Update: CSS and js support in ie Mobile for Windows phone 7

Yesterday, we posted a blog entry that detailed some upcoming JavaScript and CSS support enhancements that we are planning on making to the IE Mobile browser for Windows Phone 7. One of these changes, support for -webkit-text-size-adjust, stirred up a bit of controversy that caused us to stop and think further on the issue.

Our original intent in adding support for this WebKit-specific property was to make Web developers’ lives a bit easier by not having to add yet another vendor-prefixed CSS property to their pages to control how text was scaled. Even more specifically, we intuited that the most common use case for this property was to explicitly set it to “none” in order to tell the browser not to scale a particular section of text.

For example, if you have a picture in your page with an associated caption, you would use this property to prevent the browser from scaling the text, which would cause it to remain on a single line, reflecting the original intent of the designer, as in the following example:


After hearing the community’s feedback on this issue (and a couple of face-palms when we realized the broader implications of implementing other browser vendors’ CSS properties), we’ve decided that it’s best to only implement the -ms- prefixed version and not the -webkit- one.

We thank all of the passionate Web contributors who weighed in on the issue, and we’re looking forward to building a great mobile Web browser that all developers can develop for with clarity and certainty.

Best Regards,

Joe Marini
Principal Program Manager
Windows Phone

Comments (14)

  1. Interframe says:

    Wow, just discovered this blog. A couple of months back in 2009, I found this blog and the last update was like in 2007 about Pocket IE for Windows Mobile 6.0 O_O. It was pretty bizarre.

    Anyways, nice to see that the IE Mobile team actually exists (lol) and has some personality and life (that older blog was just scary).

    And hopefully, for the next major version of Windows Phone 7, we can add all the good stuff that IE9 will be getting. Please make it happen guys! Lets show those webkit lovers that Trident can mean something on the phone like it does on the PC (with Trident 5.0 in IE9)

  2. dandean says:

    Thanks for listening to the community on this one, and for having the conversation in general.

  3. No problem, Dan. Proof positive that we do listen. 🙂

  4. Typhoon87 says:

    I believe it is dissapointing to know that the browser in 6.5.3 will be the last of the line for 6.x.

    You should reconsider this.

    Will the browser in Windows 7 get more updates more frequently than only with full firmware updates?

  5. Hi Tom,

    Yes, we are building in the ability to update the browser independently of firmware.


  6. Zirro says:

    Not that I like IE very much (IE6 and 7 still forces me to spend several extra hours working around issues), but I’m glad you took this decision. Vendor prefixes should strictly be used only by their native rendering engine.

    After all, this is the same problem that created the user-agent mess: http://webaim.org/blog/user-agent-string-history

    I think it’s great that you are open with these kinds of decisions too, and just didn’t decide to support these things "behind the scenes".

  7. cool Star Trek pic 🙂

  8. cool Star Trek picture 🙂

  9. Just because these people are loud, that does not make them correct. Just because user agents became worthless, that does not mean that they would have worked if only everyone decided not to superset each other's strings. Personally, I look to Microsoft to follow a fairly consistent internal version of what is right, and to be able to ignore the throngs of people who loudly proclaim they are evil and wrong.

    Vendor prefixes should be seen as a way to keep people from conflicting when they make up new selector names: it shield not, once that name is created, keep everyone else from trying to be compatible with it. You may as well claim hay WebKit has an "evil" software patent on this particular selector name now, and Microsoft isn't allowed to reverse engineer it, even for the legally legitimate reason to be compatible with someone else's implementation. ;(

    In this case, for a large number of websites, users of Windows Phone 7 devices are now going to suffer, That really sucks. ;( Somehow we've ended up in a world where "embrace and extend" is totally allowed, and if anyone else attempts to be comparable with your extension they are being evil. Frankly, if anyone but Microsoft had been the first to do this, I can't imagine they would have gotten any flak for it.

  10. Dave says:

    @saurik Want to make a web designer miserable? Have the same CSS rule do two divergent things depending on the browser? It's why designers get so frustrated with IE 6 and 7 on the desktop.

    That they behave differently is fine and expected, but when it's not part of the standard, don't go emulating while making a fundamental underlying divergent implementation assumption that alters behavior.

    Revel in vendor-specific quirks until standards are settled upon and every browser (ideally) interprets the rules the same way. There are, after all, custom rules for Gecko, WebKit and Presto. Why not Trident?

  11. Barry says:

    Support HTML 5 and CSS3 and you'll make a lot of developers lives a lot easier. DO IT.

  12. Jason says:

    @Dave. @Saurik is right. In all cases. Accept that and move on while I open Cydia and enjoy downloading some new Winterboard themes. You are awesome Jay.

    Also I agree with him. Having another tag to add just because of the prefix stinks. The reasoning is clearly stated in the blog post and the fact that MS is bending to some loud voices stinks. If it already exists and does what you want then just implement it the same and make that known. This is better for the community as a whole and saves a line of CSS that will be left off of every style sheet in the future. Unless there is a legal reason then this is the wrong choice.

  13. Adrian Schmidt says:

    @saurik Your lack of foresight makes me cry. "In this case, for a large number of websites, users of Windows Phone 7 devices are now going to suffer, That really sucks." Well, it might suck a little, but nothing at all compared to having the next ten years of web development suck as bad as the last ten!

    I am very happy that Microsoft has finally started to pay attention to voices outside their own company.

  14. Dean H. says:

    I'm a developer for a large Mobile Web Development firm. We have been anxiously awaiting Windows Phone 7 since it's announcement. Sadly, we purchased an HTC HD7 for testing and have come to discover that is just as horrible as Windows Mobile 6; No support for inline-block, improper support for floats, and no float clearing. Until you guys get your act together and start producing a product that supports basic CSS, we're going to continue to tell our clients that we will not support your browser, and users of it will get an unstyled plain-text version of the site, while people using Webkit, Blackberry, and Netfront will get the full experience.