Feeds

Microsoft to search browsers for JavaScript compatibility

Online irony

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
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.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.