back to article IE9 - the big questions and Microsoft's half answers

“HTML5 will enable a new class of applications,” says Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's Internet Explorer general manager, speaking to the press at the company's Mix10 conference in Las Vegas. But exactly what parts of HTML5 will the company support? And what will happen when changes are made as the standard evolves? Hachamovitch …


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  1. h 6

    First glance

    at first glance of the headline i saw "IED - ..."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No excuse

    To suggest XP is incapable of running code that utilises the GPU is utter rubbish, there are plenty of applications out there making use of GPUs, ok most of them are proprietary but there's nothing to stop MS creating an abstraction layer - in fact they have already done so it's called dx 10.

    There's also no reason why they can't code IE9 to run in a sandbox either. In fact it is what they SHOULD be doing. In which case the security or lack of of the underlying OS shouldn''t be too much of a problem. The reality is, by not supporting what is still and will be for some time the most common OS on the planet they just encourage a disjointed web again and web developers will continue to have to write different code for different browsers.

    They really are a bunch of wankers.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "no reason why they can't code IE9 to run in a sandbox"

      Oh yes there is : it's because IE is "tied into the OS at the system level"

      or somesuch rubbish like that if I recall correctly the minutes of the DOJ trial.

      And, given that the DOJ lost its balls somewhere between dragging MS to court and actually wanting justice done, nothing has been done about it since.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern OSs and strategies

    If HTML5 and CSS3 functionality require a 'modern operating system', how come the even greater functionalities offered by Silverlight have no problem running on XP?

    Also, I wonder if Microsoft's new-found drive to embrace standards is more devious than it appears (in a Soylent Green kind of way). The gist of Hachamovitch's message is that once Microsoft define their 'version' of HTML5, it has to stay that way forever. With draft specs like HTML 5 and CSS3 being moving targets, isn't there a risk that whatever MS rolls out now will have to become the fixed standard due to IE's leading market share (Sorry Firefox, you're not at the top table) and any further changes and tweaks made by other vendors or the W3C will simply cause differences between browsers - exactly what has tried to be avoided so far?

    Microsoft may, in effect, be trying to push the HTML5 and CSS3 specs into a corner of their own making, hoping that everyone else then has to follow their lead and exist in their very long shadow, or go off and do something else. Something 'obscure'.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      IE doesn't have top market share

      Quote: "With draft specs like HTML 5 and CSS3 being moving targets, isn't there a risk that whatever MS rolls out now will have to become the fixed standard due to IE's leading market share (Sorry Firefox, you're not at the top table)"

      Now that it has badly fragmented into 3 different versions (6, 7, and 8) which, with 9, is soon to be 4, the market share for any one version of IE is barely higher than that of Firefox, and most are lower.

      IE 8 has just about superceded it if the latest Net applications figures are anything to go by, but it has taken well over a year to get there. When IE9 is eventually released, the total IE share by that point will probably make it the minority browser (less than 50% share altogether - especially with the EU's browser ballot ruling making it easier for others to compete). And if IE9 takes just as long to gain traction as IE8 then we won't be seeing a 'HTML5' capable browser from MS becoming dominant at all.

      In other words, MS's implementation of HTML5 is never going to be an enforced 'standard' in the same way as before because they are never again going to reach more than 50% of browser market share.

      And thank fuck for that.

  4. Lance 3


    I'm surprised that Microsoft is showing interest in the H.264 camp. I guess they looked at the two evils, Ogg (Google) on one-side and H.264 (Apple) on the other.

    They should just play both camps or none at all. I guess that they either hate Google more or that they cost them more revenue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ogg isn't from Google

      Mozilla are the main drivers for Ogg adoption, dimwit. Google is hedging its bets by supporting both H.264 and Ogg.

    2. Jerome 0


      I'm surprised they're not using WMV instead.

      1. Oninoshiko

        not supriseing...

        Not supriseing at all. WMV is not a codec, it's a container format.

        Not to put to fine a point on it, but OGG is also a container format rather then a codec, the codec in question is Theora.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    No IE9 for XP??

    Thats OK, we dont want cr@ppy M$ browsers anyway.

    Viva Le FOX!!

  6. Keith Doyle
    Gates Horns

    Modern Browser?

    "Building a modern browser requires a modern operating system."

    What a joke. The feature we're talking about here is Direct2D-- a 2D API? Give me a break. 2D APIs have been in "modern operating systems" long before Windows even existed. And some reports show that code written for Direct2D is larger and more complicated than code designed to do the same operations with Direct3D, so the only need for it is purely artificial. This is clearly a bogus limitation in order to kludge together some reasons to upgrade XP. But sorry, the only reason to upgrade from Windows XP is stimulus for Microsoft, which IMHO, needs to earn it with something other than chair-throwing subterfuge such as this.

    And sorry MS, my upgrade of XP is going to be to Ubuntu, not W7. The only thing holding me back from doing it sooner rather than later is the availability of a certain application which is currently being ported to Linux, so it won't be long now.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Modern Browser?

      "Building a modern browser requires a modern operating system."

      Yep. That reminds me of the old joke about MS being a two-bit OS built on a 8 bit DOS, raped and mangled to make it a 16 bit WIMP.

      17 or 18 years on and it's now 32 and 64 bit ... but I'll bet you a penny that it still has some of those 8 bit things left hanging in there.

      What MS really need to do is BUILD a modern operating system. Start again from scratch like Apple did. It'd give them a chance to start afresh and concentrate on things like - ooo, security...

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    SMIL animation is part of SVG

    And, as far as I can test, better supported than CSS transformations - from 2003 - still draft from 2009 but the specification explicitly refers to working nicely with SVG.

    I prefer CSS to XML-attributes both for reasons of readability but more importantly to separation of content from presentation - apply different animations simply by changing stylesheets but as things stand: SVG animation is the only way to do stuff.

    So, do we bombard Microsoft with all the examples that don't run the way they should according to the specifications?

  8. Harry

    "If there is a move away from plug-ins ..."

    Yes please. Sites shouldn't need plugins to work.

    "... for rich internet applications"

    Hmmm, what's actually needed, on MOST web sites, is LESS "richness" and more functionality.

    You do that by going back to plain HTML, making them less flashy, cutting out most of the unnecessary animation and distraction and concentrating on content rather than presentation.

    Richness shouldn't be part of the intention. Just make sure they work -- without spyware going via third party sites or unnecessary annoyances.

  9. heyrick Silver badge

    Gun, foot, bang!

    Many systems run XP, even now. For a big brower to shun it is like slamming a door in your face, repeatedly.

    But, hey, who still willingly uses IE anyway? Companies saddled with it are probably _still_ using IE6 (eek!) and those of us with a choice will have chosen IE-replacement.

    Oh, and Microsoft? Too damn late to jump on the "ooh, j'adore les standards!!!" bandwagon. That one packed up and left the station a decade ago, and the reason some are lumped with IE6 is due to how badly you screwed this up... so don't come crying about your standards support, the others do it better than you ever could.

  10. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    I Finally Gave Up...

    ...on IE8. Actually it was Flash that tormented me so, every time i opened a new browser window, i was forced to re-download.

    In chrome it was a non problem.

    Will Flash please die?

    1. Andy Jones

      Why is this Flash's problem?

      So it works in Chrome but not IE8, but it is Flashes problem? Something is seriously wrong with your logic there matey. To me it seems that IE8 is the one with the problem. For a start you have to redownload it when you open a new tab - which you do in IE8. It would be the problem of Flash if you had to redownload it if you tried to open a new Flash object.

  11. ArmanX

    Standards? We don't need no steenkin' standards!

    “The Acid3 test is something that some folks use as a proxy for standards support. It’s 100 tests. It exercises about a dozen different technologies, some of which are under construction, some of which are less under construction. The most important thing: as IE9 supports more of the markup that developers actually use, the score will continue to go up, as a side effect.”

    Or, to translate that: "Using someone else's 'standard' makes us look bad. Instead, we'll make one up after we've written this thing, and say we're 100% compliant. Also, by 'less under construction', I mean 'we don't even know how that works'."

    And this is why I use Opera. Or Firefox. Or Lynx...

    1. Luke Peters

      Or in other words....

      "The Acid3 test is just like, a test, maan. It's not like, real acid"

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Excellant, so in 10 years...

    when we will have finally got rid of XP (as long as some of my customers use XP that is what i have to program for or I loose sales) I may be able to use these new features. If MS just gave up making browsers and concentrated on what they were good at we would all better off.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      MS concentrated on what they were good at

      do you mean pretty development platforms which make idiots think they can code?

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        MS concentrated on what they were good at

        You mean marketing and bullying suppliers, surely.

  13. Alastair 7

    Re: Standards? We don't need no steenkin' standards!

    Nah, MS is in the right on this one. The latest ACID test includes standards that haven't even been ratified yet. Microsoft are damned if they do ("Microsoft implementing non-standard code AGAIN") and damned if they don't ("Microsoft won't implement popular functionality!"). The ACID3 test doesn't even pass a W3C validator, so what's it to be?

    What we need is for these standards bodies to stop dragging their feet and get on with this stuff. How difficult is it to decide how border radius is notated?!

  14. Big-nosed Pengie

    In other words

    More shite from the world's top shitemaker.

    By the time they release it the number of users of Ayeee will be 0.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    "Building a modern browser requires a modern operating system."

    Sounds crazy I know, but got to agree with this. XP is old, and it needs to start dieing. New computers should not be shipped with it.

    Don't get me wrong - XP has been amazing, but the world needs to move on and before long its going to start holding things up, so in a way I am glad to see that IE9 won't support it.

    Talking of things that need to disappear, IE6 has to go. I wish that they would push out a newer version of IE - even if it were only 7 - as a mandatory Windows Update.

    For the record - I am a Firefox user and in no way a Microsoft or Mac fanboy. I just see it as it is in my opinion.

    1. TheRobster

      This is a title, satisfied?

      I have to agree with this. The problem Microsoft have is that XP is now two operating systems out of date, regardless of your opinions of Vista or W7. No other modern Microsoft browser has hung around as long. W-95 was replaced by W-98 and widely accepted within 2-3 years. W-98 was replaced with W-2k / W-XP after about 4, and again was widely accepted. XP has been around nearly 10 years, and people don't want rid of it yet.

      Unfortunately, in XP, they made a halfway stable, decent system, once it was patched. It could run on hardware not much better than 98 so people didn't need to replace their PC to run it.

      Between all the graphics fussyness and what have you, Vista and W7 need massive system updates for most people. My computer is not the fastets, but still pretty handy, and the 40Gb hard drive is great, but Vista would eat that up (according to its own specs) so why would I bother?

      I understand Microsoft not wanting to support XP for another 10 years, it is old, it is out of date and there is no money in it, but Microsoft have made a rod for their own back. As good as W7 may be, it appears that the general population don't see the outlay required to replace their OS as necessary. Microsoft wanted to make an OS that everyone could use. They managed that, and need to remember that they are not dealing with the same clientèle they used to. People with computers aren't mostly tech-geeks anymore, they are mostly not and as far as they are concerned they bought a product like you or I would buy a TV - once its bought, thats it, it goes in the corner of the room and does its thing with out having to mess about with it.

      Having said all that, I still agree with Microsoft. They've been giving plenty of warning about halting support for XP for ages and have pushed the deadline back a few times. And it's not just Microsoft, there isn't a company in the world who support their old products indefinitely, regardless of how popular they are.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    XP support... we go again.

    1st up I run XP, it is now almost a decade old, how long should a company support a legacy application. Security updates, fine, but new software, give me a break.

    Does the latest firefox run on 10 year old macs? No.....

    Oh I guess that M$ must support soon to be obsolete software.

    If your that frikin worried

    a) upgrade to a new version of Windows or

    b) use a different browser.

    get over it will you.

    Right, now that's sorted I'm off to find out why the lastest songs are not availbe on casette single to use in a 10 year old car stereo.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    xp fans

    XP fans need to realise it's history, doesn't matter if it 'works' - it needs to be put in the past. Like previous posts, XP been extremely good but please let it go. XP been release for over 9 years, seriously do you want lifetime support for it and development? keep dreaming forever in that case!

    Yes it does cost to move to another m$ft OS but lets be honest who here paid for there license (aimed at computer builders here). Practically the only people around here nowadays who has a legit copy of Win7/Vista are those who brought it with there PCs/Laptops. (PS: i like to clearly state i do own a legit copy of Win7 that came with my laptop lol)

    And yes, Flash needs to die! Bring on HTML5 and GPU rendering to the 'modern browser'. I couldn't careless if that was IE9, Firefox, Chrome or Opera!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Jobs Horns

      Re: xp fans

      "XP fans need to realise it's history, doesn't matter if it 'works' - it needs to be put in the past."

      I think you can stop there. You probably have the support of most of the El Reg readership at this point, but the rest of the human race just rolled their eyes and thought "tosser".

      Read and repeat: It bleedin' well does matter if it works. XP users have a system that works and which by now has had all its costs amortised into nothing. They know how to use it. They know where everything is. They look at Windows 7 and their mouths hang open in disbelief that Microsoft would so willingly abandon a market monopoly by changing everything's name and moving everything around so that an XP-literate adult has to spend ages re-learning how to do all the stuff they bought the machine for. They gasp at the suggestion that they might have to spend several hundred smackers for the privilege. Finally, they turn to the smiling geek telling them how wonderful it all is and how they really ought to ditch their old working system for a new non-working one, and shake their heads and walk off.

      Please, get out more. You clearly need to re-establish contact with normal people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ken hagan

        "but the rest of the human race just rolled their eyes and thought "tosser"."

        Am not sure how you think your "opinion" speaks for the rest of the human race..

        Some people around the globe would like a more shiny graphical toy to play with, some won't, some just don't care. To say only techy nerdy/geeky people prefer window 7 is simply not true. There are plenty of people who prefer Linux based systems. Yes, you do have to pay for it but this is business.

        Mankind has done so and will continue doing so in attempts (yes i repeat 'attempt') to improve what they already have. When you design certain things, you are bound to limitations, you can't always improve something when it's foundation limits you (yes that is the kernel am talking about). Some parts of the kernel can be improved and other parts can't.

        Everything is built to a limitation. XP is still history weather you like it or not, might be a sad fact but nevertheless a fact.

        EVERYONE hates changes, but sooner or later you have to adapt to change. Survival of the fittest. You don't see people living in stone ages still do you? To put it into context RE: "It bleedin' well does matter if it works".... do you still see people using stone based sharp object to cut food? Ooo didn't you say it bleeding does work?... i think i made the point.

        And finally Ken, you can't justify by saying 'non-working one'. Win7 works perfectly on mine, drivers installed automatically and everything just worked. Not once had a blue screen.

        PS: Please, get out more. You clearly need to re-establish contact with normal people. ----- continue flaming as one can't clearly appreciate an opinion.

      2. The Original Steve

        That's fine...

        ... Until they go screaming to the geek in another 12 months time saying "I can't view stuff online, my new applications don't work and my new printer doesn't have a driver for my 10 year old PC.".

        And being the geek that told them to ditch XP 2 years previously I'll say... "I told you so".

        The IT world is not based around a few tight arsed consumers who don't care about anything other than stretching out the life of an 8 year old purchase. Times change. Technology changes. And I for one will not left people who hold that sort of attitude change the progression of technology as a whole for everyone else.

        They want 8 year old hardware running a 10 year old OS running without modern security protections (UAC, ALSR, DEP) then that's up to them. However lambasting the worlds biggest technology company as they won't support it doesn't help anyone.

        Sooner people more off XP and onto OS X / Ubuntu / Windows Vista or 7 the better it will be for everyone as a whole. From a security and compatibility point of view at the least.

  18. Mage

    Who needs IEx anymore?


    Firefox or Opera will likely be a better choice for W2K, XP, Vista, Win7 and Win8

    Chrome? No thanks to spyware and the Ministry of Love.

    Safari? A browser that in the past tried to install iTunes and produced by the most arrogant Tech Company. No Thanks. Pointless as is everything Apple. Better Ubuntu than OSX as Windows Alternative.

  19. The BigYin

    Interesting Tactic

    They will support enough HTML5 to crow about how much they work hard for standards. But not enough to actually do anything. Cue web devs/designers tearing their remaining hair out trying to get stuff to work in IE9 like it does in Opera, Firefox, Safari, Chrome... A bit like IE6 really (which we'll *STILL* have to support anyway...)

    MS will slowly steer people towards Silverlight as it is more "feature rich" and "cross-platform", thus locking companies ever more into the MS world and preventing competition.


    Extend (...perhaps Evade or Exchange in this case?)


    We have been here before. We should remember our history (actually, our present. I'm looking at you, IE6).

    Either they get with the program and support the standards in their entirety (c'mon, if ickle Opera can do it, surely it's not beyond the might of MS; hell, they could even just use some FOSS modules) or it is all just PR bullshit.

    1. MacroRodent
      Thumb Down

      Re: Interesting Tactic

      Almost exact what I was going to post! This is just Microsoft being Microsoft. Implement enough of the standard so you can claim adherence to it, but somehow ensure the implementation is useless. They probably have experts specializing in such crippling... The classic example of this is probably Windows NT POSIX support: I guess everything that the first version of the POSIX standard considered mandatory can be said to be there, but _absolutely_ nothing else that unix-type systems provided even already in early 1990's. So it was basically limited to command-line programs that interacted with only the file system... Not to mention that documentation on using it was hard to find.

      Clearly MS is planning to repeat the execise yet again, this time with HTML5.

  20. Daniel 1

    The proof is in the future-proofing

    This rather underlines that fact that - however relevant to today's problems it may be - building in Silverlight is building with tomorrow's obsolescence (all the Flash was the 'pragmatic' approach, a few years ago).

    The correct approach, is to build for graceful degradation - whereby users of inferior platforms like XP can still navigate to, and use, your content, while the incentive exists for them to get with the times and use something better. We should be developing web content that we can put a sign on, that says "Best viewed in something that hasn't been invented, yet".

  21. Anonymous Coward

    MS can't tell a*se from elbow

    Microsoft's Internet Explorer general manager said, "If I made a list of all the things for the HTML5 spec to do next, it’s not clear that the HTML5 video codec would be near the top"

    It's not clear? He's the manager! If it's not clear to him where the priorities lie then who is it clear to? No wonder their software is such a pigs ear if even the managers aren't clear which features are in scope etc

    Bring back the halycon days of DOS - we know it worked and MS knew the spec simply because they bought it instead of coding it themselves!

  22. Anonymous Coward


    "The end, that we’re all trying to get to, is that developers can use the same markup everywhere."

    If they'd followed a fucking standard, we already could.

  23. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    Plus sa change

    And once again the entire industry holds it's breath, waiting for Microsoft to decide which thumb to pull out of it's arse. God it's frustrating. Or it would be, if I was daft enough to use IE in the first place.

    Their biggest problem is the slow, monolithic way in which they update IE. Mozilla can churn out an update for a new tag or HTML feature, while it takes Microsoft three years to decide whether or not to implement it. In the meantime their customers suffer.

    And I love how he's all luvvy-duvvy with the "standards people" and tries to claim other browser manufacturers aren't. More blatant lies from the Redmond standards-avoidance machine.

  24. John Navas

    Silverlight just a stopgap

    The glaring lack of an x64 version suggests Silverlight is more about countering Flash than about looking toward the future. HTML5 will prevail.

  25. Daniel 1

    Re: xp fans

    Ken, I think you're forgetting what a lot of people forget, about what it was like working in a shop that had any mixture of Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000, in it, at the start of the last decade..

    Where was that vital system file? C:Windows\System32? C:Windows\System\System32? C:\WinNT\Sysyem32? c:\Windows\Winnt\System32? Or maybe just some random directory located somewhere below System32\etc - wherever System32\etc was? Linux distributions have nothing on what Windows has historically been like. It's why we ended up with "DLL Hell" in the first place. Get through three scanners, two printers and a few trial copies of Adobe Photoshop, and your harddrive would end up littered with dozens of copies of a driver for a compact camera that you'd never even owned - all because each crappy configuration disk had found some new, and exotic, location to hide it in!

    The homogeneity we have enjoyed for most of the last decade has been a homogeneity that Microsoft's customers have imposed on Microsoft, by insisting on a continuation of XP support. I can perfectly understand people's unwillingness to move on from XP, since the situation you describe regarding Vista and Windows 7 (moving stuff around) is actually a return to normal service, not some new departure.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Response from Microsoft

    Microsoft have issued a very wet and slippery response, clearing up the matter of 'misinterpretation' with regard to their perfectly honest test results.

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