The news that the latest version of Microsoft’s browser, IE7, will not be fully compliant has already got the snipers queuing up, ready to take pot-shots at Microsoft. The root cause of the complaint has been the admission by Chris Wilson, IE’s Lead Program Manager, that the newest version will not adhere to the Acid2 standards as laid down by the Web Standards Project.
The admission, last week, caused a furore in the developer world where many people are always eager to put a boot into Microsoft Respected columnist Paul Thurrott made an impassioned plea to kick IE into touch “Boycott IE. It's a cancer on the Web that must be stopped.” – although, bizarrely, he’d changed his mind a few days later and maintained that his call for a boycott had been misunderstood. Obviously he followed the Humpty Dumpty principle of words meaning what he wanted them to mean.
His attack on Microsoft not following standards is also rather strange, coming as it does from someone writing on a website that doesn’t comply to W3C standards itself.
But the moaning continues: only today we got a press release at Techworld from a company called SciVisum complaining about Microsoft’s behaviour. “Microsoft's blog admission that IE7 will not support standards at the heart of the flexible, accessible web is shameful”
But rather than more sniping; surely Microsoft should be applauded for its recognition that standards are important and should be adhered to. Wilson is only saying that the company is looking to incorporate web standards at some point, if not at first. “We fully recognize that IE is behind the game today in CSS support. We’ve dug through the Acid 2 Test and analyzed IE’s problems with the test in some great detail, and we’ve made sure the bugs and features are on our list… I believe the Web Standards Project and my team has a common goal of making the lives of web developers better by improving standards support.” That at least is a clear statement of intent and a pleasant change from Microsoft.
Still, it’s not something that Techword readers should get too agitated about. Only 36 percent of our readers use any form of IE, a percentage that has been falling gradually since our site’s launch. It sounds as if IE7 is going to have to be exceptionally brilliant to catch our readers’ imaginations but at least Microsoft is acknowledging the flaws first …now they just have to fix them
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