back to article Microsoft opens playpen for 'unstable' web standards

Microsoft has unveiled an online sandbox where developers can experiment with unfinished web standards you won't find in its Internet Explorer browser. After years of cold shouldering the web standards movement, Redmond has taken a very different approach with Internet Explorer 9, now available in beta. And with the …


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  1. HMB

    Automatic, transparent updates...

    Google's in a position where it can implement experimental parts without too much difficulty, because of their really smart and transparent auto update process.

    If IE's renderer automatically updated, now that would be clever.

    It's such ashame that Google abused the auto updater for a compulsory uninformed UI change when it hopped from Chrome 5 to 6.

    1. Chris Miller

      Transparent automatic update may be fine for home users

      I think you'll find that most organisations will wish to retain control over the update process for their chosen browser, which is already a critical part of their infrastructure.

    2. Charles Calthrop
      Thumb Down

      automatic transparent updates

      er, no thanks otherwise our enterprise critical software will break.

  2. Quxy

    OK, that's nice...

    Sure, Microsoft has some sharp folks working for them. But if they want the rest of the world to take IE seriously again, they're going to have to turn it into something more than just a utility application restricted to their own operating system. The rest of us are understandably more interested in Firefox, Gecko, and WebKit.

    1. John Tserkezis

      @OK, that's nice...

      Considering web "standards" are created by "what everyone is doing anyway", Microsoft seems to want to formalise the process instead of "just' doing things, and having everyone whine about it later.

      I still can't see the difference, other than if you don't like the new Microsoft-invented "standards" because they're crap, this time you have no recourse because they're "standards" now.

      Actually, I can see the difference:

      Before, you whined how microsoft did their own thing (behind everyone's back).

      Now, you whine how microsoft is doing their own thing (in front of everyone).

      Yep, that's *completely* different.

      1. Quxy
        Thumb Down

        Wrong end of the stick...

        ...I don't have a problem with "Microsoft doing their own thing (in front of everyone)". But if your new browser technology is really so great, release it to the rest of the world for honest comparison instead of keeping it locked into your own OS. Otherwise it's just Silverlight all over again -- who cares?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @John Tserkezis

        I like the way you appear not to have actually *read* the post you replied to...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Embrace. Extend.

    How long will it take for Microsoft to add proprietary extensions to the standards, claiming they have a "better" way of doing things?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And don't forget "Extinguish"

      Is HTML5 the new competing standards battle field?

  4. Mikel

    Work with their beta standards

    Help them to patent the next generation of web standards in its infancy. That sounds like a marvellous idea.

    It's cool they've taken up citing el Reg, though.

  5. James Geldart

    has to be a good thing

    Look, whatever MS's motivations here, this has to be a good thing. If you put together all the developer hours wasted hacking sites to support the vaguaries of previous versions of IE, you'd probably be able to build a complete operating system from scratch so anything Microsoft are doing to address this has to be welcomed, even if it's long overdue.

    Now if they would just either roll some of this stuff backwards into patches for IE6 and IE7 or just stop supporting those piles of cr*p so we don't have to worry about them any more, I would be really happy. Unfortunately we're stuck with IE6 until 2014 though......

  6. Wibble

    How does one treat a "reformed" convict?

    They've stood convicted by the court of web developers as disruptive serial recidivists who care little of the trail of damage they cause.

    It'll take a bit more than a few repentant words to fix the mayhem they're directly responsible for.

    They should burn in the fires of Hades.

  7. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Shock, horror....

    Personally I don't have a problem with this as it shows Microsoft are changing, they seem to have smarter, more capable people working for them the past few years (as opposed to the vista days) who can at least see which way the winds blowing and fine they may still do something their own way but hows that any different from what anyone else is doing? At least they're not hiding what they're upto (a la ie5 breaking some beautifully written bit of html, javascript or even for the sake of irony ASP) and giving developers a chance to have some input into what's happening with the browser.

    However to truly move forward Quxy has a point in that ie should be platform independent which I don't think is beyond their powers and may actually garner some market share (from those sick of how flaky safari can be for example)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same old same old...


    "Yes, Microsoft's new HTML5 Labs site tackles HTML5 in broadest sense. In other words, it's not limited to HTML5."

    and this

    ""With many HTML5 technologies still under active development, our approach is to give developers better choices and avoid false dichotomies around standards support."

    have me thinking that that they are in the Extension phase... of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

    I trust Microsoft to behave exactly as they always have. Don't use their products, don't give them the opportunity to lock your data in to their applications (those of you thinking about cloud services should also think about this potential problem (regardless of who provides the cloud and applications)) and don't do business/partner with them, you'll only end up as their puppet and/or a victim of the greed of the directors (I'm looking at you Novell).

  9. nyelvmark

    Microsoft isn't adverse to ...


  10. s. pam
    Gates Horns

    Spank D'Monkey

    So the zero-day exploits will come out faster -- hey kids we've got this nifty website you can try your latest hacks on.....the exploit will be out in the wild faster thank one can imagine.

  11. Deadly_NZ


    Why oh Why do MShaft have to keep supporting that turkey IE6 when even the Crap OS that premiered it has long since gone to the big black hole in cyberspace.. Oh thats right Mshaft Could Not write anything that was not crap for years and I hate to say after even using IE9 things havn't changed all they have done now is make a Blue skinned Opera/Chrome anything with the Tabs in the wrong place!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Extend, Embrace, Extinguish Also Works Against Microsoft

    IMO, the major strengths of Microsoft are:

    A) A strong sales&marketing organization

    B) Focus on Ergonomics (aka. "User Experience")

    C) Good Documentation of APIs on MSDN. Searchable through Google.

    The Free Software community can embrace & extend all of these strong MS aspects and then go for the killing. For Example:

    a) Tell people around you and in internet forums like this about excellent free software solutions to their business problems. "You can solve you document management needs with either Alfresco or TeX/SVN". "IPSec comes for free with Ubuntu". "protect your trade secrets with GPG" . "Ubuntu has a unified updating/patching mechanism and a unified application store"

    I do think it would make more sense to promote alternatives to MS solutions than to blast them all the time.

    b) The most important reason for Ubuntu's success has been in Ergonomics. Free Software has a huge potential here in simply making existing functionality easier to access. Considerable time and effort must be spent to improve usability.

    c) Documentation must clearly be improved for many free software technologies, also with a focus on usability. A badly documented project is not in a good shape. Many novice users of free APIs suffer from a lack of well-documented examples.

    To conclude, if the free software community learns from the strengths of Microsoft, it can extend and embrace those to become even stronger.

    Reviewing success, in the server field, Linux has already won a decisive victory, not just a battle. Firefox and Webkit have forced MS to drop their proprietary, lock-in stuff like Silverlight. MySQL and PostgreSQL are assuring the sanity of MS and Oracle. OpenOffice has forced MS to publish a huge convolute of their own, competing standard (even if that is not fully useable). Free crypto has forced MS to clean up their crypto mess.

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