A Request for the IE Team: Embrace the Community

After reading this post on IEBlog, particularily this part:

“I’d love to say more about what we’re working on right now on this front. I can’t.”

… I just felt I needed to vent a little frustration and make a request to the team.


I don’t understand why you guys can’t talk about what you’re doing with IE. It seems like every other important development effort inside Microsoft has opened up and embraced the community by sharing all the latest and greatest things they’re working on (VS.NET 2005, SqlServer 2005, Longhorn, etc.). So why not they IE team? You’re product, more than any other has been under heavy fire for the past few years and it’s almost like you’re not willing to stand up for it and prove to us that you’re working towards better standards support.

I don’t blame IE for the non-standards they had implemented. I’m not some anti-MS, Mozilla zealot that doesn’t understand that IE had most of the features at least two years before the W3C actually defined a standard for them (e.g. DOM Level 2 Events). I actually support you, but, and I think I speak for a lot of people here, I feel like you’ve abandoned IE. I realize you must be doing something. I can’t imagine Microsoft would have actually stopped all work on the browser, but… being that it’s been so long since there was any buzz around the product, I’m beginning to wonder.

Open up. Share with us. IEBlog is a good start, but it’s been relatively quiet and (currently) lacks any real detail on what the IE team is doing. Take a hint from the Whidbey team and get IE into a public bug tracking/feature request database. My first two requests (and I’m sure most would agree with these) would be to deliver rock solid CSS2 and DOM level 2 Events in the next release. There are some utterly frustrating bugs with the former and having two client side code paths because you lack support the latter is just… well… annoying.

0 thoughts on “A Request for the IE Team: Embrace the Community

  1. “It seems like every other important development effort inside Microsoft has opened up and embraced the community by sharing all the latest and greatest things they’re working on (Whidbey, SqlServer 2005, Longhorn, etc.). ”

    Yes, many of them have, and in some cases it’s not been to their benefit. There are tons of internal discussions about being too open vs. too closed and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Right now, for various reasons, we’ve chosen to err on the side of “too closed” for our customer’s liking.

    If you’d like to make feature requests, see the IE Wiki at http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx/Channel9.InternetExplorerFeedback

    – Bruce Morgan
    IE Dev Manager

  2. Bruce,

    Thanks for the reply. I can understand the “too open” discussion, especially with Longhorn (*cough* XAML/Avalon wannabee ripoffs *cough*). First off, what I’m really talking about here is MSHTML more than IE. IE should definitely continue innovate and build a better browsing experience. Giving up any ideas you’re working on that front would obviously be a bad move for MS. However, MSHTML should be completely standards based with innovations coming only after all compliance has been met. In the end, all I really want to hear from you guys is that MSHTML is going to be the most compliant rendering engine on the face of the earth when the next release is made. Oh… and when that release might be. ;P

    Also, I’ve perused the Wiki before, but Wiki’s really don’t work well for bug tracking IMVHO. The structure is a little too free-form ya know? There’s no status, no priority, no discussion thread per bug (as in Ladybug), etc.

    Thanks again,
    Drew

  3. Many people, especially those with blogs, are more interested in MSHTML than IE the shell but of course only one of our many constituencies.

    As you probably know, “completely standards based” means different things to different people. So does compliance. The RFCs have lots of “SHOULDs” and “MAYs”. You can have two different browsers do two different things and still be “compliant” with an RFC. Plus hundreds of millions of webpages exist in the world, some are “standards compliant” and some aren’t. We aren’t going to stand still in this space – I’m just saying this is a complex subject without easy answers.

    But that’s all out of my area. My real passion is the outside MSHTML, in the IE shell.

  4. Yeah, I totally agree about the often cryptic specs, but I think there’s some things though that are pretty painfully obvious that just don’t work well/at all in MSHTML today (mostly CSS related).

    Since you area of passion is IE, I totally understand not wanting to talk about the features. Where then should we look for the MSHTML bloggers? Where exactly are the “Trident” geeks hiding? Have they *all* jumped ship to Avalon?

    Cheers,
    Drew

  5. The IE team owns MSHTML (aka Trident) development, so it’s the same set of geeks.

    There are known bugs in our CSS implementation. They will be fixed in future releases. There are also things we don’t currently support that we’ll probaly start supporting. Sorry for being vague.

    If you read the compatibility entry, you’ll see that we’re committed to letting existing sites work wherever possible. We’re not going to go yank out a bunch of stuff or change existing functionality and break existing sites.

    Keep reading the blog. One day we’ll be able to be more open about what we’re delivering.

  6. Bruce = There are known bugs in our CSS implementation. They will be fixed in future releases. There are also things we don’t currently support that we’ll probaly start supporting. Sorry for being vague. <<

    I think that alone would ease some of our frustrations, but I have not heard that yet on the blog. However vauge it is, it does seem like the first time I’ve heard an IE developer speak about these issues with honesty and plain english. Thanks – I’d recommend posting that!

  7. Bruce,

    Will IE support variable opacity in PNG? Will it support “position: fixed”? Will it fix the damn cache bugs that sometimes make IE hit the server 10 times more than other browsers? Will it support “:hover”? Will it know how to display HTML on top of a SELECT box? Will it ever fix the _horrible_ bugs that plague floating elements?

    I think these are few of the things that bug me the most; they can usually be worked around using absolutely miserable and IE-only JS or CSS techniques, but I personally am starting to get sick of doing this.

    Can’t the biggest company in the world assign 2 developers for one week and release a new version to fix all these problems? No. It has to be with a new Windows version!!! 🙁 There had to be people that do this instead of you (google “ie7”). With all do respect, Shame on MSFT!

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