Since I joined the IE team at the beginning of 2007, it has become clear to me how important it is for web developers to predict how a given browser will work. I’ve certainly heard and read how very important it is to web developers to minimize the cost of supporting each additional browser version. In apparent contradiction to this, everyone needs continued innovation in the browser to create new online business opportunities.
One of the most important ways to ease development costs is to support a well-defined set of web standards in all the browsers. This frees up developers’ time to spend on their site innovation rather than porting and testing work. However, sometimes there are ambiguities or optional items in the specifications, such as the behavior of tables. This naturally results in browsers that behave differently.
The Internet Explorer team is serious about enabling web developers to be the most effective and efficient as possible. One very important way we can do this is to support and contribute to the web standards. For the Internet Explorer team, we will do this in multiple ways including implementing support for standards and driving to cut the ambiguity in these industry standards’ specifications.
I believe the way to cut through the ambiguity is to have a set of tests that can help define how the implementation should actually work. The W3C’s CSS Working Group has a set of 487 tests today in the CSS Working Group’s level 2 revision 1 test suite. We just submitted over 700 tests to the W3C for possible inclusion into the official test suite. We’re providing these using the BSD License. We wrote these to test the CSS 2.1 behavior in IE8 beta 1. The coverage they provide is for both basic property support and the scenarios called out in the CSS 2.1 spec. We strongly believe in the W3C and how its test suites can ultimately help the web developers of the world spend more time creating new web experiences and less time dealing with browser differences. The feedback regarding the first set of submitted CSS 2.1 tests will help us improve these tests and strongly guide our future test submissions to the CSS Working Group and others.
The IE Test Team welcomes your feedback about our CSS 2.1 tests including our interpretation of how they test the CSS 2.1 support in IE8 Beta 1. If you’re interested in commenting on the tests, I encourage you go to join the existing W3C’s 2.1 Test Suite Mailing List discussion on the topic. I truly believe that starting with IE8 Beta 1 we’ve begun a journey toward making it easier for you to build the web in a standards-based, predictable way.
Thanks a lot,