    3.) More information… which doesn’t give me *ANY* more information about this file, it just  tells me the same stuff that is in option 2.

    Where is the only option that is needed beyond 1?

    "What is [filename.ext]?"

    Which would tell me that it is a "flash multimedia viewer" or "Zune song transfer tool" etc.

    At this point on the page, (a) I believe I’m missing something, hence the warning, and (b) I have no clue what it is, whether I need it or not, and I still have no idea if it is safe, that it can be trusted, or if it is just a virus/Trojan horse just waiting to get me!

    PS IEWatch looks like a pretty good tool.. too bad it isn’t free.

  19. M. Moss says:

    I have to say, its nice to see microsoft is finally showing at least some effort to help the web development community. Though, not all of these tools are free, and most require an install, and not one of them can do all of the things FireBug can do (which is free).

    @Sick of repeated stupidity of developers

    Yes, how dare we developers complain and try to hold microsoft to all of the other major browser vendors. You look at opera, firefox, and safari, they all have better developer tools than microsoft has. People are just sick of having to spend hours debugging in IE, when in the other browsers its a piece of cake. Can you really blame  people for getting fed up with IE?

  20. S|ic3_x says:

    Anyone know of a good free live CSS editor for IE?

    CSS Vista (http://sitevista.com/cssvista/) looks promising but doesn’t work with sites that require authentication.

  21. JFR says:

    Hi S|ic3_x

    We plan to add a css live editor on the next DebugBar release (that is v4.2 or 5.0 depending on the numbering…).

    The final version 4.1 should be launched soon.

    So ,we plan to work in the next release soon with beta versions available perhaps during summer.

    JFR

  22. Ron says:

    I thought you were a one-man team JFR…?

  23. JFR says:

    I used to present myself as a company (Customers feel more comfortable if there is a "company" more than a freelance even if they know I am alone. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know). Need to change my habit…

  24. OMG Is this true?!?!?!?!?!?!!? says:

    http://bink.nu/Article10331.bink

    Bink is reporting (although without extensive credibility) that IE8 is due to start getting exposed to developers THIS FALL!

    Is this true?!  If so, how come this blog hasn’t discussed one word of this.  Where is the feature list, and bug fix list?

    and as always..

    WHERE IS THE GOSH DARN PUBLIC FEEDBACK SITE!!!!!

    Without our input on the bugs you haven’t found, how on earth are you going to be able to fix them by RTM for IE8!!!!

    Please tell me that this is a PR blunder.. and someone has "suggested" a date without any confirmation!

  25. david says:

    Looking for updates on when the feedback/bug tracking site will be available.

    Since many of us are building web based applications, it is common to comment files with:

    /*

     Using the hack below to overcome the name attribute bug #1234567 in IE6/IE7:

     http://www.public.ie.bugtracking.com?q=1234567

    */

    Unfortunately, there are no bug numbers to refer to, and even worse, there is no bug tracking site to link to, that the next developer can use to search!

    Developers, Developers, Developers….. we don’t seem to care about you any more?

    david

  26. steve_web says:

    @david I know exactly how you feel.  I did have a collection of url’s pointing at bugs in the IE Feedback site, but now they are useless, since the site is down.

    So now, when a developer tries to create an input field named "347_phone" and "327_email", (where the ‘347’ was some customer/user identifier) and things go all to h*ll when they try and access them via JavaScript, they have no resource to turn to.

    How is the developer supposed to understand the extent of the bug? (*) What are the workarounds? (none) Which versions of IE suffer from this? (all) Which version of IE is the fix for this targeted for? (unknown) Which versions of IE will get a backport of this fix? (unknown/unlikely) etc.

    * Extent of the bug (for those unaware)

    If you attempt to access a form field in the elements collection by the fieldname, and the field’s name, is prefixed with a number, which is greater than the length of the form, it will NOT WORK.

    One can only presume that this is due to an attempt to find the elements by Index, before by Name, but the "Index" search is running a "overly forgiving" parseInt function on the value first.

    Test case:

    <form name="test">

     <input type="text" name="4_Contact" value="Hello World"/>

     <input type="button" value="Test It" onclick="alert(this.form.elements[‘4_Contact’].value);"/>

    </form>

    Anyway, back on discussion.. yes, Microsoft, please indicate when the bug tracking (public) will be back online.. its been like 8 months now that it has been down.  I’ve heard of re-tooling, and re-deploying a new system that takes a week or two, but this is giving "uncommitted" a whole new definition, we haven’t even got word of when the system will be back up, why it has been down for so long, or what new features the new system will support to make our lives easier.

    thanks

    steve

  27. steve_web says:

    Blog quote: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:52 PM

    "…we have already started work on the next versions of Internet Explorer.  We’ll post more here soon about our plans for the product and our plans for listening to you."

    Author:

    "Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager"

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/10/18/internet-explorer-7-for-windows-xp-available-now.aspx

    So, 8 months in to IE7…

    We have?..

    Zero – posts about bugs being fixed in IE8**

    Zero – posts about features being added in IE8

    Zero – posts about reviving the bug tracking that was shut down

    Zero – posts about how "Microsoft is planning to Listen to us"

    Zero – posts on a release date for IE8

    Zero – posts on an alpha/beta program for IE8

    Zero – posts on OS support for IE8

    Zero – posts on "Safari’s claim of fastest browser"… not even a rebuttal

    ** excluding critical security updates

    I could be wrong, but I do have to say, that it looks like the "soon", "plans", "listening" and keeping us in the loop idea kind of vanished.

    Is there a "News Flash" on these things coming soon?

  28. Martin T says:

    The html stanrdard states that

    "ID and NAME tokens must begin with a letter ([A-Za-z]) and may be followed by any number of letters, digits ([0-9]), hyphens ("-"), underscores ("_"), colons (":"), and periods (".")."

    Se http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-cdata

  29. fr says:

    Indeed it seems after the positive steps towards communicating with users and developers for IE7 MS have reverted to entirely closed development which does not help anyone and could make IE8 the least popular IE so far!

    Meanwhile the new Safari has had two updates since it’s beta release, Firefox 3 is progressing well, and Opera have started giving details of 9.5.

  30. david says:

    @Steve_web

    Thanks, glad I’m not the only one!

    I see a few posts in here about the feedback site, is there a chance this will open soon? I hope it is ready well before IE8 comes out, and stays open permanently.

    @fr

    Exactly! The other browsers seem to be updating and fixing stuff all the time.  it is too bad that Microsoft can’t keep up with them.

  31. Will says:

    @fr: Yup, Safari has issued two updates so far because they’ve got a comical idea of security that seems to involve not even testing their code against the most rudimentary of attacks.  

    I suppose IE could just stop testing their product and let YOU test it for them– then they could be "responsive" and fix the bugs you find.

    As for the claim that Safari is the fastest browser… look closer at what test suite they used and try it yourself.  You’ll see the claim that they are the "World’s Fastest Browser" has a lot in common with SteveJ’s other absurd claims… He belongs to the marketing school of "claim any old thing, and by the time that people figure out we’re lying, we’re already working on the next product."  

    If Microsoft bothered to respond to such a stupid claim, they’d only be giving more ink to this twerp.

  32. Michelle says:

    Protonotes is a cool Microsoft HTA that allows teams to annotate their prototypes for requirements collaboration. http://www.protonotes.com/

  33. Josh Stodola says:

    I hate IE7.  Every time I click on one of my subscribed RSS feeds it freezes.  If I try to navigate to another page, it does nothing.  If I click the red X it does nothing.  I HATE IT.  I literally have to kill the process to move on.  My favorites disappear at random, and often times clicking the "favorites center" button doesnt do anything!  It just sites there no matter how many times I click it.  I have to right click on it, and then left click again to get it to behave correctly.  Whoever built this piece of crap browser should be burning in hell right now for causing to much grief to millions of people.

    And now I hear you are coming out with another version.  How fricken retarded can you guys be?!  This is HARDLY stable, even today it has crashed on me well over 5 times (I lost about a 700 word comment on my buddies blog thanks to you pricks).

    The sad part, I have been an IE fan, user, and enthusiast all my life, and now I’m afraid I have to learn a new browser just to be able to enjoy the internet again.  This is ridiculous.  If one of you IE developers has something to say to me, I am all ears josh420 [at] josh420.com

    Lets hear it.

  34. Brian LePore says:

    In regards to Safari’s "fastest browser" claim, while true that it does have a really fast start up time, for page load time its claim of fastest time cannot be accurately tested because of a faulty implementation of the Date object and because it does not fire the onload event at the same time as every other browser does. I suspect that it is closer to firing on DOMContentLoaded, but it may actually be some time between DOMContentLoaded and onload.

    Source: http://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2007/06/safari_30_rerev.html

  35. ash says:

    @steve_web

    Why do you have to keep spouting the same crap over and over again?  

    You have been told why there will not be feedback site.  Live with it.

  36. Markus [MSFT] says:

    @Josh

    One thing you can try is to check if you have any mis-behaving add-ons installed. Disable each of them one by one and see if you encounter less crashes etc.

    – Markus

  37. steve_web says:

    @ash

    Hold on here…. I don’t think that "crap" is the appropriate term.

    More importantly, of the tens of thousands of developers out there that develop for the Web/IE, I don’t know any that don’t want a public bug tracking site.

    Now, Martin T. pointed out, that according to the spec, names prefixed with a number, are not valid for form elements.  I appreciate the info, as I wasn’t aware of this.  I would comment though, that I would think that although not required by spec to be possible, that I wouldn’t code the application to not handle such a match.

    Back on your comment though,… so what are your thoughts?

    Do you not think that developers should have an accurate, up to date source for information about developing in IE?

    Do you not think that IE could be a better browser, if bug-reporting was built right in? (see Apple’s Safari on Windows… for the super-easy bug reporting that I think all browsers could benefit from).

    Do you not think that it would be nice if MS acknowledged some of the bugs that are driving developers/users nuts?

    Do you think that developers would benefit from advanced knowledge of upcoming releases? what is targeted for each? or even a road map of what is being developed in each, being deprecated in each, and what bugs are fixed?

    Do you think that developers have a right to know when MS plans to make their next release publicly available?

    You can complain all you want about my comments on this blog, but I can assure you that I’m not alone in my views, I’m just one of the developers that hasn’t completely given up yet, and actually thinks (naive as it may be), that there actually are some developers in the MSIE team that truly care about the developer community, and that are not willing to sit on their laurels of market dominance, and want to help make IE be the browser worthy of its market share?

    FTR, I’m more than willing to be an active participant in such a bug/issue tracking process, to weed out lame/inaccurate reports, provide simplified test cases, etc.

    What bugs us the most, is the silent arrogance.

    If you have no intentions of ever re-opening the much needed public bug tracking, then be transparent about it.  Post on this blog that it isn’t going to happen.  ATM, I still have faith that MS is planning to do the right thing, they just haven’t announced their plans, as they are still trying to determine their commitment to the community.

    If you have opinions about the lack of a feedback/bug tracking site, make your voice heard, add a comment to this blog, don’t just try and corner me as a nay-sayer…

  38. Steve Moore says:

    @Josh,

    I’m not sure what is going on with your installation, but I have been using IE7 on numerous computers – both on XP and Vista – and have never experienced any issues whatsoever – let alone the ones you describe.

    I can only assume it is something to so with your computer specifically… which doesn’t IE7 a ‘crap browser’.

  39. steve_web:

    I think you raise some fair questions.

    We haven’t said anything about the next version of IE because I think you’re right that people deserve an accurate source for information about IE. We could post our current thinking about features we’d do, bugs we’d fix, or dates on which we’d release. However, when we do this, we want to confident that the information will be accurate and something we can commit to. We’ve heard loud and clear from the community that vaporware and FUD aren’t welcome.

    I know many would prefer an ongoing stream of information with retractions, corrections, and so on, but we also realize that when we announce something here, people make plans — companies decide whether to deploy now or wait, developers decide what features to add, and so on. When we change our plans, we confuse people and undermine confidence. I think we’d all agree that Microsoft has not done always done a great job building what we said, when we said. We’re trying to change that.

    As far as public bug submissions and tracking, I agree that Safari’s bug submission feature is nice and would love the same for IE. However, this kind of thing only helps if we can process and respond to all the bugs. I think you’d agree that it would be disingenuous of us to add the feature and then ignore the bugs. When we opened the public database for the IE7 beta, we were flooded. While there were great bugs reported, the signal-to-noise was low; we had trouble scaling to all the bugs. We’re still working on ways to get feedback in scalable ways.

    So, I’m sorry if our silence on certain topics is coming off as arrogance. We are working on the issues you’re concerned about and want to make sure we have an answer we can stand behind when we give it.

    -Tony (Group Program Manager of IE)

  40. Neil says:

    @Tony Chor [MSFT]

    Your candid response is appreciated.  I think I have a temporary solution.

    At the moment, the biggest problem is not that we have found the bugs, or even whether or not they are being worked on.

    The problem is, we have no idea, which bugs MS has officially acknowledged.

    If you could publish a list of known bugs, that MS is tracking for IE7 (you can leave out security hole items), then we can at least compare against the list of known issues.

    This would at least keep the clutter on this blog and the various newsgroups down, because we wouldn’t bother you with duplicates, and only announce new bugs found here.

    Currently, we have no idea if MS is aware of the bug where "yada yada yada happens when you click yada yada yada".  This frustrates us immensely, because we have to presume that you have no knowledge of it at all, which in turn makes us feel like there is no commitment to fixing any of them.

    Neil

  41. shawn says:

    @tony chor, so, can you please post on this blog where things stand?  There is alot of confusion as to what is going on in IE8 and stuff.

    I think mostly we are happy with IE7 it was a great improvement over IE6 and IE8 will likely be even better.

    You are right though.  We are tired of the FUD, and the vaporware (which IE8 is at the moment, because there IS NO INFORMATION about it anywhere, other than it will happen, someday)

    We don’t expect you to have an open-to-every-member-of-the-public bug tracking system, but for those developers that have the details on real issues, and want to submit bug reports, for the betterment of IE.. there should be a GREAT BIG "ENTER YOUR BUGS HERE" sign, so that you can get the reports ASAP!!!

    """We’re still working on ways to get feedback in scalable ways""" – Tony Chor

    Alright, put the cards on the table! Post on this blog, the options that you are thinking of, with a disclaimer that the IE team will make their own decision on the final result, but if you post something, then we can give you ideas too, things you may not have thought about, developers that would gladly participate as moderators, first pass bug verifiers, etc.

    Better yet, make the options into a Poll.  Ask the readers here what they would like most….

    "Based on the suggestions so far, here are a few of the ideas we’ve had.  Vote for your favorite:"

    1.) Simple Bug Tracking, moderated by the community (moderators chosen by MS)

    2.) Email Bug Submission, with updates sent, whenever changes/progress on the bug occurs. Bugs listed (readonly) on an MS Site, with the option for other users to opt-in, to get the email updates.

    3.) Restricted Bug Submission.  Developers wishing to join, must pass a rudimentary test of web development skills. (to avoid the "IE sux! buy Firefox and replace IE" comments)

    4.) Readonly access to published bug reports (as Neil suggested)

    5.) Search only access.  User searches for "DOM copy of radio button loses checked state", returns bugs matching the keywords.  Users won’t be able to see all bugs, but at least they can see if MS is already tracking the one that they just found.

    6.) ???

    Sub Options (multi)

    a.) Bugs Only.  No Feature Requests (at this time)

    b.) Email Alerts

    c.) RSS feeds

    d.) ????

  42. ash says:

    @steve_web

    "Hold on here…. I don’t think that "crap" is the appropriate term."

    Not unreasonable given that your ‘bug’ (which as I recall has been posted more than once) turned out to be exactly that.

    "Do you not think that developers should have an accurate, up to date source for information about developing in IE?"

    Yes, it’s called MSDN.

    "Do you not think that IE could be a better browser, if bug-reporting was built right in?"

    Seriously, is there any outstanding bug you know of that that cannot be worked around?  All the bugs I’ve seen posted from you are insignificant.

    To answer your question: in all my development years I can only recall going to an MS bug database once (for a visual studio issue).  The rest of the time I’ve been able to find solutions for issues elsewhere such as the MSDN knowledge base.  I imagine MS has an internal bug list, which is good enough for me.

    The problem with a public bug tracking system is that are enough people out there who want to see IE die and will actively find ways to abuse the system.  As I’ve said before, if you want it so much create your own.  There’s plenty of free blogging out there (MSN Spaces for one), just advertise it here and allow trusted individuals to add to it.

    "Do you not think that it would be nice if MS acknowledged some of the bugs that are driving developers/users nuts?"

    Given I don’t develop for other browsers, no.  (Hint: there are no bugs in IE that drive me nuts).  BTW, can you name a bug that is driving developers nuts that MS has not acknowledged?

    "Do you think that developers have a right to know when MS plans to make their next release publicly available?"

    These days MS is one of the most open tech companies around (a big change from the past).  So why are they more closed with IE?  I don’t think it has anything to do with arrogance but more to do with being stuck in a difficult place.  

    Backwards compatibility.  The IE code base was built a long long time ago (before any of the modern browsers).  This code was constructed at a time when standards were in their infancy.  Because netscape was crap, MS won the browser battle and became the dominant browser.  Each release of IE had to maintain compatibility with the previous.  This is no different today.  MS has a dificult problem: a code base that may indeed be incompatible with modern web standards, and the need to keep backwards combatibility.  In essence; the only way for IE to be standards compliant is to break backwards compatibility, and therefore you effectively have two MS browsers developers have to target.  That would go down really well huh Steve…  How would *you* solve this problem?  

  43. Martin T says:

    "Given I don’t develop for other browsers, no.  (Hint: there are no bugs in IE that drive me nuts).  BTW, can you name a bug that is driving developers nuts that MS has not acknowledged?"

    Easy but how are we supossed to know which bugs ms have acknowledget when we don’t have read access to the list of acknowledged bugs? (Remember: ms removed the website that did contain that list, I still hope they will restore read access, and maybe even update it themself)

    But the real reason there are all theese problems with ie, is that ms after releasing ie6, stopped all development except security fixes for sereval years.

  44. steve_web says:

    @ash

    Piece by piece…

    Yes, the bug I found, has hit many a developer trying to increment a set of fields.  I apologized when I was informed that my scenario was contra-to spec., and yes, there is a workaround. but it still isn’t "crap", the implementation to find the elements in the collection could still use some work.

    Ok, outstanding bug that can’t be worked around?

    sure.  Open a popup, with no location bar to ensure the user has no access to the URL to modify or go back/forward.

    You can do it, but a quick [F11] or [ALT]+[Enter] will do a full screen, and once more to restore, and presto! user now has the address bar. – No known workaround.

    Also, I have yet to get "confirmation" from an MSIE team member that this is in fact a bug.

    I see you don’t develop for other browsers.  This does clarify your vantage point, as I’m in the opposite group.  The group that has to support major browsers, which also includes IE.  I don’t have gripes with the other browsers, because I KNOW what the status of any bugs I need to track are, and I even know when they get fixed, and which version they will ship on.

    Backwards compatibility is a big issue.  I don’t envy the IE teams position on this at all, but there are some things that I think can be fixed, without causing backwards compat. issues.

    E.g. I’d like to the the button element fixed, such that if a value attribute is present, that is what gets submitted on the form.  This doesn’t break anything, because the current (broken) implementation sends the .innerHTML, which would still work if the above fix was made.  Heck, I’d even support a:

    <!– follow-spec:true  –> tag at the top of a page, that if IE sees, it would not do any back compat stuff. then we would see HUGE improvements in code.

    There’s already a ton of hacks in the IE markup to get IE to behave… I would have no objection, to there being an IE specific hack, to turn on browser spec compatibility.

    But alas, you point out one of the main issues.  Developers that coded applications/sites, on known non-spec implementations, knew that one day they may have to fix their code.  If IE fixes something (like they did in IE7), then yeah, we developers need to adjust our code to suit.  Life sucks, but software isn’t static, its a moving target.

    What bugs me most, is that every time I want to float an element, I have to generate code to slip an iframe underneath it, because some of my end users are still on IE6.  I will be over the moon with joy the day I can deprecate IE6 code, and present a page to users that indicates they either need to upgrade IE, or use another browser.

    Martin has it right.. the trick is we have no idea what MS is tracking.  MSDN is approx 5+ years out of date on most topics… and the newsgroups just don’t seem to get any attention, and there is no easy FAQ to search for existing, known, tracked, issues.

    Tony himself has indicated that something needs to be done, and something is in the works.  We don’t know what yet, but we look forward to seeing it, whatever it may be.

    thanks.

  45. Josh Stodola says:

    OK guys….

    I have taken the time to do some serious experimentation with all of the IE add-ons.  Now I am to the point where all add-ons have been disabled.  I still have the exact same problems listed above on 3 different machines (and 3 different operating systems, might I add).  The issues are not consistent, but they happen to me at least once a day.  Maybe if I am a little more detailed you developers can actually SPEAK UP.

    ISSUE #1

    ———–

    Right when you open up IE, if you *immediately* click the favorites center icon, there is a good chance it locks up.  I dont mean (Not Responding) in the window bar, I mean that left clicking the icon does nothing.  The button doesnt "press" down or anything.  You literally have to right click and then left click it again to get it working again.  This is a problem with the software’s mouse event handlers that could have easily been detected with some real-life testing, so fix it you noobs.

    ISSUE #2

    ———–

    I click an RSS feed and I get a blank white page and I can’t do anything.  Clicking another RSS feed or favorite does nothing.  Even going to the address bar and typing google.com and pressing enter does nothing.  Several seconds pass, and all of a sudden IE comes to life, the RSS output flashes and then IE goes to Google.  I thought this might have something to do with the consumption of the RSS feed itself.  But, of course it doesn’t.  I re-created the problem today; I got the nice blank white screen after clicking an RSS feed.  I right clicked, View Source and there is this particular feeds *entire* RSS markup from start to finish.  So, the RSS feed is there, it is being consumed properly, but I see a blank white screen.  So what is the culprit then?  You guessed it, the IE rss reader.  Nice software, noobs.

    ISSUE #3

    ———–

    Clicking the red X (be it the IE window’s red X or the X used to close a certain tab) will, at times, cause IE7 to freeze.  Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for a few minutes.  What the hell is it doing… logging this particular session’s entire traffic history and shipping my info to Microsoft?!  Whatever it’s doing, when I look at the process in task manager it is taking up about 175MB of RAM, which is ABSURD.

    OK, there are the details, I have invested hours into testing and messing around with IE to come to this conclusion, and now I want a response from an IE developer.  Tell me what caused the issues noted above.  I am not "out to get you", I really want to get to the bottom of this so I can continue using the browser I am most comfortable with.  I also have a few more issues I have run into, but they are less significant and don’t happen nearly as often, so I’m not overly concerned about them at this point.

    Please contact me if you have any pointers, or if you just wanna discuss the problems I am having.  My email address is josh420 [at] josh420.com

    Thanks…?

  46. steve_web says:

    @Josh Stodola:

    #1) I tried to duplicate the Favorites issue… but on my environment, IE completely loads before I can click on the favorites icon, thus I don’t get any issues.

    #2) Are there any specific RSS feeds that you have noted this with? (this will help people test)… as it might be a mal-formed feed.

    #3) I haven’t noted exactly what you are seeing, but I have noted with 10+ tabs open, especially if any contain flash/activeX widgets… that the entire browser lags on certain actions (including closing a tab/window)

    Related to this, what sites do you normally have open? As they may have an "onunload" script attached, that is taking an extraordinary time to execute.

    cheers,

    steve

  47. Michael says:

    I’m more curious as to whether or not he’s disabled add-ons manually (that means he may have missed some), or if he’s testing in the "No add-ons" that can be launched from the Start menu. #2 sounds a lot like something I experienced during the betas, where an XForm plug-in caused RSS feeds to show a blank page.

  48. ash says:

    @steve_web

    "the implementation to find the elements in the collection could still use some work"

    how precisely?  

    "sure.  Open a popup, with no location bar to ensure the user has no access to the URL to modify or go back/forward."

    The mind boggles.  I thought attempts to thwart the user’s control in browsers died out five years ago.  Obviously not.  Modal dialog my friend.  Again Steve, this is hardly a showstopping ‘bug’.

    "but there are some things that I think can be fixed, without causing backwards compat. issues."

    You don’t know the code so this statement is false.  But please, enlighten me.

    "I would have no objection, to there being an IE specific hack, to turn on browser spec compatibility"

    You may not have an objection, but what about the devs who now have to code two implementations?  They will probably continue to code to support down-level browser experience, and the directive will be ignored.  My guess is that MS will provide a more gradual deprecation of features that do not meet a current standard.

    "Developers that coded applications/sites, on known non-spec implementations,"

    This really grates me.  History!  back then, no-one cared about standards.  Even with MS’s full CSS implementation, 90% of the worlds web sites had menu texts coded with little gifs.  People forget.

    "What bugs me most, is that every time I want to float an element"

    When i want to float an element, I use an absolutely positioned div, even in IE 5.5.  But maybe i’m out of touch with the latest trend.

    "the trick is we have no idea what MS is tracking"

    I still unclear how this will help with your current issues.

    Regards

  49. ash says:

    @Josh

    "I am not ‘out to get you’"

    Then don’t diss the software.  It will not be IE, as this doesn’t occur for the majority of users.  Therefore, it’s something to do with the state of your machine, not IE.

  50. Josh Stodola says:

    @Ash

    You are wrong.  I have already mentioned I have these problems on 3 different machines all with different operations systems, so please read what I have said before opening your BIG mouth.

    @steve_web

    Thanks for the reply.

    1) I dont know why you cant duplicate the favorites issue, maybe I am just too fast.  Right when IE loads, I click it immediately and 1 out of 2 times it screws up.  And no, I am NOT on a slow machince and IE loads very quickly.  As a matter of fact, I have the most problems on my fastest machine.  All of the PCs I have tested these issues on have Pentium 4 or better, all with 3.0 Ghz or above.  All with 1GB of RAM or more.

    2) No, I have concluded that it doesn’t happen for specific RSS feeds.  I even double checked all my subscriptions just now and all but one validates as valid RSS 2.0

    3) And the slow closing of the browser is not due to an onunload javascript event handler.  It happens frequently on "heavy" pages.  When I say heavy, I mean lots of content.  Sites such as ASP.NET forums, IIS.net, and my web mail service.  But heck, sometimes it is slow to close Google!

    Any ideas?

  51. Josh Stodola says:

    @ Michael

    I disabled them all manually and did not forget any.  I have also done the other way and ran it without add ons.  Made no difference.  Oh, and I will REFUSE to right click on a stupid icon every time I want to surf the Internet.  That would just be ridiculous.

  52. AC says:

    @Josh Stodola

    Why are you being so rude and angry? I can understand the frustration at having wasted hours of testing for something that is broken to you, but to reply to other users with "…opening your BIG mouth.." or making demands of the developers (who might care less now, thanks to the attitude), and then leaving an email address for feedback is pretty ridiculous.

    In fact, instead of making me want to investigate the problem, I’m more apt to make comments such as:

    "I have already mentioned I have these problems on 3 different machines all with different operations systems"

    Since you are unable to setup machines without causing the problems.. and a majority of other users are not having a problem doing so…

    It just looks like you have no idea how to setup a machine.

  53. ash says:

    @Josh

    "I have these problems on 3 different machines"

    Therefore there should be a common element.

    If you have the inclination:

    Vanilla install of operating system (from the manufacturer’s CD).

    Upgrade to IE7 if required.

    Check that IE is working.

    Download all updates to windows & import your RSS feeds.  

    Check that IE is working.

    After each installation of the software you use, check IE.

    BTW, have you tried disconnecting from the network or working in offline mode?  Maybe the network has something to do with it.

  54. lanad says:

    لابد من تطبيق كل الخطوات السابقة قبل ان احكم علي النصائح جيدة ام لا شكر لكم

    Thanks.

  55. steve_web says:

    @ash.

    Ok, for the implementation… of HTMLFormObj.elements

    This is an object (collection), available to JavaScript.

    Similar to an Array, you can access the contents by index, by passing a zero based integer, or by name, if the items were entered by name.

    So, with an Array, I can do:

    return foo[3];//get the 4th item in the array

    return foo[‘bar’];//get the item by key ‘bar’

    Since only the IE browser does not allow me to obtain the same access on the elements object, I therefore consider it to be a "less than ideal" implementation.

    Re: modal dialog. yes, this is a workaround, but what if I don’t want the modal behavior… and now I have to have different calls/per browser?  As a side note to this, I agree, the "controlling" the end users browser is a very 1995 thing, but (not for me) for developers that used this feature in IE 5.x – 6.x, the fact that it isn’t backward compatible in IE7, is an issue.

    As for the browser specific flag, for spec compatibility,… no.  Only developers that want strict adherence, would choose to add the flag, and by doing so, they would have no intention of ever going back to the buggy mode.

    re: "known non-spec implementations" I disagree.  If I developed a site/app, that used a button element.

    <button name="foo"><img…/><b>Search</b></button>

    and I discovered/found that clicking it submitted: "&foo=<img…/><b>Search</b>" then I know/would have noted that the element didn’t submit the value attribute (left out of my example) but rather the .innerHTML

    on the "backend" of my application, I would have had to jump through hoops, to deal with the markup sent back.

    as a "good" developer, I would put in the value attribute, with say "search" as the value, then coded my backend to handle both, such that when IE fixes the bug, my code still runs smooth.

    but I digress… if no one wants to write code that is meant to last past the next version of the browser they are coding for, then so be it.

    re: "I use an absolutely positioned div" to float an element.  Don’t we all! but the z-index bug in Select Lists for IE 5.5, 6.0 means that a lot of UI goes horribly wrong, unless you hack every floating element to use the iframe hack, or the hide selects hack, both of which are just plain ugly and time consuming (especially when the content changes the containers’ size)

    re: "no idea what MS is tracking"

    The reason why this is important, is because I want to know if there is a fix for "issue x" on the horizon.  If there is, maybe I can wait, if not, maybe I have to hack my own solution?  It proved extremely relevant, during the IE Feedback program when it was running, when many bug reports were replied to from MS with: "Oh my, that is definately a bug that we weren’t aware of"… for issues that were WELL KNOWN to the development community.  Ditto when questioned during the IE Developer Team chats, where many issues raised were met with puzzled developers not knowing about a given, well known bug.

    Which leads us back to the original issue, which is the lack of any sort of public bug tracking.  It doesn’t need to be fancy, or perfect, it just needs to exist.

  56. gabe says:

    someone leaked alpha screenshots of ie8 it seems

    http://techtoday.110mb.com/2007/07/05/internet-explorer-8-alpha-screenshots/

    man what i wouldn’t give to try and alpha of ie8 looks good

  57. Michael says:

    Too bad it’s pretty obvious they’re fake. Even if we DO assume that IE8 will include spell-checking, the tab captions, titlebar, and pages shown do no match with each other (Google isn’t shown in ANY of those pictures).

  58. steve_web says:

    @gabe, as mentioned in the comments on that site, the screenshots are faked.  MS Word controls are visible in many places, and all tabs show "Google" as the website.

    There is a chance that IE may go this route (ribbon and all), although I for one would think that strategy would totally go against the strategy thus far, to clear away menus and toolbars, to provide more browsing room.

    Oh, and of course the comment 3 above me… is not me… darn spammers get on every site don’t they.

  59. Josh Stodola says:

    I have discovered the common element.  IT IS A PROBLEM WITH IE.  There is no way there can be another common element.  Don’t you understand?!  I’m very sorry you can’t re-create the problems, but I bet I could use your IE7 and re-create them.  Vista on my home machine which is going through wireless router, XP at work (this is fastest machine I have most problems with), and Windows Server 2003 as my personal web server machine.  These 3 machines are soooo different that to have these things happening on all 3 is impossible to blame on anything but IE7.  My server machine is BAREBONES.  The only thing I have upgraded/installed on it is FileZilla and IE7.  I have re-created all of the mentioned issues above on all 3 machines.

    I DONT CARE how many of you think that I am full of it, these issues are real, and really annoying.  I would NOT be typing these comments otherwise.

    @ AC:  you are an idiot.  it’s impossible to "setup" a machine incorrectly.

  60. AC says:

    @Josh Stodola

    "you are an idiot.  it’s impossible to "setup" a machine incorrectly."

    See? That’s what I’m talking about right there.

    And millions of "idiots" are able to "setup" a machine, barebones, without a problem. But you cannot. What does that say about you?

  61. TMaster says:

    Is it true that the bait and switch vulnerability, as discovered by Michal Zalewski, will not be fixed by the next set of patches?

    Demo available: http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/ierace/

    That would be a real shame, I had actually hoped to have seen a fix in the June cumulative update, not the August one…

  62. PeteL's Blog says:

    So as it turns out, it’s been a while since I last posted. Things have been a little nutty around here.

  63. IEBlog says:

    Hi everyone, In June I posted information about a number of developer tools , one of which was Ajax View.

  64. Here are my weekly notes: We finally got around to doing a long-planned server move this weekend….

  65. John Hrvatin talked about Web Development Tools for Internet Explorer at Microsoft TechEd 2007 in Orlando

  66. .Net Gate says:

    in the below you will find several cool tools that supports while your web development…

  67. .Net Gate says:

    in the below link you will find several cool tools that supports while your web development…

  68. IEBlog says:

    Over the past year, I’ve written about different tools to help web developers become more productive

  69. Over the past year, I’ve written about different tools to help web developers become more productive

  70. &#160; &#160; 지난&#160; 1 년간, Internet Explorer 개발시에 웹 개발자의 생산성 향상을 도모하기 위한 다양한 도구 ( Web Development Tools