back to article IE's Acid trip back to conflict

On the face of it, rendering a simple smiley on a screen seems pretty straightforward. So Microsoft's excited revelation that the yet-to-launch Internet Explorer (IE) 8 has passed the Acid2 test might seem like a lot of fuss about nothing. The reality is that - assuming Microsoft's claim is genuine - it is quite an achievement …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Acid2 is the start

    Microsoft used to know how to innovate. When they thought they'd won the browser wars, they stopped working on their browsers. However, they hadn't won the war. They'd simply won several significant battles against the weakling Netscape.

    Microsoft didn't take part in the first 5 years of the 3rd millennium. Darkness reigned. Microsoft steadfastly refused to do anything to fix the many, many bugs in IE, nor better support the standards.

    As with so many other things in the corporate life of Microsoft, they only react when there's competition. They couldn't care less that developers had to spend twice as much time to build a website to cater for their bugs and 'features'.

    (see for the "Breakdown of modern web design")

    IE7 simply patched a few bugs and created a whole bunch more.

    So now the chickens have come home to roost. The web development community absolutely hate them and have no confidence in them to deliver anything of quality.

    ACID2 is just the start of their penance.

    The world needs a bug free browser that properly supports the standards. A browser where when bugs are discovered they're fixed, not turned into features.

    And an apology from Microsoft wouldn't go amiss for all the wasted hours as web developers tried, often in vain, to get their sites to work whilst Microsoft sat on their arses. The next Microsoft corporate t-shirt should be made of hair.

  2. Kjetil
    Gates Horns

    Which Acid2?

    Knowing Microsoft, they've probably just made their own "improved" version of the Acid2 test which IE8 can pass more or less without a hitch.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I remember as a child

    reading the css2 specification around a hundred years or so ago and I remember these things .. now but I had of course learned many years ago to avoid them as unsupported by any browser. That acid2 CSS took me back to better days now all of them support it I will have to reread it. I would flame the shit out of these user agents but what would be the use.

  4. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Octopussy Remembered and ReVitalised?

    "The web development community absolutely hate them and have no confidence in them to deliver anything of quality."

    Easily solved with one of their own evangelising what Microsoft would patently be doing. Someone with AI Hypervision ..... A Wizard in Advanced ControlLed Programming, would be one answer with Immediate Energy and Impact...... which would certainly lay to rest that old charge of no Microsoft Innovations.

    And if they can't hack the Lead then I'm sure that the Vulcan tentacles might wish to Boldly Go Head to Head against the Intransigence of the Cuckoo.

    Merry XXXXMas, El Regers and Monsieur Paul Allen. Another dDay in AI Sunny Paradise.beckons from the Rising Rousing Spirits in Houses of the Rising Sun

  5. Chris Thomas

    Good Lord I hope this is the start of a war

    You know, sometimes war is a good thing, nobody tends to realise this until you're in the grip of tyranny, or stagnating in a wasteland, but a war, can shake up the ground you live on and turn your peaceful boring life, into something worth living again.

    Has any of you thought that having nice, cosy standards, which work everywhere is a bad thing(tm)?

    Have you ever thought you'd LOVE to insert video directly into the browser's HTML and that it'll work on say Firefox? or Opera? Ever wondered what using javascript to write SVG images directly into the browser window and then manipulating it to perform animations in real time? Ever wondered why instead of just f**king doing CSS 2.1 the browser developers spend 200 years talking and debating?

    Sometimes to say "f**k it!" is a good thing, sometimes, to say, I don't give a damn about who agrees with me, is a good thing, sometimes to say, I'm going to implement this in my browser, standard or not and if you wanna use it, use my browser, then I'm sorry to say, thats a frigging amazing thing!

    I am so sick and tired of waiting for all these guys to stop sucking each other off and start frigging working on improving the system I'm starting to wonder how much work it would be to do it myself, they are so enamored with talking about "seeming" how important they are to each other, they've forgotten that they are on candid camera and we are all watching.

    I think some of these people are just involved with the "standards" process because they actually like being seen to be important, not because they are actually doing ANYTHING IMPORTANT.

    What we need, is someone to break ranks and go for broke, start pushing some REALLY COOL TECH into the browsers and if you wanna use it, you'll need that browser and if you don't have it, tough f**king shit. If the other browser devs want to catch up, let them. If they don't, stay where you are and be a third rate jockey.

    I just don't care anymore about standards, I want progress. I also would like a common theme to all browsers, which is what we've got and if we get more of it, then great.

    But what I would like more of also, is the ability to use advanced features that are maybe not available everywhere, just because that maybe someone comes with a fantastic idea that I love and is copied everywhere else.

    Just a thought

  6. Dale Richards


    I can't say I've ever got Firefox to pass the Acid2 test, although I've not tried the beta of Firefox 3, so I can't comment on that.

  7. Graham Bartlett

    Never mind Acid2...

    ...when are MS going to give us a toolbar which isn't fucking welded to the top of the window?! I mean, this is the place which gave us moveable toolbars on Office and IE and everything - and then they make IE7 and decide that not only is the toolbar going to be fixed, but it's also going to be fixed in a location which doesn't match ANY other program, not even MS's own stuff! Bah.

  8. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Ho yus?

    "It also means that, when IE 8 eventually appears sometime in 2008, Microsoft will be able to hold its own against rival browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Safari all of which have demonstrated that they can pass the Acid2 test."

    Firefox under Ubunto 7.10 failed miserably here, about 20 seconds ago.

  9. James Le Cuirot
    Thumb Up


    This is great news. Being a web developer, IE is the number source of work-related stress for me. No really.

  10. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Mickey$haft innovating? I'm worried!

    My opinion of IE7 is that M$ had to look like they were innovating, so they took a reasonable tool and made it awkward by massively changing the layout and look. I use it ONLY for those websites designed by morons that have generated their websites using crippleware WYSIWYG editors that only work for IE. I know some users that were so put off by the new look they refused to believe it was M$ IE!

    This makes me worried - I expect IE8 to be the Vista of IE, with even worse layout, everything changed for the sake of change, bloated and over-"featured", with NO REAL ADVANTAGE over IE4, let alone a host of better competitors such as 'Fox. And I expect it to be forced on by Vista and XP service packs.

  11. Richard
    Thumb Up

    Firefox 3 Beta 2...

    ... passed Acid2 just fine on my system (XP SP2).

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Just to confirm..

    My Firefox 3 nightly just sailed through the "acid test". It also handles colour (icc/icm) beautifully and all sorts of other goodness.



  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am with the hope this starts another war...

    All the standard stuff should work by now, and this new war should be, who can add the feature whilst allowing a graceful fall back position in other browsers.

    To be fair firefox is already doing this to a degree.

    But, anyway Christmas has come early a new version of Tcl/Tk has just been released (quite a few years in the making itself).

  14. Chris Thomas

    ...start another war

    can you say which features are coming from firefox which are pushing out into new territory? just for those who happen to not know something you do?

    I happen to know that safari is pushing out with css animation, that looks verrrrry interesting.

    so there are SOMETHINGS out there, some people as well, who are pushing it out, I really hope to god everyone gets on the train and starts a "my browser has <insert here> and yours does not" type argument, cause I am sick to death of having to do stupid tricks to get simple stuff done.

    You know what browsers need (amongst other things)...animation, they need to start pushing up the performance of javascript, so that it can run realtime, 30fps animation of ALL dom attributes.

    it's time the web stopped thinking about laying out text like it was on a page of a book, it's not, get over it.

    Having accurate text and image positioning, as well as font and image rendering is great, but there are better ways to layout text, think about how a 3d artist models their works, we need to start thinking big and thinking more complex (not necessarily INCREDIBLY complex), how many times have you said to someone "HTML is really easy, it's so simple that even YOU can do it, don't worry, you'll pick it up in a few hours Mum/Dad/10yr old Cousin"

    you know, that one sentence is a death knell of HTML, writing a web page should be no different than writing a book or writing a complex animation routine, it should take skill and time to acquire. I know it's great that a beginner can write something with very little effort, but it's KEEPING those people in mind, which is holding us back, the argument comes around, it goes like this

    "We can't do XYZ, because it would make HTML to complex, so beginners can't use it"

    oh, you wonder why anyone with a clue wants to drop HTML like a hot rock and go with Flash? because HTML is for babies and it doesnt move, it doesnt innovate and it just stays where it is, professionals hate it merely because it childs them, it restricts what they can do, merely to keep the kids at the back who wanna write myspace pages happy. How many people here agree we should let a (mostly)untalented minority hold back HTML?

    The question returns: Who wants to see a war now?

  15. mike brockington

    Safari is King

    Nevermind about Opera - only geeks have anything good to say about it; nevermind FireFox, which is going backwards (Text zoom is much more useful than Page zoom); Safari is the one pushing the boundaries at the moment - more support for CSS3 than anything else, and better support for CSS2 as well.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Thomas

    I agree with you about HTML. The thing I find realy sill though is that most people I know who have done any web work (Including the little pro work I have done) seem to use something like Dreamwever, the just use coading to get round probelms or clean up the code.

  17. Peter Leech Silver badge

    ...start another war

    Only you.

    If Firefox/opera/IE/whomever brings in a load of new features that only that browser can use who's going to use them?

    Nobody should, otherwise your just end up either designing to the standards as you should so everything works everywhere or only designing for one browser and locking all of the other browsers out. Locking potential customers/visitors out is ever so slightly unprofessional.

    If flash suits your needs better than HTML then you should use it instead of HTML. The only thing is I won't see any of your sites because I have flash disabled through noscript, but IMO if people want to lock visitors out then thats fine. If I come to their site and get told they don't want to sell to me then I haven't yet failed to find a competitor that is happy to sell to me.

  18. amanfromMars Silver badge

    WYSIWYG ....... Magical Mystery Turing.

    "it's time the web stopped thinking about laying out text like it was on a page of a book, it's not, get over it."

    That is as may be, but it does Provide Simple Necessary Vital Virulent Human Readable CodeXXXX to Digitally Animate for ImaginaNations.

    The Webs are capable of Giving so Much More, and if Truth be Told, of Giving Everything. aman on AIMission ur2die4 Mission...... Passion Really.

    And re Acid2 Testing, would that be the Hallucinogen Bath, for Protective Underground Tanking to Solid Rock, Smokey Mountain Foundations. You can bet that Mountain View is Beta ParaNormal..... XXXXCeptional for HyperVizor Adoption and ITs Supplies.

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  20. Colin Renouf
    Jobs Halo

    Maybe sites won't be customised for IE now and break other browsers

    As a developer I usually have to customise for IE, but then get fed up that sites that are customised for IE won't work with browsers that do follow standards. Maybe more sites will now properly support Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.....

    In all fairness to them, Vista is over complex, but MS are getting better on the standards front. AD is now properly RFC compliant for Kerberos (RFC 1510) and POSIX User representation (RFC2307)......

  21. Ru

    Chris Thomas and Wars

    I can kinda see where you might be coming from, given that standards could so easily drift towards a design-by-comittee compromise that suits no-one.

    However, I do disagree on a number of things, including your comments about simplicity. Don't confuse the simple syntax of HTML and CSS with a lack of expressiveness. I certainly wouldn't say that simplicity implies ease of use or swift learning either... using CSS well is not a trivial skill. Nor does a complex syntax imply a more powerful, more useful, or more expressive language.

    The other points you make are interesting and valid, but I do not feel that a unilateral decision to implement exciting new things by any developer of a commodity such as a web browser is a good thing for anyone. If every browser is different, suddenly I must choose between doing an order of magnitude more work or alienating a potentially significant) proportion of my client's customers. If the browsers without the shiny new features fall by the wayside, and so I have but one platform to develop for, what is to stop that platform from stagnating?

    Hint: all these things have already happened, and absolutely no-one thought they were good developments (beyond perhaps Microsoft shareholders).

    Your comments about SVG and Javascript, are interesting... but you may notice that firefox already has good support for SVG embedded in HTML and manipulated by javascript. Why does no-one use it? Because hardly anyone is keen on developing for a single browser. Who is going to make a cross-browser, cross platform SVG renderer, now Adobe is more interested in Flash? So now we are all stuck with flash which is a great inconvenience from my point of view as a *web developer* as opposed to a *web designer*. But the benefits and disadvantages of flash are a whole holy war unto themselves, which I've no interest in getting in to here.

    Finally, I shall follow up your 'the web is not a book. get over it' comment with the observation that when people attempt to impose their own design idioms on to users, they often *reduce* the product's usefulness. PDF documents, flash websites.... they all beautifully convey a designer's vision to an end user, but unlike HTML if that design and vision is lacking the user is powerless to do anything about it. Little things like cut'n'paste, or various accessibility issues spring to mind.

    Suffice to say, simplicity and standards are generally good things. The complex and the proprietory are often an irritation.

    Anyway, I've already rambled too much and too incoherently.

  22. adnim

    Standards Certified

    Having developed a few websites, and spending hours, many hours above and beyond the design and building stage just to make the site work and display as intended when rendered by the two major browsers, is to me, a ridiculous waste of time and effort.

    I should not have to write differing code for different browsers. I shouldn't have to browser detect in order to run the "correct code". The browser, any browser should be standards compliant and transparent as far as webdev goes. I would like to see a certification board set up to grant a standards mark to Internet browsers. Those that do not comply should not get certified and users should be actively informed that such a product is unfit for use.

    Perhaps we could go one step further and make it illegal to ship non-standards compliant software where that software has to integrate and work flawlessly with standards based technology. Foisting huge fines on those that waste our development time and seek to undermine and control standards by introducing proprietary features.

    I use notepad for building websites. (WYSIWYG just takes all the fun out of it, and fades the developers coding skill). I spend the time and effort required to make the site work in Firefox and IE. I'm not a professional coder though I do tinker with VB and C too. Sometimes coding is a challenge, sometimes it's fun. However it should never be frustrating. With all the non-compliance issues web development is often frustrating.

    I have an acid test in mind. It involves picric acid and micro$oft itself and not its bruiser, sorry browser.

    I don't do christmas/consumermas, but I do wish all Reg readers and Reg staff good fortune and happiness for the coming new year.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Konqueror in KDE is still the best

    If you are tired of the mediocre browsers it is time to move to Linux and the K Desktop Environment. Both KDE 3 and KDE 4 versions of Konqueror pass the ACID2 test with no problems and Konqueror provides a wide array of features including the ability to masquerade its own identity as a different type of browser to play nice with those IE only crippled sites.

  24. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Safari is King

    Safari's inability to meet standards is infamous. I used to have to deal with Mac users that insisted it was the website that was broken, not their browser. Apparently, we were "Luddites" if we didn't support the 1% of customers with Macs. My standard answer was that Apple claimed Safari met all the standards required, we developed on Unix so we weren't just Windoze dummies, and that I could load the site up in Netscape on hp-ux at a time when it was three years behind the PC platform, IE4 on Win2k, and Mozilla on Red Hat..... Care to guess which browser was the only one with issues?

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