Feeds

Microsoft plays IE 8 interoperability pick and mix

Bet big or go home

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Mix 08 Microsoft has defended an Internet Explorer 8 roadmap that gambles on the successful completion of unbaked standards and qualified support of W3C initiatives.

Yesterday Chris Wilson, IE platform architect, said Microsoft had picked elements of HTML 5 and CSS 2.1 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that it believes are reliable and stable. And, he added, Microsoft will put its own resources behind the standards work to ensure successful completion.

"Once we pick something we invest in that area and put people in the standards effort," Wilson told a Mix 08 session on IE 8 when challenged by one delegate on the wisdom of backing unfinished standards out of the gate.

Microsoft is not alone in banking on HTML 5 and CSS 2.1. Mozilla already supports HTML 5 in Firefox, and there is also support for CSS 2.1 in Firefox and Opera. While support is not universal, it is a beginning; support across all browsers should help simplify and save time on development of web applications.

Microsoft is taking a wait-and-see attitude in some areas. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), for example, is being recommended by the W3C. It is included in Firefox and supported in Safari. But Wilson played the limited resources card and indicated IE 8 will not provide SVG capabilities. Microsoft gave the same reason a year ago for not porting its Silverlight media player to Linux.

"We have to pick which [technologies] we support first. We have to do a complete and detailed job first before we move onto something else and do a partial job. That's certainly been a problem in the past," Wilson said.

There are also no immediate plans to make IE 8 compatible with the newly released Acid 3 browser test either. Microsoft only recently caught up to rival browsers by passing the previous Acid 2 test.

Wilson expressed mixed feelings towards Acid. First he called it "opportunistic about choosing different parts of different standards". Then he said "there are some great tests in Acid 3." However: "I can't state when we might or might not pass it."

Among the HTML 5 features Microsoft singled out are window.location.hash for back navigation of elements within a web page, sessionStore and localStore instead of cookies and UserData, which were not cross-browser compatible, and support for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA).

On the CSS 2.1 front, Microsoft is making a fresh start by dropping the troubleome hasLayout for rendering in the newly announced IE 8 standards mode. Floating-point elements and border collapsing using Microsoft rending are also gone.

Wilson also said Microsoft is looking forward to CSS 3 for box sizing and vertical text.

In other changes to IE 8, Microsoft is working to improve management, performance, security and development.

All add ons - not just those for Active X - will be stored in one place making it easier for users to see what extensions are loaded. On performance, Jscript will collect garbage in the Jscript engine rather than wait for things to be thrown away.

Security is being reworked to accommodate mash-ups. IE 8 will implement XdomainRequest object (XDR) permitting cross-domain HTTP requests, which will require an HTTP header from a server to operate. It will also be possible for users to run Active X controls for a particular site, reducing the opportunity for malicious script to install and run.

IE 8 will feature a built-in CSS, HTML and JavaScript debugger that Wilson said will let developers inspect variables, expressions, style, layout and other elements with the single click of a button. "This is not a replacement for any other tools. We think it's important to have a set of really good development tools attached to the browser so you can see what's gong on in the browser while you are debugging."®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.