What won’t be fixed in IE7

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From Molly Holzschlag today comes her account of a meeting on Tuesday of the Web Standards Project‘s (WaSP) Microsoft Task Force.

Topics of discussion included Microsoft’s upcoming Web design tool code-named “Quartz”, XAML, Internet Explorer’s approach to the Acid2 test, and plans for WaSP at the SXSW conference in March.

A nugget buried towards the end, however, was Internet Explorer lead program manager Chris Wilson‘s list of things that probably won’t be fixed in IE7:

However, some things simply won’t be there. Generated content? “Won’t make it” Wilson tells us. There’s an overflow problem that probably won’t be fixed, and object for images will most likely not be repaired in IE7.

Wilson remains optimistic and philosophical however, wrapping our conversation up by saying that “I knew when we started IE7 was going to be a challenging release for us, we weren’t going to get as far as people wanted us to get.”

Generated content — or more precisely, support for the CSS2 content property — is no big surprise; support for this is limited at best in most other browsers too. But it’s a shame that perennial sore points like not being able to use the <object> tag for images and a bug with the overflow property, which could affect CSS page layouts, will not be addressed.

That said, Microsoft does seem to be staying true to its stated goal of using IE7 to correct the bugs and issues that most affect Web developers in their ability to get things done, and leaving more “standards for standards’ sake” fixes to IE8.

Now how about that public beta?

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  • http://www.lowter.com charmedlover

    I’m a bit upset with Microsoft that they cannot fix more errors in IE7. They’ve had a few years to develop the fixes! If they would keep their product more up to date then it really wouldn’t be too hard.

    I’d like a public beta too.

  • pd

    I’m still struggling to see the relevance of IE7. Whilst it’s good to hear some hard facts about it, what really is the relevance of a browser that will only have such a limited release?

    I’m no MS hater but clearly MS has missed the boat on the Internet again. It’s ironic that the day after they release their latest attempt to hookup their core products to the web, we are still hearing about a potential IE7.

    I only wish that the MoFoCo crew would pull their fingers out and stop resting on their laurels. Otherwise the future for web developers in browser terms seems rather complicated.

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    charmedlover – they haven’t had a few years. They only started working on fixing this stuff about a year ago IIRC when they assembled a new dev team for IE7.

  • http://www.dotcomwebdev.com chris ward

    I mentioned XAML to Molly at @media2005, I’m glad I did now!

    Alot of the markup there had inline styles, was mostly presentational-based and had a severe lack of semantics… bit like web 1.0

    Was just watching the demo wmv on the Quartz website, and I REALLY like the clip of the user being able to map text inside a vector!

    But then, does anything in HTML currently support that?

    If every line’s an individual width, then the content is probably wrapped in spans, with inline styles for the widths?

    ouch

  • http://scythe.hu szigeti

    Dean C, maybe Microsoft haven’t had a few years, but they have nearly infinite resources.

  • http://www.divbyzero.org Div By Zero

    The fact they only started a year ago is just their fault and show that they don’t care about innovation if they’re in a full monopoly situation :) If it was not for Firefox gaining market share we would still be talking about Explorer 6.0.0.1 :)

  • chrisb

    thats the way business works though! – no business would just poor money into a product that didn’t have competion. Once they had competition they gained a reason to begin development again…

  • http://www.lowter.com charmedlover

    charmedlover—they haven’t had a few years. They only started working on fixing this stuff about a year ago IIRC when they assembled a new dev team for IE7.

    They’ve had a few years. All those years between IE6 and IE7 (what it is now). That’s quite a bit. They waited until almost the last minute it seems to even start.

  • http://www.mozdex.com turboweb

    To be honest there hasn’t been *ANY* innovation in the web world since IE 6 has been released. If anything firefox is still catching up to what IE has done and the competition is merely just number pushing.

    What microsoft has focused on is extending windows into the internet and beyond the web browser.

    Back end innovations have been happening but they’re independant of the display/presentation side.. none of the mozilla xul or addons really did much and even firefox plugins are just plugins and break between release after release.

  • mollyeh11

    Interesting comments! A couple of notes / clarifications.

    Kevin, it’s technically the :before and :after pseudo element property with the content property value that is used for generated content in CSS. The technical editor in me jumped on that one, but really, I just like being able to use the word “pseudo” any chance I get ;-)

    Chris: What’s so funny is that now I’ve been able to ask and answer the XAML question for the public, I received a few flames here and there for not pushing on SVG support issues. Frustrating, because these meetings are as impromptu and short as it gets and to be able to extract as much as I can, I have to hone in on the most immediate concerns. But, obviously, your question stuck with me and it’s also been asked since @media, so thank you for that.

    For everyone else who quibbles about what IE7 should or shouldn’t be, I have to default to my opinion about the separation of the Microsoft developers versus the Microsoft Corporate Agenda.

    As I mentioned in Sydney at WE05 when asked about this, the Microsoft developers don’t have much influence on uber decisions made by Microsoft. They can and do try to address what they can when those decisions come down from on high. They are not only good people who do care about standards. Chris Wilson has been working on IE since 1995, and at one time you will recall that it was the most advanced CSS browser of its day. The business decisions are what killed any growth in that long, dry period, not the developers.

    What’s more, the developers are really you and me. If you were looking for work and Microsoft made a good offer for you to come and fix all that’s wrong with IE, I have a feeling you might say yes. So we have to remember that developer to developer we have to give a certain amount of respect to our peers. I’m not saying we have to agree with them, or not express our very real frustration, but I do think a little respect and encouragement can go a long way, especially now that Microsoft’s people are listening to the standards community more than ever.

    Now is the time to encourage, not sting, is the way I see it from WaSP. We never had this kind of openess between Microsoft and our community before. We might not get all that we want, but I already know we’ve gotten more than what might have been had the circumstances remained the way they were in past years.

  • http://www.dotcomwebdev.com chris ward

    The long and short of it is the fact that microsoft doesn’t own HTML, they introduced their own proprietary code to take control of the industry, but ultimately failed.

    You really can’t blame them for that, they’re just after the green and gold like any other company.

    XAML is theirs, and now they get to set the standards … if web 2.0 is just the buzz-word for the new methodologies happening right now, then XAML is the real web 2.0

    Definetely looking forward to this!

  • extensions != plugins

    @turboweb

    extensions != plugins

  • Fenrir2

    Is XAML an open standard? It would be nice if Web 2.0 is built upon standards.

  • Star

    XAML or Avalon is the langauge on Windows, just like what XUL is to Mozilla. Not the Internet… Sorry to disappoint you all!

  • http://eric.bessman.com/ ebessman

    XAML or Avalon is the langauge on Windows, just like what XUL is to Mozilla. Not the Internet… Sorry to disappoint you all!

    Star, I believe you are at best half right… Sorry to disappoint you!

    A quick “Google” reveals that there are actually at least two different (and independent) technologies referred to by the same acronym (XAML):

    1) Transaction Authority Markup Language (XAML) is a vendor-neutral standard that enables the coordination and processing of online transactions in the rapidly emerging world of XML web services – the revolutionary new model of Internet-based computing that is now being adopted by all major systems and software vendors. XAML is intended to be a completely open standard for web-based business transactions. …

    2) XAML (short for eXtensible Application Markup Language, and pronounced “Zammel”) is the user interface definition language for the next version of Microsoft Windows, code named Windows Longhorn.

  • http://eric.bessman.com/ ebessman

    P.S. I love you, Molly! You totally rock! Keep up the good work…

  • Luis Morais

    So we have to remember that developer to developer we have to give a certain amount of respect to our peers. I’m not saying we have to agree with them, or not express our very real frustration, but I do think a little respect and encouragement can go a long way, especially now that Microsoft’s people are listening to the standards community more than ever.

    Well said Molly.

    Guys, I am not sure how many of you work on companies with layers and layers of management, Business operations and Marketing divisions competing wioth each other but putting it plainly: making a website compliant is not a matter of just “ok, tell the techie boys downstairs that a new era is dawning and Web Standards is vital to our business operations!”

    Developers in most cases have no word or power to change monolitic business models.

    It is no different in Microsoft either, the moment came Microsoft had to step up security in IE – and don’t forget that was the primary business drive that triggered the Internet Explorer overhaul – which by its turn was the main reason commom users were switching browsers. The web standards compliance came along the way, most probably, fruit of insistence from developers inside Microsoft itself that were listening to the design community at their own homes and time.

    The importance of having IE to adopt standards is that it will guarantee a much faster standards-compliant, client-technology refresh/update on the ordinary user front. Since they hold the majority of the market and new Windows systems, as planned, will practically lock you out if you do not update your system periodically, that might mean that the version gap will close much faster than it used to before.

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  • Erwin Heiser

    What continues to baffle me is that a company with the monetary resources of Microsoft can’t fix a few bugs in their browser; or for that matter start from scratch :)

  • Anonymous

    I was very disappointed to read that the “overflow” bug would not be fixed. I work on DHTML menus, and the present state of the bug makes a big impact. At least in IE6, “overflow” seems better. To me, IE7 is a huge step backward.