Feeds

Microsoft to search browsers for JavaScript compatibility

Online irony

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Microsoft's Internet Explorer unit has started the Herculean - and ironic - task of identifying which leading browsers work properly with JavaScript.

The company's JScript development team has promised to crawl through the guts of Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 2.0.0.5, Opera 9.02 and Safari 3.0 running on the 32-bit edition of Windows XP SP2 and publish a series of meaty reports highlighting where each browser diverges from the ECMAScript Language Specification 3rd Edition - better known as JavaScript.

The move seems part of Microsoft's on-going job to make up for deficiencies in the way IE 7.0's engine works with JavaScript and to possibly retro fit grass-root work-arounds into the standard, to improve the way JavaScript works with browsers.

JScript team member Pratrap Lakshman said Microsoft would look to see what - if any - "de facto compatibility conventions have been reached, and the value of codifying such conventions into the standard."

JavaScript has become important to developers and vendors thanks to the popularity in rich internet applications (RIAs), despite pre-dating the Web 2.0 boom.

Despite industry rhetoric and bluster about standards, the problem is that since the JavaScript standard landed on the technology stage some eight years ago different browsers have implemented certain portions in subtly different ways. That's created problems for application developers, who do not know which browsers users will employ to access their software or service.

Highlighting some examples here, Lakshman believes that those awfully nice people at Microsoft can help solve the problem by charting the differences and feeding them back into the official standard. "The point is that JavaScript developers shouldn't have to detect and workaround such issues. JavaScript should work the same across all implementations. We believe this is the first step in making JavaScript better," Lakshman blogged.

Of course, there's no word on what steps Microsoft plans to take to feed "de facto compatibility conventions" back into the official standard.

Those taking a less charitable view of Microsoft's actions might see this as the latest attempt to set industry standards around a piece of its software, while also taking a unique step towards solving unresolved and deep seated compatibility problems in IE.

Microsoft's browser is renowned as being a basket case on standards compliance, being less compliant than other leading standards in recent years according to the group monitoring this issue - The Web Standards Project (WASP).

Earlier this year, Microsoft went as far as to suggest it might give up even trying to maintain standards compatibility and turn the whole standards issue on its head by devising a "compatible with IE" scheme for the next version of Explorer.

The work identifying "de facto compatibility conventions" could see Microsoft stretch IE to fit what's working in the market, and then force the official standard to fit Microsoft's own implementation.

The JScript team's first report can be downloaded here. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.