What Should IE Do? (23rd January 2008)
Big news in website development:
- HTML5 Working Draft.
- Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8 by Aaron Gustafson.
- From Switches to Targets: A Standardista's Journey by Eric Meyer.
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 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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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:
- Security updates.
- UI improvemets (usability, OS integration).
- Performance (scripting in particular).
- Add-ons (making them easier to build).
But what would I know...I’m just a “web-developer-for-hire”! :-)