Mozilla to IE: You will be standards compliant whether you like it or not!

I literally laughed out loud when I read this ArsTechnica.com article:

Most browser implementors are quick to adopt emerging Internet technologies, but Microsoft can’t or won’t make Internet Explorer a modern web browser. Despite some positive steps in the right direction, Internet Explorer still lacks many important features. Its mediocrity has arguably hampered the evolution of the web and forced many site designers to depend on suboptimal proprietary solutions.

IE’s shortcomings won’t hold back the Internet for much longer, however, because Mozilla plans to drag IE into the next generation of open web technologies without Microsoft’s help. One of the first steps towards achieving this goal is a new experimental plugin that adapts Mozilla’s implementation of the HTML5 Canvas element so that it can be used in Internet Explorer.

That’s certainly one way to bring standards to IE, but it’s not perfect by a long stretch as Microsoft seems determined to make it as hard as possible:

Vukićević is confident that a lot of the holes can be filled without substantial effort, but his primary concern is with the challenges posed by deployment. The plugin is designed to snap into IE as a binary rendering behavior, but the browser’s defensive security mechanisms insist on prompting the user before every time it is used. This detracts from the seamlessness of the plugin and makes it difficult to use for conventional web applications.

“Currently, the experience is pretty crappy: you have to click through an infobar to allow installation of this component, then you have to click ‘Yes’ to say that you really want to run the native content, and then you have to click ‘Yes’ again to allow the component to interact with content on the page,” he wrote in a blog entry. “In theory, with the right signatures, the right security class implementations, some eye of newt, and a pinch of garlic, it’s possible to get things down to a one-time install which would make the component available everywhere.”

Let’s hope the Mozilla folks are composed of some skilled witches then. Having a few plugins to help make IE standards compliant would be a welcome development for anyone who codes in HTML.

MS announces IE Desktop Online Web Browser Live Professional Ultimate Edition for the Internet.

Or, as it’s more commonly known, Internet Explorer 8. Alas, not much in the way of details, in fact no real details at all, but at least they’ve confirmed they’re working on it and it’ll be even more standards compliant than IE 7 was. Which really shouldn’t be that hard.

Just as he was the first to talk about IE7, Bill Gates kept the tradition alive and discussed IE8 at the Mix ‘n Mash event here on campus yesterday. Bill was talking to some bloggers about IE.Next and called it IE8, the same way we do here in the IE team hallway.

So, yes, the version after IE7 is IE8. We looked at a lot of options for the product name. Among the names we considered and ruled out:

  IE 7+1
  IE VIII
  IE 1000 (think binary)
  IE Eight!
  iIE
  IE for Web 2.0 (Service Pack 2)
  IE Desktop Online Web Browser Live Professional Ultimate Edition for the Internet (the marketing team really pushed for this one wink
  Ie2.079 (we might still use this for the Math Major Edition)

Of course, some people care about other aspects of IE8 much more than they care about the name. As I’ve walked different people through the plan, I’ve gotten “Does it have feature X?” “When is the beta?” “When does it release” and even the more thoughtful “What are you trying to accomplish with this release?” 

So, yeah, IE 8 is coming sometime in the near future. In case you were wondering.