What Should IE Do? (23rd January 2008)

Big news in website development:

This is the core of our problem - single content that expects different behavior from different browsers today. Many of you are treating this as if it doesn't exist, while I expect nearly every single web-developer-for-hire in the world has written workaround code at one point or another.

Re: Versioning and html[5] by Chris Wilson.

...including me. A few CSS tweaks sent to IE via Conditional Comments are a necessary evil on roughly half the sites I work on. Plenty of other developers use selector hacks.

I sympathise with how complicated the ecosystem is for IE. Forking CSS among the browsers is much rarer, in my experience.

If I were Microsoft, I would:

  1. Freeze IE’s rendering:
    • On IE7, to fit the new generation of hacked-up websites?
    • On IE6, erasing IE7 differences from history via Automatic Updates?
  2. Spend the next 15 years:
    • Making a perfect CSS implementation.
    • Feeding back into CSSWG to refine CSS2.1.
    • Supplying editors and resources to help move useful CSS3 modules forward.
    • Collaborating with other browser makers to get identical behaviour.
    • Releasing occassional developer previews for wider review.
  3. Once complete, ship this as a new mode in IE, with an opt-in switch such as the HTML5 DOCTYPE.

New releases would be made in the meantime, featuring:

But what would I know...I’m just a “web-developer-for-hire”! :-)