back to article Microsoft promises IE web-standards love

Internet Explorer chief Dean Hachamovitch has committed Microsoft to standards and working with standards bodies, after years of going its own way on the browser. Microsoft's IE general manager used the launch of IE 8 to tell Mix 09 that Microsoft would continue to engage with the web and developers on compatibility and …


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  1. alex

    a step in the right direction

    We develop web sites for a living. Thru us, clients invariably discover we are not fond of IE. Developers may need to ensure IE operability due to market share, but we are certainly not shy about expressing our views. We often steer clients to better browsers and explain how MS is costing them money in extended development time for their sites.

    It has always seemed that when there are two ways to do something, the right way and the wrong way, MS will always choose the wrong way if it gives them a competitive advantage. And while IE8 does look to be a step in the right direction, personally I'll just be happy to see IE6 finally die.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "There are a lot of folks asking about Canvas and Smile [graphics code beloved of social networks]."

    He meant SMIL (pronounced 'smile'), which is an XML animation scheme. It allows you to animate SVG (or other markup) with little, or no JavaScript.

  3. Paul

    Embrace Extend Extinguish

    Nothing new here, move along.

    If you believe that malarkey, then I'm sure you'll love the new Silverlight extension that will be shipped as part of the new version of windows. All your problems will disappear into a cloud of sweet vapour.

    Us poor drudges that make websites work will just have to cop it in the neck as usual. Anyone want to bet how long it'll be before flash gets broken or UAC'rd by an update?

  4. GreyCells
    Jobs Horns

    Lack of SVG sums up Microsofts 'commitment'

    The long list of excuses as to why Microsoft did not, cannot, will not implement SVG pretty much says it all about their commitment to open standards. "We'll implement standards only if it's to our advantage and to hell with the developers (developers, developers, developers ad infinitum).

    Having worked through 'til 2am last Sunday to work around the various incompatibilities and bugs in IE6 and 7 (severely disrupting my family life and the following work day), I don't think Microsoft really care about anything or anyone except themselves. IE8 will just be another bunch of incompatibilities and bugs that we'll have to work around, so I'm really looking forward to that....

    As a developer, I don't care what browsers people use, so long as it is not any version of IE - what does that say about Microsoft's standing in the developer community?

  5. Tim Roberts
    Paris Hilton

    IE standards compliant?

    I'll believe that when I see it. After years of doing what they like there is some way to go.

    Paris because she is compliant

  6. Adam
    Thumb Down


    If Microsoft REALLY cared about web developers then they would do something about all the people who are STILL using IE6 who make our lives a misery every. single. day!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Bandwagon jumping...

    not Microsoft but the Register. Are you now getting news from Twitter? Are you the BBC or something and have this sad little love affair with this here today, gone tomorrow web 0.2?

    I am sick to death of "random bloke sends out a message and it makes news".

    Next on el Reg

    "I've had a shit after a curry" one man twitters.

    I would go for FOTW but I don't like to type with Caps lock on...

  8. Mark Fraser

    Microsoft promises IE web standards...

    I'll believe it when I see it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hachamovitch reckoned that among Microsoft's data it found "most people" settle at three tabs, so IE 8's been "optimized for most common processes".


    "We found some empirical evidence that most uses wouldn't spot a half-baked job; so we did a half-baked job."

    I seriously hope the new versions of FF, Opera, Chrome etc. continue to rip MS a new one. I am getting so sacked off with MS these days.

  10. Bruno Girin

    Wish list for IE9

    SVG, MathML, CSS3: 'nuff said.

  11. Bob Gateaux

    I think they make mistake

    I think Microsoft make mistake to be like the other browsers. Internet Explorer is the best one and others should move instead to follow it and its good features.

    Microsoft must not use Jav for their programs to slow them down. Instead it is better that they run the fastest and with more security - you see with the Javs being inside the JVM it is most possible for a spying program to see what runs and copy my password. This is why I am not using the ones like Firefoxes.

  12. Tom
    Gates Horns

    How about the other side?

    Will large parts of continue to only work in IE? How about Outlook web access with standard code for all? MS development tools that produce standard code?

  13. NB

    @Bob Gateaux

    lolling pretty hard at that one.

    Best troll so far today.

  14. Codge
    Thumb Down

    @Bob French Cake

    So, which features of IE do you think the other browsers should "Follow"? Tabbed browsing, speed dials, SVG rendering, Acid test compatibility?

    But wait, surely they are already in Opera, truly the best browser..

    Troll, get back in your cave.


  15. N

    @Bob Gateaux

    Its Microsoft thats following everyone else

    Even then they usually f**k up when they are imitating as opposed to innovating or have you just never tried any of the other browsers out there?

  16. Daniel Bradley
    Gates Horns

    SVG Excuses

    I hear what they're saying about focusing on completed standards like CSS2.1. But not supporting SVG because 'there are a lot of sub factions' is not an excuse - SVG 1.1 is the current W3C recomendation for desktop usage and it's been a recommendation since Jan 2003. CSS 2.1 is only a candidate recomendation since 2007!

    They're promising web-standards love but I can't help but feel like they're just trying to sleep their way to the top again.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    RE: I think they make mistake

    Is this your entry for 'joke of the day'? You should have saved it for April fools.

    Only two paragraphs but wrong on so many levels.

  18. Benedict


    Is this the kind of "love" a pimp shows his ho's?

  19. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Down

    @Bob Gateaux

    What a lot of bolleaux...

  20. Luke
    Paris Hilton

    Microsoft promises IE web standards... ?

    No Really,As long as IE can d/load FireFox and Opera then it will be fine.

    Paris,The tangled web of Her standards promise IE*

    *Indecent Exposure

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I agree. Java is, at best, a poor man's server language. Its performance on the desktop is shockingly poor and the components for creating client-side applications are well behind the .Net curve. Client-side Java developers take a lot longer to implement the same functionality, and have more problems, than developers of equivalent skill using (say) C#. This is due to the high-developer focus of C# and the clear and consistent architecture of the .Net framework.

    IE8 is not trying to be like other browsers. Why look backwards when the world is moving forwards? It is providing the tools that businesses need to deliver their services to clients and customers in a clear and familiar manner. FF etc has not taken off in the business world as it either costs to much in terms of retraining, lack stability, are not secure enough or are simply not compatible with major business applications.

    IE will continue to dominate the business arena and continue to drive forward innovation and delivery of business needs.

  22. Martin Lyne

    If at first you don't succeed..

    try, try, try again.

    If by Attempt 7 you are still failing miserably GIVE THE FUCK UP.

    They don't make money from IE and they engender hatred, even if IE 8 is perfect with standards, i don't care, I'll still get people to use Firefox/Chrome/Opera becuase they shouldn't be allowed to think "oh, Microsoft, they make good software"

    They fucked the developer community with a lack of lustre before.. that shouldn't be forgiven.

    "Not fully formed standards for 5, 5.5, 6" yeah right.. the years between 6 and 7 they were all working away furiously, right? Right.

    All this fanfare for "we've caught up with the competition!"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dear god people

    "If Microsoft REALLY cared about web developers then they would do something about all the people who are STILL using IE6 who make our lives a misery every. single. day!"

    OK mr genius what is your bright idea, how would you solve this issue in a way that

    1. doesn't massivly inconvience businesses

    2. make ms look bad for "forcing" an update on people (which ironically lots of people who whine about ms also bitch about)

    "Having worked through 'til 2am last Sunday to work around the various incompatibilities and bugs in IE6 and 7"

    Funny did a big load of coding myself yesturday didn't have to faff around with incompatibilities. Did however had to do some hacks so that firefox would print a flash image that was on the page, because firefox has had a bug/feature in it since 2002 that means that embeded objects don't print or show in print preview. Yes hacks have to be made for other browsers too!

    "We often steer clients to better browsers and explain how MS is costing them money in extended development time for their sites."

    <sarcasm>Great real world attitude, your gonna go far with that! </sarcasm>

  24. Charley

    Saw the head line

    didn't bother RTFAing. Same bullshit, different day

  25. Matthew Greet
    Thumb Down

    Reminds me of RTF

    Anything from Microsoft should be treated as lies until independent, detailed evidence shows otherwise. Microsoft do not merely do their own thing or write non-compliant web browsers, they have a history of obsfucation, terminating support, vapourware, incomplete documentation and buggy implementations. Withdrawing OpenGL support, terminating DCOM on Unix mid-development, trying to sabotague Java, sabotaguing SAMBA interoperability, killing Pen Windows with vapouware, inadequate RTF documentation, very buggy Visual C++, plain awful ADO, dubious support for ODF... The list goes on and on. And this is the non-Web stuff.

    I'm sure others will describe horror stories about Microsoft's attitude to Web standards. Microsoft have shown themselves to be untrustworthy at all levels, especially when developing with their stuff. There is no reason to believe they've changed.

  26. Scott

    @ Adam

    26% of visitors to my company's site use IE6. All this stop IE6 campaign that's going on has my full backing but not sure that my boss would agree if we lost a quarter of our visitors!

    Still, makes our lives more interesting I suppose.

  27. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Hmmm....stop IE6 you say?

    What someone needs to do is register oh, I dunno, "" and offer some scripts, images etc that people can easily incorporate into their site.

    This would display a funky "You are using and old, slow, non-standard, insecure and dangerous browser" type image into the page for any using IE6 (or spoofing IE6). Clicking the link would open a new window and take people to "" where they can then be directed to the legit MS upgrade and Mozilla et al.

    Wait, what, this has already been done? Gosh-a-roonies BatBloke!

    Why don't you money web mokneys stop moaning and do something about it? I think they campaign needs some help (blocking users is just stupid.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You can trust me, I’m a Microsoft general manager

    ‘Microsoft's IE general manager used the launch of IE 8 to tell Mix 09 that Microsoft would continue to engage with the web and developers on compatibility and promised that Microsoft is "listening."’

    WTF “engage with the web”, eh, the last time looked “the web” was just a network, not some sort of sentient being, not unless he knows more about Skynet than we do.

    Any ways, the translation

    ‘Microsoft's IE general manager used the launch of IE 8 to tell Mix 09 that Microsoft would continue to engage with the web and developers on compatibility and promised that Microsoft is "listening."’ and that Microsoft will continue to ignore everybody else, unless we are actively suing them, and continue to produce the same crappy flawed shit as we have always produced.

    Paris, who has also fucked up on the web.

  29. John Bailey
    Gates Horns

    Microsot is listening...

    Chilling words if ever there was any...

    Is Microsoft listening like our dear leaders listening. Not to what we say, but what we don't particularly want them to listen to?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE: dear god people

    I think you'll find that's Adobe's bug not Firefox's.

    <sargasm>Not investigating the real source of a bug - Great real world attitude , your gonna go far with that! </sargasm>

  31. Paul

    Replacement for Ballmer?

    "According to Hachamovitch, the reason SVG didn't make it in IE 8 along with other W3C standards is Microsoft wanted to do a "good job" on implementation."

    Blimey. If he really, truly means this, they need to oust Ballmer and put this man in his place. Because Microsoft going out of their way to implement something properly would be a first.

  32. tom
    Thumb Down

    "Working with standards bodies..."

    Does "working with standards bodies" mean a) dominating the standards committee (why do I think of W3C?) to force thier ideas through so that the standards will be too complex for small companies and free software projects to implement, and then b) implementing most of that standard, but doing it in a way that makes it slightly incompatible with the standard? Because if so, they've been doing this for years. Mission accomplished!

  33. RW

    I disbelieve

    MS's corporate culture makes it impossible for them to produce a truly standards-compliant browser. They're too used to taking shortcuts (4 tabs and no sandbox!), getting their own way, and misinterpreting standards for IE8 to pass muster.

    And besides, they're so busy herding cats (Windows source code with its billions of lines) to give IE8 the attention and focus it demands.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ur doin it... not at all

    'We didn't include SVG because we wanted to do it right.'

    Yeah, yeah. Same excuse they gave about XHTML with a proper XML mimetype before IE7 came out. Now here we are at IE8, and they STILL don't support that one...

  35. Kanhef

    (still) disappointed by Microsoft

    Microsoft has billions of dollars and tens of thousands of employees. They have the resources to produce amazing, innovative, high-quality software, and yet they consistently do not. In fact, they often seem to deliberately make bad design decisions. I simply cannot understand why this happens. Maybe it's the result of incompetent and autocratic management...

    The IE8 tabs are a great example of this. Say you open five tabs, then close the second one. Does #4 get promoted to a sandbox, since it is now the third in the list? If you open a sixth tab, does it get a sandbox, because only two sandboxes currently exist, or not, because at least three tabs are already open? Is this counted globally or on a per-window basis (i.e. does opening a new window give you three more sandboxes)? If a non-sandboxed tab crashes, will that affect just other unprotected tabs, or can it take down the entire window, including the 'safely' sandboxed tabs? I'm sure there are more such issues.

    Or you can just give every tab its own sandbox. The design is simpler, the implementation is much simpler, less code means fewer bugs and security problems. [I can imagine a malicious site opening three dummy tabs to fill the sandboxes, then a fourth with the actual payload.] Sure, it will consume more resources when someone opens fifty bookmarked webcomics at once, but it's a very acceptable tradeoff, given how cheap memory and processor cycles are these days.

    Incidentally, is there any word on how well IE8 does on the Acid3 test?

  36. Steve Welsh

    three tabs?

    I'm using Opera on Linux. I'm probably a bit out of the ordinary, but I have a minimum of twelve tabs open every session:

    1. a foreign language to English dictionary

    2. another foreign language to English dictionary

    3. a currency converter

    4. my local copy of my blog running on Apache on this machine for proof reading

    5. the actual live copy of my blog, from where it is hosted

    6. a particular Google search that I perform several times a day

    7. The Beeb News

    8. The Beeb World Service

    9. The WWW Consortium (X)HTML validator

    10. The local weather forecast (yes, I know, sad isn't it)

    11. A local site with whom I do business, and

    12. A spare

    I have four desktops (the default in Centos) on which I have a minimum of eleven applications running (including a Konsole session on each one).

    Windose - one desktop, three (or is it four?) tabs. And it runs like a dog.

  37. Joe Montana

    Cross site scripting protection?

    Earlier versions of IE are much worse than other browsers when it comes to cross site scripting... I haven't tried using 8...

    Just some examples, look at the page: which details various encoding methods to bypass XSS filters, many of which work only with IE...

    Also if the server returns a content-type of text/plain but the content of the text file looks like html, other browsers will honour the server's content-type and display it as plain text, IE will try to render it as html.

  38. Jeff Dickey

    @Kanhef, @rw

    Their corporate culture - specifically, their defence against their own corporate culture - make it impossible for them to ship "amazing, innovative, high-quality" software. Go read Steve McConnell's "Code Complete" if you're in the mood for horror. All important decisions are made and cast in lead very early in the project. The initial implementation of a feature is (almost always) the one that ships. Every time I've been in or dealt with MS developers, Agile development, or even research via prototyping, is almost a foreign concept. ("That's what MS Research does.")

    It doesn't matter how good the folks in the trenches are - and MS *do* have some of the best, along with too many who should be digging ditches instead - the process is guaranteed to fail if the objective is to ship "amazing, innovative, high-quality" software. On the other hand, the process DOES guarantee them a "theoretically shippable product" very early in the development cycle, and that was the nail they thought they needed a hammer for. Now, they're using that hammer to beat themselves - and us - silly.

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