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Microsoft Insists IE7 is Standards Compliant 389

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the believe-when-it-renders-stuff-right dept.
ReadWriteWeb writes "Microsoft's Chris Wilson, the Group Program Manager for IE addresses the issue of whether IE7 is CSS and Web standards compliant. Last week a Slashdot post claimed that IE7 was basically non-compliant with CSS standards. But Chris Wilson says that isn't true and that standards improvements is a big part of IE7. He admits that there were a ton of bugs from IE6 that have caused web developers a lot of pain, but says that IE7 will address those and be standards compliant. He goes as far to say that IE7 supports Web standards even at the expense of more backwards compatibility."
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Microsoft Insists IE7 is Standards Compliant

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  • cut MS some slack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ugayay}> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:02AM (#15918830) Journal

    In addition to trying to be standards compliant Microsoft is dancing as fast as they can copying and adding the features virtually all other browsers have had around for years now.

    From the article, MS (Chris Wilson) spots their compliance progress somewhere between 50 and less than 90%: Tough question, in terms of stating that we really do fully support the CSS 2.1 spec, it's hard to tell because there is a bias to any analysis. We're certainly somewhere between those two... I don't think we're at 90%, I think we're above 50% though...

    Not sure where that puts them in terms of compliance compared to the other browsers, but I'm happy to stick with Firefox for many reasons, recommend anything but IE7 to anyone for many reasons, and probably stay that way. IE7 from Microsoft is looking like a little too little too late.

    In the meantime, Microsoft almost seems tentative in their position about standards compliance versus backwards compatibility. In parts of the interview, Chris talks about trying not to alienate IE6 users (his mother) with changes to the "standards" behavior making IE6 sites not work or work differently, while in other parts of the interview he discusses being compliant "at the expense of backwards compatibility".

    I don't know what they are doing with that, I'm not sure they do either. They made that bed. Now they're sleeping in it.

    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:06AM (#15918874)
      MS doesn't deserve slack.

      There's only one standards compliance test that Microsoft has ever aimed to pass and that's their own.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:07AM (#15918884)
      IE7 from Microsoft is looking like a little too little too late.

      You know, I thought the same about the time IE 4 was in Beta.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:15AM (#15918970)
      Not sure where that puts them in terms of compliance compared to the other browsers, but I'm happy to stick with Firefox for many reasons, recommend anything but IE7 to anyone for many reasons, and probably stay that way. IE7 from Microsoft is looking like a little too little too late.

      You mean the same way that Firefox/Mozilla was too little, too late after Netscape Communicator 4.x? The truth is that it is never too little, too late in the software world. If Microsoft delivers with IE7, and that's a big if, then they will likely regain some market share.

    • by mgblst (80109)
      He also say One of the things I said in my post is that I think it's very difficult, if not impossible, to have an analysis of exactly where we are as a number with supporting or complying with CSS - given that there isn't an official test suite that exhaustively tests whether you comply with the standard or not. And any analysis you can do is going to be somewhat biased.

      Surely it is not hard to create some test pages to test CSS I could whip up a few in an afternoon. If you don't like the acid2 te
      • Read what you quoted again. He's not saying that they don't have testcases, what he's saying is that you can't objectively quantify how far they have to go.

    • There is, of course, quite a difference between being backwards compatible with regards to the end-user experience and being backwards compatible with the legion of web developers out there. I'm sure the first statement was for the former, and the second one for the latter.
    • Re:cut MS some slack (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ElleyKitten (715519)
      recommend anything but IE7 to anyone for many reasons
      IE7 is about a billion times better than IE6. I don't know how anyone can stand it, yet I find IE7 rather tolerable for those few, IE-required situations. If someone ignores you when you talk about Firefox, you should recommend them IE7. Anything is better than IE6.
    • by Azeron (797264) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:30AM (#15919175)
      Satan insists AntiChrist 50 - 90% like Jesus.... except better.
    • Re:cut MS some slack (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      Microosoft's figures sounds about right from a CSS standard report I saw elsewhere.
      It indicated something like ~60% for IE, approx. 90% for Firefox, and most for Opera.
      Unfortunately I don't recall the URL, so that's the sloppy figures you'll get from me. ;-)
    • Quote from his blog (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:40AM (#15919275) Homepage
      In the meantime, Microsoft almost seems tentative in their position about standards compliance versus backwards compatibility.

      Emphasis mine, changing the meaning a bit, but bear with me. If you read Chris Wilson's blog here [msdn.com], then you can see the following quote:

      It's been frustrating, though, to be continually identified as the personal screw-up responsible for IE not supporting more standards today, when it's actually because of my personal influence that CSS is IMPLEMENTED in IE.

      Again, emphasis mine (not the caps, though, just the boldface). So - if it weren't for this Chris guy, CSS wouldn't even have been implemented in IE. If he's right, that says a lot about Microsoft. I tend to believe him here.
      • by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:21PM (#15920346) Homepage Journal
        If - as is implied - he's the ONLY person at Microsoft who gives a damn about standards, then given the sheer number of standards that web browsers either would be expected to comply with or really should comply with, it would be utterly beyond the efforts of a single person to identify, prioritize, reify and program each and every single one of those standards.


        IF he is being unfairly blamed, then he has my sympathy on that and that alone. But to turn around and say "hey, we ARE standards-compliant - give or take up to 50% on the standards I even know about" is not a way to win friends and influence people. If he lacks the time to even establish which parts of the specs are implemented, then he might be better spending his time on figuring that out -or- listening to those who have, rather than complaining that the reviews make him look bad.


        He should also stop and bear in mind that since he himself states he does not know the actual level of compliance (he only thinks it is over 50%) then he has absolutely no grounds for complaining about other people's estimates. For that matter, the lack of knowledge on compliance would suggest that the browser is improperly tested. Standards compliance tests are not really optional, since they establish a list of well-defined behaviours for well-defined cases. At the very least, you want to be absolutely certain that those cases won't cause the browser to crash or go rogue. The only way to know this is to try them out. And if you're trying them out, you know which standards are met and by what amount.


        Ergo, his uncertainty establishes firmly that testing and QA is somewhere between poor and non-existant, AND that Microsoft has no software with which to determine when the standards are met. His complaint of being a lone voice establishes firmly that these are not being fixed and never will be.

        • If - as is implied - he's the ONLY person at Microsoft who gives a damn about standards

          I don't think that's implied, just that he was the primary advocate within Microsoft. For example from The CSS saga [w3.org], co-written by the inventor of CSS:

          Had it not been for the browsers, CSS would have remained a lofty proposal of only academic interest. The first commercial browser to support CSS was Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3 which was released in August 1996. At that point, the CSS1 specification had not y

          • Hmmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:05PM (#15921254) Homepage Journal
            Objective figures. Ok, here's the way to come up with an objective figure:


            • For each non-interacting standard defined...
              • ...For each defined non-interacting element in that standard...
                • Test that element with each individual attribute definable for it, with each well-defined corner-case and with a random selection of invalid cases.
                • For every valid case that tests correctly, score 1 for complance. For every invalid case that is rejected safely, score 1 for compliance. For every test that causes the browser to crash, score 1 for instability. Unimplemented cases are always treated as non-compliance, even when optional. (The instability value starts at 1, not 0. A stable browser doesn't have infinite quality.)

              • ...For each defined interacting element, repeat the above test with typical, corner-case and invalid combinations that test every element - but not necessarily every permutation - at least once in combination with another element that it can interact with.
              • ...For a random selection of totally invalid tags, repeat the above test with a selection of short and excessive invalid tag sequences.

            • Normalize the results by dividing the totals by the number of tests that have been executed and multiply by 100 to convert to a percentage.

            For each interacting standard, apply the above test program for typical permutations and corner-case permutations, such that all interacting standards are tested at least once in combination with another standard that it can interact with.

            Sum up the totals and divide by the number of standards and standard interactions tested.

            Divide the total compliance by the total instability to get the overall quality.

            Calculate the theoretical values that would be obtained for a browser that met only the required elements of the specification, as a fraction, to get the compliance threshold value. Determine the ratio of the total compliance with the compliance threshold to get the baseline compliance.


            The overall quality of the browser will tell you how reliable the browser is, when trying to follow the standards as defined. The baseline compliance will tell you how close the browser is to meeting the obligations of the specification. The total compliance will tell you how close the browser is to meeting the full specification.


            It's a simple enough algorithm and is based on the usual testing procedures used by a million software engineers the world over. You test the typical, the corner-case and the error cases. In any specification, these cases are well-defined and should be easily tested.


            Do these numbers mean anything? Yes. Due to the sheer volume of specifications out there, it is impossible to physically list every permutation that needs to be validated, but you CAN say what fraction of those permutations have been validated.


            A superior method to this is to use an octal mask, where the value of each position represents the number of permutations (up to 7) that have been tested against a specific element, and each position represents one element. If you want to interpret half a screen of octal, go for it. It will give you more information, if you can process it, but will tell you less than the three suggested numbers will tell you unless you're prepared to do a lot of data crunching.

        • by telbij (465356) * on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:43PM (#15920548)
          Fair enough, but think about the situation for a moment. As an employee he has to take the company line. If he says to his boss, "we need to work on CSS support," and the guy says, "No, we need Tabs 2.0 to crush Firefox," then he has to work on that. Not only that, but he can't come out and say the truth. He has to exaggerate the standards improvement to hopefully quiet down the web developer crowd, while at the same time preparing the press release for all the new "user-centric" changes to IE 7. You might say he's a phony and a shill, but that anyone with any integrity would resign under such circumstances. But who would that help? We're all off with him as a standards advocate in an anti-standards company then if he just packed up and left.

          Granted, this is just all speculation, I have no idea what the real situation is like. But it's always worth keeping in mind that spokespeople represent companies, and politics are huge anywhere, especially Microsoft.
    • by Dolda2000 (759023) <fredrik@d o l d a 2 000.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:09PM (#15920225) Homepage
      In the meantime, Microsoft almost seems tentative in their position about standards compliance versus backwards compatibility.
      I don't understand why there has to be a conflict at all here, though. IE, like most other browsers, already has a quirks-mode/compliance-mode separation. Why not just go on doing the same old, bad job on the pages rendered on quirks mode, and then render correctly and compliantly on pages that specify proper DOCTYPEs etc.? It seems to me that the old "backwards compatibility" argument is just a bad excuse for Microsoft not to comply to standards.
      • Re:cut MS some slack (Score:4, Interesting)

        by russx2 (572301) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:01PM (#15921219)
        Why not just go on doing the same old, bad job on the pages rendered on quirks mode, and then render correctly and compliantly on pages that specify proper DOCTYPEs etc.?

        Yes, it's true IE6 has a quirks mode and 'standards' mode, deciding which mode to use based on a valid doctype or not. However, the problem IE has now is that by following standards more closely in IE7 they potentially break compatibility with IE6 'standards' mode. Pages without a valid doctype can still be rendered as always by the quirks mode so they are not the problem.

        Most of the problems will stem from all the inventive IE-targetted CSS hacks out there - tan hack, holly hack, star-html hack etc. that abused IEs improper understanding of CSS rules and will potentially break in IE7.
  • Acid Test (Score:5, Interesting)

    by celardore (844933) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:04AM (#15918844)
    I wonder if the browser will pass the Acid Test [webstandards.org]....
    • Re:Acid Test (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      MS has said that it will not pass the Acid2 test.
    • Re:Acid Test (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:18AM (#15919012)
      Passing the acid test would be a nice feat, but not even everybody's darling, the Gecko browser family, passes it. And it isn't really necessary. IE7 does most of the things right that webdevelopers have always wanted to use but couldn't because IE6 owns the market. The box model implementation is sane now, IE7 does semitransparent PNGs (without requiring non-standard hacks), it supports :hover on everything, and so on. I've recently designed a new site from scratch and tested only with Firefox. Then I loaded the site with IE7 and I didn't have to change a bit. Right now the deficiencies of CSS itself are the biggest hurdle, second only to the legacy browsers.

      I'm mad at Microsoft for leaving us in the cold for so long, but even though I hate the IE7 user interface, I think the rendering engine really is good enough. Just make sure that IE7 gets pushed to each and every IE6 user out there. No bullshit like restricting it to Vista or XPSP2 please.
      • Re:Acid Test (Score:5, Informative)

        by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:05PM (#15920182)
        not even everybody's darling, the Gecko browser family, passes it.

        Actually, gecko does pass it [nelchael.net]. The problem is that firefox 2.0 won't use that revision of the gecko core, only 3.0 will use it.

        Now, even if current Firefox and future firefox 2.0 are not passing it, they're NEAR of passing it. IE7 rendering does not even look like a smiley [google.com].

        I think the rendering engine really is good enough

        Yeah, the software company number 1 of the world should be proud of shipping a widely used browser (IE is the most used application in the world) whose rendering engine is the worst one in the world, but that is "enought" only because IE defines what is "enought". If Firefox had 80% of market share, web developers would use lots features that IE does not even dreams to support until they ship IE8 in a couple of years. And nobody would use IE, because their engine is NOT "enought".
    • Re:Acid Test (Score:5, Informative)

      by rednuhter (516649) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:24AM (#15919078) Homepage Journal
      to quote from the article
      "I said on the IE Blog that in IE7 we were not going to pass the Acid2 test"
      He goes on to note that a number of the things used in the acid2 test are to not likey to be high on their priorities and would be focusing on more widely used CSS.
    • Re:Acid Test (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bigbigbison (104532) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:43AM (#15919314) Homepage
      The post referred to in the article talks about how the developer thinks that the Acid2 Test is biased because the person who made it also has a page that says using IE is dangerous.
      My thought is if IE people think that the Acid2 test is biased against IE then why don't they create their own standards compliant test page that works better in IE7(beta) than in Firefox or Opera?
      There are tons of non-standards compliant IE-only webpages out there. It would be interesting to see a standards complaiant page where IE works better than Firefox or Opera.
      • Re:Acid Test (Score:3, Informative)

        by NanoServ (901441)
        You misunderstood. He was implying that my standards support tables may have been biased. I am not affiliated with WaSP or the Acid2 test.

        In my tables, I try to accurately describe exactly what features are handled incorrectly under which conditions. The tables are very much laid out as the features are in the specifications and therefore I don't see any legitimacy to his argument that I shouldn't note IE's lack of "inherit" support on every applicable CSS property. I maintain a complete public log of every
    • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

      The Acid2 stuff is like the browser developer's version of mine's-bigger-than-yours-is. It's about bragging rights, and that's it.

      Sure, it's a test of strict compliance with certain aspects of the W3C CSS specs. Speaking as a guy responsible for a web site, though, I care far more about whether IE7 supports everyday, often-useful aspects of W3C specs. Here are some examples that I do care about, all of which have directly affected my work on the site in recent weeks:

      • Are the various box model gremlins f
    • Re:Acid Test (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nmg196 (184961) *
      Who cares? The CSS in the Acid 2 test is irrelevent to the vast majority of web developers - but for some reason, loads of slashdot readers who aren't full time web-devs and know very little about real-world website developement seem to think that passing Acid 2 is in some way important. Not even FireFox 1.5 supports it.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:05AM (#15918862) Homepage Journal
    "I'll respect you in the morning."
    "I won't *** in your mouth."
    "I'll pull out in time."
    "We're gonna make this the most secure OS ever!"

    Even Bush knows, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, not gonna happen."

    Guaranteed, 100%, that IE7 will be less standards-compliant than either Firefox or Opera.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:05AM (#15918867)
    Then WTF is http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/Test/ [w3.org] ??
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:20AM (#15919033)

      Please quote properly. The full quote is "there isn't an official test suite that exhaustively tests whether you comply with the standard or not." And that is true. A test suite cannot tell you if an implementation is compliant or to what degree an implementation is compliant. It can only point out particular things that are broken. If you're thinking of dividing the number of passed tests over the number of total tests, that still won't tell you how compliant an implementation is because it will be weighted according to the number of test cases for each particular language feature. If you weight them differently, then you let your own opinions about what is important into the analysis, which is why he followed up with "And any analysis you can do is going to be somewhat biased."

      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:32AM (#15919822) Homepage
        "...exhaustively tests whether you comply with the standard or not."
        A test suite cannot tell you if an implementation is compliant

        Yes, it can. If the question is boolean, then the test pointed to by grandparent definitely can give an objective answer. Currently, every browser I know of would fail, but it can give an answer.

        or to what degree an implementation is compliant.

        Yes, it can. It can give you a consistent answer on the number of passed and failed tests. That number may be biased for a given single run, but it can give a consistent answer, so it can be used to test relative compliance. It may give a fuzzy response that is open to interpretation, but I would bet that when testing different versions of the same browser, the answer would almost always be clear. It would be something like this:

        IE6: Passed; 77. Failed; 39.
        IE7: Passed; 92, Failed; 24.
        IE7 Relative to IE6:
        Passed in IE6, Failed in IE7; 2.
        Passed in IE7, Failed in IE6; 17.

        "One of the things I said in my post is that I think it's very difficult, if not impossible, to have an analysis of exactly where we are as a number with supporting or complying with CSS"

        Actually, it's easy. There's an example of the numbers above. Are the numbers fuzzy? Yes. Does it provide, "an analysis of exactly where you are"? Yes. It is, "an analysis" and it is based on "exactly where you are." Is the result fuzzy? Of course. Every test of every human endeavor in history has either had a loose question or given a fuzzy result. Now stop being a sissy and answer the damned question.

        "we really only did standards improvements - particularly CSS and HTML improvements. That was really the largest focus of our platform work overall."

        If that is the case (though when someone uses "really" twice in two sentences without providing supporting evidence I think he doth protest too much), and this guy really is involved in the project, then he should have those numbers tatooed on his inner thigh. If CSS and HTML compliance really was the largest focus of the largest software company ever, he would at least be able to say something. He would be able to say, "I don't think these numbers are perfect, but here's what we get on the official test suite."

        If MS really were focusing on those tests, even if he really believed that taking number passed over number failed was such a great injustice, they would have those numbers printed in 120 point font and hung on the wall of the developer area. He could have said, "Well, I can't give you a percentage, because percentages are inherently subjective - they weight every test the same which does not necessarily reflect the value of each test to the total user experience. And though the results are subjective, the tests are objective, and we track them like a hawk. Hey - we're the biggest software company in the world. Software loves tests. So, while I reiterate that these numbers are't perfect, I can tell you that IE7 now passes 17 tests that IE6 did not, and failed 2 that IE6 passed, using the W3C's standard set of CSS 2.1 tests. You can get the specific list of test results at www.microsoft.com/ie7-css-test/."

        Or he can say none of that, and I will remain unclear on Microsoft's current view on standards. I won't claim that I know them to be as bad as they have been, simply that what this guy says is sound and fury signifying nothing. Which is all that GP was saying.

        He claims that this particular course is their "largest focus", a course which they have repeatedly faltered from, with apparent intent, in the past. He says there is no way of providing a number, without even acknowledging the existence of the official set of tests. Not even to say they suck. Either he doesn't know they exist, or he doesn't feel they are important, or he feels the results would leave the audience nonplussed. The one thing we can say for sure is not the case is what he is implicitly claiming; that they are deeply interested in passing the tests, that they always know the results for the latest build, and that they are proud of their accomplishments.
        • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:52AM (#15920032)

          If the question is boolean, then the test pointed to by grandparent definitely can give an objective answer.

          It can definitely prove that something is non-compliant. But it cannot definitely prove that something is compliant. A hell of a lot of bugs only manifest themselves in unusual circumstances. Unless you have prior knowledge of these bugs, you'd have to be very lucky to coincidentally trigger them with a simple test case.

          It can give you a consistent answer on the number of passed and failed tests. That number may be biased for a given single run, but it can give a consistent answer, so it can be used to test relative compliance.

          No, it can't. Suppose there are a hundred testcases for selectors and five testcases for a particular float configuration in wide use on the web. By adding support for more selectors, a Microsoft engineer might pass twenty more testcases, but introduce a regression causing them to fail the five really important float testcases. By your standards, this would be more compliant, even though it would be considered a disaster in terms of compliance.

          It doesn't make sense to judge compliance by the number of testcases passed. There isn't a good way of assigning a particular number to how compliant an implementation is. But the real question is why should there be? Does anybody really gain anything by saying that Internet Explorer is 53% compliant instead of 52% compliant? Or does it make more sense to talk about particular bugs and particular features that are supported? I can see how the former might be of use if all you want is a number to criticise Microsoft with, but as a web developer, I can tell you that having a percentage just isn't useful in any way if you are genuinely concerned with practical matters and not political ones.

          If MS really were focusing on those tests, even if he really believed that taking number passed over number failed was such a great injustice, they would have those numbers printed in 120 point font and hung on the wall of the developer area.

          Do any other browser developers provide a running count of how many CSS testcases they pass and how many they fail?

          Either he doesn't know they exist, or he doesn't feel they are important, or he feels the results would leave the audience nonplussed.

          Or he thinks the same as I do; that such numbers are unimportant and misleading.

    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#15919250) Homepage Journal

      That's actually kinda neat. So far, of the seven tests I've run, Firefox 1.5.0.6 has passed one of them.

      For the curious:

      Some time when I have more time, I'll have to go through all of them and see how Firefox does.

    • You see, that's only for the W3C CSS standard. There is no official test suite for the Microsoft CSS standard.
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:06AM (#15918869)
    IE7 still has the pesky problem, even after all the patches and rewrites, of being Internet Explorer from Microsoft.
    • I use IE so intermittenly, and only for 2 reasons.
      1. I set up my spam gmail account as the homepage on IE so when I want to check that account I just load IE.
      2. Some web sites are still screwed up enough to not work in FireFox.

      But I will say this, I have Windows XP x64 and thier IE x64 is pretty frickin amazing. It runs extremely quick (pulling from cache) and is really well done. Although there is still the pesky problem of all the plugins not working (flash, shockwave, video, java) and that is a killer fo
  • by salesgeek (263995) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:06AM (#15918882) Homepage
    One major issue is that many sites do not render as nicely in IE7 as they do in IE6. This is going to be a headache for IT managers and marketing managers for quite some time...

    and for the love of money, think of all the FrontPage sites...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:07AM (#15918885)
    Microsoft changes Web Standards to comply with IE7.
  • The irony (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bullfish (858648)
    The irony is, that whether you like it or not, when you control over 80% of the browser market, you are the standard. That they are willing(?) to try to accommodate other standards, is really a sop.
    • Re:The irony (Score:5, Interesting)

      by richdun (672214) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:15AM (#15918963)
      Except that it isn't over 80% any more. The latest stats I saw (July 2006 I think) put IE at 73-75% and falling - still very high, but not nearly as dominant. Certain markets (universities, for instance) have much, much lower rates.

      IE7 may change that, as many recent Firefox converts may switch back when it comes through as a security release. The real wildcard though is just how much marketshare Apple is really capturing - IE will never again be available for Mac, and if they (Apple) are to be believed, they had something like 15-20% of the laptop sales marketshare last quarter (or month...too many stats!), and are growing. It may be a case of too little, too late, but with Vista and Leopard we could see a swing in browser marketshare not seen since IE trounced Netscape.
  • Too easy to debunk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:08AM (#15918897) Homepage
    Someone, or more likely several someones, will independantly enumerate every area of non-compliance that exists in MSIE7. (Has it been released yet? I haven't seen an installation for Linux yet... I have MSIE6 on my Linux laptop thanks to some very clever script writers: http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/index-en.html [tatanka.com.br])

    That said, I have read where even Firefox isn't yet 100% compliant. I'm usure of how much difficulty that causes web developers though. Actually, I don't know much of anything about the web except that I use Firefox pretty exclusively. If MSIE7 was made at least as compliant as Firefox, it would actually kinda bother me as it would give me a lot less leverage to keep my Firefox deployment where I work.
  • >we really only did standards improvements - particularly CSS and HTML improvements. Ah, improvements - not different implementation. >And I think that not adding any proprietary features in was probably something that was a little >different from our previous releases. But we certainly spent a bunch of work trying to improve our >standards support. And no proprietary features added this time! Thank you Chris - this explains a lot...
  • Pigs are flying,
    Kazan has the goose that laid the golden egg,
    Bush admits to breaking the law .....
  • Internet Explorer always had excellent standard compliance... of their own ones.
  • -1, Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:11AM (#15918930)

    What a ridiculous, misleading title. Microsoft have claimed nothing of the sort. They've claimed improvements, which is true. In fact, the article quotes Chris Wilson as saying he thinks they've implemented over half of the CSS 2.1 specification, but not 90%. That's hardly insisting it is compliant, is it?

    I'm definitely no Internet Explorer fan - I think Microsoft's efforts with Internet Explorer 7 have been abysmal. But this is a non-story. Everybody knows that Internet Explorer isn't compliant. Everybody who has been paying attention knows that there have been gradual but long-demanded improvements included in Internet Explorer 7.

    Shame on you Taco for posting a story with such a dishonest, inflammatory headline. If this were a political website, the equivalent to what you just did would be a Democrat posting a story saying "Dubya eats babies!"

  • by xjimhb (234034) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:13AM (#15918940) Homepage
    It's a shame we can't Mod the original article the way we can Mod the comments.

    This one deserves a score of "+5 Funny".

  • Goes so far? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:13AM (#15918946) Journal
    He goes as far to say that IE7 supports Web standards even at the expense of more backwards compatibility.
    Unless IE7 is able to recognize non-compliant sites and render then differently, of course begin standards compliant is going to hinder backwards compatibility. That's the whole point, IMO -- when/if IE7 becomes standards compliant, all those broken websites will have to be fixed because they are no longer renderable by IE.

    I look forward to the day when web developers won't have to develop multiple versions for multiple browsers.
  • We're trying to improve the world for web developers and when we looked at what people were saying they wanted us to do, there were a ton of bugs that were causing web developers a lot of pain, from IE6 - and we really wanted to nail those and the most requested features upfront.

    This is the problem, old versions of ie weren't standards compliant, for whatever reason. So making IE7 compliant, means it will break the old pages. We will have to go back to checking not only whether it is netscape or ie
    • This isn't a Microsoft problem. This is a problem that every company and/or web developer must deal with. If they had created their pages to begin with more than one browser in mind, it would not have been a problem.

      Every web developer must make a choice in the beginning which browsers he/she cares to support. IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, Konqueror... etc. They all render differently. And different version of all of those render differently. However, standards compliance means you can at
  • 50%? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tbannist (230135) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:15AM (#15918965)
    Really, 50% compliant is 50% non-compliant.

    If your project can't meet at least 75% of it's goals, it's a complete failure. Anything less than 90% compliance is pathetic.

    To put it simply, it's ok to have bugs on some of the obscure parts of the specification, but as long as IE7 still fails on the routine every day uses of CSS, it's garbage.
  • by rucs_hack (784150)
    My one windows machine (authentic windows, purchased and everything, from HP), fails when trying to install IE7 beta.

    It passes the genuine disadvantage test, then b0rks for an unknown reason.

    Firefox, on the other hand, is perfect, so I don't feel it matters much anyhow. I only tried to install IE7 out of curiosity
  • If IE7 is a separate program from the windowing system in Vista? or in the release for XP? cause if it's not then there won't be any more of a roadmap for updating compliance than there was for IE6.

    When the entire OS depends on one standard and the entire internet needs another... well this is Microsoft not the W3C so which standard will win out in Windows?

    This is the problem with tightly integrated solutions... you can't just update one component, you have to do them all at once due to dependencies.

    They sh
  • by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:26AM (#15919099) Homepage Journal
    Now, I'm all for IE improvements. As a web developer with a large number of IE based users, any improvement to IE and its standards adoption is a good thing. But this interview read more like a fan boi in a dev shop that a journalist looking for answers. Especially this question:

    Richard: To clarify then, you're saying that with IE7 you're hoping to support as many of the CSS Web standards as possible, while also having that backwards compatibility. That's your vision for IE7, to definitely support Web standards?


    Did the interviewer have to remove his face from the interviewees crotch to ask him that question?

    -Rick
  • Hilarious (Score:4, Informative)

    by SkunkPussy (85271) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:27AM (#15919126) Journal
    FTA: "One thing that the Trident engine that underlies Internet Explorer has had for many releases is editing support. A number of products have been built on top of this editing support in the past and it's quite a strong piece of our underlying infrastructure."

    Their html editing control is crap crap crap. I'm talking about the control thats been used in Outlook 2003, MSIMN/Outlook Express etc, I assume the interviewee is too.
    * It is very easy to get paragraphs that are indented to the right. Yet it can be absolutely impossible to remove the indentation and align the paragraph with the rest of the text in the email. I suspect it barfs when it has to deal with nested tables.
    * Deleting some text or formatting can drastically alter the following paragraph.
    * You can read in perfectly valid html then it refactors it into gibberish.

    Anyway its absolutely effing hilarious that they think its a strong html editor control.
  • Fixing the fix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:27AM (#15919132) Homepage Journal
    He admits that there were a ton of bugs from IE6 that have caused web developers a lot of pain, but says that IE7 will address those and be standards compliant.
    By this, he doesn't mean that they're fixing the compatibility- far from it. By this, he means that they're closing up the holes in IE6 rendering that previously allowed developers to "hack" around IE. Since IE6 would or wouldn't recognize something it shouldn't or should, respectively, one could make one style sheet that contained CSS for both IE and FireFox, using various methods (such as inheritance) to hide CSS from IE. (I believe we've already had articles about IE7 Beta breaking websites created for IE6.)

    (Granted, the best way to do it is to set up a broswer check and use a different CSS file for each browser. But when you have a tiny website, you don't really care to futz with it.)

    This effectively means that when IE7 comes out, all the hacks made for IE6 will break, and many pages created by that "cousin in high school" will suddenly look like rubbish.

    Of course, those that were made predominantly for FireFox and Opera will still continue to work unabated.
  • Ummmm....of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vishbar (862440) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:29AM (#15919150)

    He's a spokesman for Microsoft, a company trying to move a product. What is he supposed to say? "No, our browser sucks. It's not standards-compliant in the least bit. Have you tried firefox?"

    A corporation claims their product is better than it really is. Wow. I'm shocked.

  • Expanding Box Bug (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:30AM (#15919169) Journal

    From Chris' Blog [msdn.com]...

    ... Solid test cases we can access and bug reporting would help which is why we have a public bug database....

    Last I heard IE7 does not fix the Expanding Box Bug [positioniseverything.net]?

    This is a troublesome bug when you're populating DIV tags with generated data. You don't even have to be doing anything advanced.

    Microsoft knows about the Position Is Everything [positioniseverything.net] Explorer bug list. I've seen IE engineers mention it on their blogs. So I don't buy the "we don't know of specific bugs" routine. And if he wants more concrete bug reports after that set, then theres the Comparison of Layout Engines [wikipedia.org] page which goes through the CSS specs in detail. I'm sure Micrsoft has fixed a bunch of those since IE6, but there are outstanding issues in IE7.

    Most software engineers would pay large sums of money to have that type of detail in bug reports. Microsoft is getting that for free, but he is complaining that he does not have solid cases.

  • The fact is no browser is 100% complient. Even if all browsers could bost 90%+, web developers would still have to spend ages testing and modifying sites so they display uniformily in every browser The big problem is not the browsers, it's a standards body that's completely out of touch with developers and users. They feel that to make a web page, users should need to learn 3 different languages (at least), are constantly depreciating much used tags and clearly aren't working with the broswer coders enough
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:31AM (#15919183) Journal
    One thing that the Trident engine that underlies Internet Explorer has had for many releases is editing support. A number of products have been built on top of this editing support in the past and it's quite a strong piece of our underlying infrastructure.

    This is the key folks. So many corporate database products rely on IE as the rendering engine. If the backward compatibility is lost, most corporations' will see their Crystal Reports, and other SQL engines that use IE as their GUI/renderers will be broken. They will never allow that to happen. So they will sacrifice the standard compliance.

    Of course they will claim their concern is the "not spoiling the user experience" of their old moms or breaking millions of websites. But the real concern is that all these products should continue to use IE as their rendering engine. Their hold on corporate desktops through MS-Office and IE is too dear and profitable for them to compromise.

    • This is the key folks. So many corporate database products rely on IE as the rendering engine. If the backward compatibility is lost, most corporations' will see their Crystal Reports, and other SQL engines that use IE as their GUI/renderers will be broken. They will never allow that to happen. So they will sacrifice the standard compliance.

      This is a false dichotomy in many ways. Will implementing XHTML break backward compatibility with the current rendering engine? Why? It is a completely different mech

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:41AM (#15919288) Homepage
    "We really only did standards improvements - particularly CSS and HTML improvements." Translation: Our work on CSS and HTML is incomplete.

    "In IE7 we really are trying to support Web standards." Translation: we are not committing to being compliant with Web standards.

    "We certainly spent a bunch of work trying to improve our standards support." Translation: We're over budget on standards support.

    "I don't think we're at 90%, I think we're above 50% though." Translation: we're not compliant.

    "Well as you saw I got a little frustrated with the Slashdot post." Translation: I can't point to factual inaccuracies in the Slashdot post, but I sure don't like the spin.

    "The target for that was not just passing any one particular test." Translation: We don't pass that particular test.

  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:46AM (#15919332) Homepage Journal
    This Microsoft insisting that they are standards compliant always reminds me of another time they insisted that they were compliant to some standard, and got completely embarassed:


    I've been attending the USENIX NT and LISA NT (Large Installation
    Systems Administration for NT) conference in downtown Seattle this
    week.

    One of those magical Microsoft moments(tm) happened yesterday and
    I thought that I'd share. Non-geeks may not find this funny at
    all, but those in geekdom (particularly UNIX geekdom) will
    appreciate it.

    Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft product manager (henceforth MPM), was
    holding forth on a forthcoming product that will provide Unix
    style scripting and shell services on NT for compatibility and to
    leverage UNIX expertise that moves to the NT platform. The
    product suite includes the MKS (Mortise Kern Systems) windowing
    Korn shell, a windowing PERL, and lots of goodies like awk, sed
    and grep. It actually fills a nice niche for which other products
    (like the MKS suite) have either been too highly priced or not
    well enough integrated.

    An older man, probably mid-50s, stands up in the back of the room
    and asserts that Microsoft could have done better with their
    choice of Korn shell. He asks if they had considered others that
    are more compatible with existing UNIX versions of KSH.

    The MPM said that the MKS shell was pretty compatible and should
    be able to run all UNIX scripts.

    The questioner again asserted that the MKS shell was not very
    compatible and didn't do a lot of things right that are defined in
    the KSH language spec.

    The MPM asserted again that the shell was pretty compatible and
    should work quite well.

    This assertion and counter assertion went back and forth for a
    bit, when another fellow member of the audience announced to the
    MPM that the questioner was, in fact David Korn of AT&T (now
    Lucent) Bell Labs. (David Korn is the author of the Korn shell)

    Uproarious laughter burst forth from the audience, and it was one
    of the only times that I have seen a (by then pink cheeked) MPM
    lost for words or momentarily lacking the usual unflappable
    confidence. So, what's a body to do when Microsoft reality
    collides with everyone elses?
  • Acid2 Test (Score:4, Informative)

    by netdemonboberb (314045) <netdemonz@yaLAPL ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:20AM (#15919691) Homepage
    IE7 beta2 fails miserably on the Acid2 test [wikipedia.org], however Opera 9, Konqueror and the new Webkit for Safari do perfectly. Firefox does pretty well, with only a minor glitch. IE7 fixed the most embarassing IE CSS bugs, but didn't make major strides towards being more compliant. On the other hand, there are some major improvements in IE7, for instance no more need to have a shim frame to block controls from showing through other DIVs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:23AM (#15919722)
    "IE7 is Standards Compliant"

    "These aren't the droids you're looking for"

    "You can go about your business"
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:03PM (#15920161)
    The fact is that /. embarrassed itself last week by posting a year-old story by Thurott on IE7 beta 1's CSS compliance. That slashdot has refused to apologize for or even admit to this error in judgment speaks volumes regarding slashdot's credibility (lack thereof) regarding MS stories. But then, what do you expect from a site that uses childish Borg-Gates and Cracked-Windows icons for MS and Windows stories (while all other topics have editorial-free icons and/or the official logos of the companies involved)?

    Here's an interesting and educational video on the improvements IE7 has made over IE6 wrt CSS support:
    IE7's CSS support [msdn.com]
  • by wardk (3037) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:08PM (#15920205) Journal

    Only runs on Windows - check
    apple-like icons - check
    Tosses bs errors on competetitor sites - check
    runs viruses quietly - check
    ignores CSS specs MS doesn't use - check

    what's the problem?
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:26PM (#15920390)
    But is it yet HTTP-compliant? Specifically, does IE 7 treat the Content-Type header provided by the server as authoritative [gla.ac.uk] as required by RFC 2616 Sectino 7.2.1 [w3.org]?

    I'm sick of sites that, say, put up a Linux boot CD up as a .iso file and don't configure their website to treat *.iso as application/octet-stream and serve it as text/plain, but I hate even more that Internet Explorer will download the file to disk where all HTTP-compliant browsers will properly render the ISO file in the browser window as plain text, resulting in the server never being reconfigured to serve the file as the proper type because the person who set it up only tests with IE!
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:07PM (#15920744)
    A standard is, by its nature, a "common ground", something that is supposedly the agreed basic form of something. And, well, depending on how you want to define "standard", the browser can very well be "standard compliant".

    If you take the webpages-that-are as a standard, and not the (let's be honest here, quite artificial) requirements of the W3C, it's well within the limits of possibility that the IE7 is sufficiently close to standard. It does display "everything" correctly.

    Webpages and browsers are deadlocked against each other in a need for compatibility. If your page doesn't look right with IE, it is not right. NO matter how conform you are with the standard. People will go to your page, see that it isn't displayed correctly with their IE and they will go, thinking you have no clue. Yes, you're W3C standard compliant, yes, you didn't do anything wrong, no, IE won't display it. Thus it is YOUR fault in the eyes of the user, because "everything else" works with the IE.

    The real standard is made in the real world by real people using real webpages (well, as real as webpages get). Yes, it would be nice if standard would mean that people know about the W3C standards and that they blame the errors in the way their browser displays a fully standard compliant page on their faulty browser. Unfortunately, it works differently.

    So if you define standard as "the way the vast majority of webpages on the net work", then the IE is by definition standards compliant. Webmasters all over the globe go out of their way to carter to the quirks and flaws of the IE.
    • So if you define standard as "the way the vast majority of webpages on the net work", then the IE is by definition standards compliant.

      If you define apple pie as a bowl of dog crap then by definition apple pie is a bowl of dog crap. How is this a useful statement?

      Standards are what a group of people all agreed upon. MS was a member of the most of the working groups that formed these standards including HTML and CSS. Then, they all went back to their respective companies and MS wrote code that did somet

  • by LAN Lubber (974202) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:36PM (#15921498)
    Microsoft Insists IE7 is Standards Complaint

    That would have been the greatest typo evar...

    not to mention a truer assertion for M$ to make. ;)
  • Slow Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Feneric (765069) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:37PM (#15924326) Homepage

    Poor, poor Microsoft not being able to get a browser that meets 1998's standards by 2007. As the article pointed out, it takes years to get it right. Of course, if they hadn't let MSIE rot to begin with, they'd be okay now.

    As it stands, it's already been demonstrated that:

    • Large, well-organized open source projects (Mozilla [mozilla.org]) can do it.
    • Well-organized corporate / open source collaborations can do it (Safari [apple.com])
    • Smallish companies can do it (Opera [opera.com])
    • and even guys-in-their-basements can do it (iCab [www.icab.de])

    Microsoft, one of the largest software companies in the world, is trying to claim they don't have at least equal development muscle to these groups?

    Seriously, the problem is of their own making. Now they're trying to fix the biggest bugs in IE6, but they're ignoring some of the biggest features of CSS that it lacks (like display: table*). It's hard to feel any sympathy.

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