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The Internet

Journal drakaan's Journal: CSS3, IE8, and things that take too long..., I was grumbling to myself about IE not supporting certain CSS3 capabilities (selectors, box-shadows, text-shadows, etc), when I decided to go ahead and write a letter on the IE8 blog site:

Hi there.

I'm a web app developer and long-time [x]html/css hacker, and I'm curious about the timeline for IE8 supporting at least *some* of the useful new stuff in the CSS3 spec.

find it immensely aggravating that I can easily do rounded corners, drop-shadows, custom checkboxes/radio buttons, and opacity in Firefox, Safari, etc (but not in IE) using nothing more than CSS3-compliant stylesheets.

I always keep graceful degradation in mind when coding, but that doesn't mean I *want* pages to be either ugly in IE or uneccesarily complicated and verbose just because of browser compatibility issues.

When will I be able to rely on IE supporting CSS3 fully? It would help a lot in terms of lowering bandwidth, and simplifying development while ensuring a cross-browser experience that doesn't leave IE users with a dumbed-down view of a web app.

Shortly thereafter, I got a note back from Eric Lawrence on the subject:

The final version of IE8 was completed in March; in general, it does not (and thus will not) support CSS 3.

Planning for the next version of IE has started, and we have a large number of requests for support of various CSS3 modules.


I'm fine with that, but it misses the crux of my question (namely "when will IE be doing the stuff that other browsers have been doing for a year or more with CSS3?"), so I asked another question:

Thanks, Eric...

Does that mean that the next version of IE will support *some* CSS modules when it ships, or that it will support the CSS3 spec in its entirety?

When will we see some blogging on the subject?

...and got a reply...

It's important to note that thus far, only 5 of the CSS3 modules have reached Candidate Recommendation stage: Some modules are still in working draft stage, and it appears that at least one isn't even at Draft stage yet.

We will discuss our IE9 plans as they solidify. At this point, we're primarily listening to feedback from developers.

Thanks for identifying some of your top requests.


I get it. I do, really. I *know* that CSS3 is unfinished. What I *don't* get is why 8 years after the initial working draft, the spec isn't close to being finalized, and why the parts that are simple or relatively stable have not been implemented by all browser vendors.

I make web-based applications for a living. I use a variety of tricks to make them more attractive, and I prefer omitting eye-candy or specific layout details to adding ugly CSS hacks, javascript workarounds, or conditional code just because some browser vendors are more willing than others to provide preemptive support for future standards.

I'm not sure what the primary issue is...politics, money, over-cautiousness...all I know is that the situation makes it harder than it needs to be for me to create simple things that just work in all browsers (a newspaper-style multi-column layout...a drop-shadow on a box or text...alternate images for checkboxes or radio buttons...text displayed at a 45-degree angle).

But hey, what do I know...I'm not coding browsers or part of the CSS working group.

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CSS3, IE8, and things that take too long...

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer