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Microsoft calls for IE9 Canvas tag

'We want it. But we didn't say that'

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Web 2.0 Expo A Microsoft "web technical evangelist" has indicated that he wants Internet Explorer 9 to include the HTML5 Canvas tag, a means of rendering 2D graphics inside a browser. But for reasons unknown, the company won't actually commit to the tag.

Today, during a panel discussion on the web browser's future at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, a room full of developers were asked whether they wanted Canvas in IE9 and just about everyone raised their hand - including Microsoft IE evangelist Giorgio Sardo. But when asked if the tag would indeed be included, he hemmed and hawed.

Though Microsoft's IE9 previews offer support for certain parts of HTML5 and various other standards, Canvas is still missing from the list - despite the fact that it's already included in all other major browsers, including Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox.

"It's the smallest little spec," Palm director of developer relations Dion Almaer told Microsoft's Sardo. "You can wire it into DirectX. Why don't we have Canvas in IE?"

"Small spec?" the Microsoftee replied. "It's a fairly big spec. In IE9, with the first preview, we support SVG [Scalable Vector Graphics, another standard for drawing shapes in browsers]. We announced support for CSS3 [Cascading Style Sheets]... And we are not done yet. We're investing a lot in HTML5. We believe in HTML5.

"When we are investing in HTML5, we look at the specification. We look at implementing it in a consistent way, so it works as well across browsers, and we look at performance. We want you to have a very fast experience."

Mozilla's Brendan Eich disputed Sardo's "large" claim. "Canvas is pretty small. It's like your postscript level to 2D graphics. We have implemented it for five years now. It's easy."

But Microsoft was unmoved. After the panel discussion, Sardo and his PR handler confirmed that Microsoft has not committed one way or another on Canvas, and though Sardo said the size of Canvas isn't the issue, he insisted that the Canvas spec is indeed large. "If you look at the HTML5 spec, all of it is large," he told The Reg.

Though Microsoft was praised after announcing that IE9 would embrace HTML5, the company has been hit with more than a little criticism in recent days over the specifics of its implementation. Last week, the company said that it would handle HTML5 video using the closed and patented H.264 codec - and it's one of the patent holders. ®

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