Where interoperability information is protected as a trade secret, there may be a lot of truth in the saying that the information is valuable because it is secret, rather than being secret because it is valuable.
We’ve decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we’ve posted previously.
- Dean Hachamovitch on the IEBlog
This is great news, kudos to the Microsoft team for listening to the community and changing their approach.
(for more background see Jeremy Keith and Jeffery Zeldman's articles in issue 253 of A List Apart)
Information architecture. Usability. Accessibility. Web standards. If you don’t know about these things, stop designing websites until you have learned. Competence in graphic design is merely a baseline; it does not qualify you to create user experiences for the web.
Ben Henick has a new article over on ALA: 12 Lessons for Those Afraid of CSS and Standards. There are some great tips and hints here for those of you starting in web development, or those who are trying to break some bad habits gained over the years.
This one struck a particular chord with me, as it's something I've been trying to explain to clients for a while now:
Lesson No. 2: It’s not going to look exactly the same everywhere unless you’re willing to face some grief... and possibly not even then There are an awful lot of differences between rendering engines, and the W3C specs sanction those differences. You can adjust, tweak, hack, and waive, but if you want to preserve your social life, you will learn to let go of the small differences—and convince the stakeholders in your projects to do the same.
Amen to that!
Chris Wilson says:
In IE7, we will fix as many of the worst bugs that web developers hit as we can, and we will add the critical most-requested features from the standards as well. Though you won’t see (most of) these until Beta 2, we have already fixed the following bugs from PositionIsEverything and Quirksmode:
- Peekaboo bug
- Guillotine bug
- Duplicate Character bug
- Border Chaos
- No Scroll bug
- 3 Pixel Text Jog
- Magic Creeping Text bug
- Bottom Margin bug on Hover
- Losing the ability to highlight text under the top border
- IE/Win Line-height bug
- Double Float Margin Bug
- Quirky Percentages in IE
- Duplicate indent
- Moving viewport scrollbar outside HTML borders
- 1 px border style
- Disappearing List-background
- Fix width:auto
In addition we’ve added support for the following
- HTML 4.01 ABBR tag
- Improved (though not yet perfect) <object> fallback
- CSS 2.1 Selector support (child, adjacent, attribute, first-child etc.)
- CSS 2.1 Fixed positioning
- Alpha channel in PNG images
- Fix :hover on all elements
- Background-attachment: fixed on all elements not just body
I want to be clear that our intent is to build a platform that fully complies with the appropriate web standards.
This is very encouraging stuff and good to hear that there is a real push within the IE team to comply with web standards. Microsoft are far from being forgiven for their past sins, but this is a very promising start. Here's hoping they deliver.
(For more background see Molly Holzschlag's post on WaSP about the release of IE7 beta 1)
"Making the fire alarm look just like a light switch isn't an example of daring and innovative design, it's just dangerous."
Also see Joe Gregorio's thoughts on the matter.
I'm not trying to single 37Signals out here, I've got a great admiration for what they're doing and I know they're not the only ones who got bitten by this, but they are the most visible. We need these reminders every now and again that playing too fast and loose with the standards can have unforeseen consequences further down the line. GET and POST are different for a reason, and hiding that difference for the cause of 'design' is to miss the whole point of design.
We're not just talking colour and shape here, good design has always encompassed function too.
Still, it's been a long while since I've been this excited about what I do for a living, exciting times indeed. Now when's that IE7 beta being released? *:)
Chris Wilson has posted some more details about IE7 on the IEBlog, and so far so good. Looks like it's more than just a security fix with better standards support on the way. So far he's confirmed alpha channel support in PNGs and fixes to the peekaboo and guillotine bugs.
In other news Dave Hyatt is rattling through Safari's Acid2 bugs. I'm beginning to think he doesn't sleep you know.
You say you believe in interoperability, Mr Gates. We'd like to believe you. But interoperability is hard work. It means writing test cases, discussing edge cases with other vendors, answering high school students, making the necessary bug fixes, and releasing upgrades. Writing the occasional email praising interoperability simply isn't enough. And your track record doesn't support your proclaimed beliefs.
Hat tip: The Web Standards Project.