10 must haves in IE Next

Some of us had great hopes for Internet Explorer 7. We were hoping that it would offer great support for Web standards, perhaps even on par with that of the leaders in the Web browser arena. Our hopes were slowly smothered as IE 7 moved from beta-beta to real-beta to release-candidate to release version.

In the end, all we got was a patched up IE 6, which while being a lot better still is lagging far behind when it comes to… pretty much everything. And that includes features that the normal user notices. The new UI is horrible. But what do I know? A company with the kind of resources that Microsoft has must have done thorough interaction design and user testing of the new UI. Right?

But the current IE 7 is what we got, and Microsoft is Microsoft and Microsoft does whatever it pleases. So I do find it a little bit odd that Microsoft feels the need to - once again - ask developers for input on what we need from the next version of IE (IE Next). We have already told you that. Over and over and over. In fact, I have done so twice already:

But hey, writing wishlists can be fun, and since a few of the items on my previous lists actually have been fixed or implemented, here are my current top ten must have bug fixes and new features in IE Next:

  1. Rewrite or replace the layout engine. First of all, and the most important thing in my opinion, IE needs a completely new layout engine that actually works properly. Just patching and patching the seemingly very fragile Trident engine apparently does not work. My guess is that this would require a full rewrite or a switch to an existing engine (both Gecko and WebKit are available if you want to use them, and both are far, far ahead of Trident).

    Yes, all browsers have bugs, but compared to IE the other browsers look like they have a resident pest exterminator taking care of the bugs before anybody notices them.

    Replacing the layout engine would remove most of the many, many CSS bugs that still plague IE, so I’m not going to mention any of those specifically.

  2. Implement the CSS table model. Back in 1998, CSS 2 introduced display:table et al., which would be very useful when solving certain layout problems.
  3. Resize text set in pixels. Come on, stop being so stubborn and let users resize all text, no matter which unit is used to specify its size. And no, the full page zoom thing in IE 7 doesn’t count, at least not until it works properly. Take a look at Opera for a much better implementation.
  4. Add support for multiple background images. This would, once well supported, let Web designers get rid of approximately 12 trillion non-semantic elements used for rounded corners and custom borders. Safari supports it. You can too.
  5. Add support for generated content with :before and :after. This would allow auto-clearing of elements without having to resort to the current ugly IE workarounds. It would also let Web designers get rid of another few billion non-semantic elements used for decorative purposes.
  6. Support :active and :focus on all relevant elements. Having to fake :focus on links with :active is getting old, as is not being able to use :focus to highlight text inputs that have focus.
  7. Stop displaying alternative text as tooltips. It’s wrong (Alt text is an alternative, not a tooltip) and encourages developers to use the alt attribute the wrong way. This puts IE 7 in the same league as Netscape 4 for Windows.
  8. Add support for the caption-side property. Being able to put the caption at the top or bottom of tables would be nice.
  9. Support the q element properly. What is the reason for not supporting this element according to the specification? Sure, not everybody agrees with the specification on this one, but just do it like all the other kids, ok?
  10. Officially support running multiple versions of IE. Web professionals need to spend way too much time to test their work in IE as it is. Ease our pain just a little by giving us an official way of running several versions of IE on the same copy of Windows. Not necessarily at the same time, but without having to reboot or reinstall. Please.

Other IE Next wish lists:

What’s at the top of your list of bugs to fix or missing features to add in IE Next?

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Posted on December 13, 2006 in Browsers, CSS

Comments

  1. Add support for generated content with :before and :after.

    And make sure you don’t accidentally allow javascript to be executed via the :before and :after css properties when javascript is turned off. (You know they’ll make that mistake—they’re Microsoft.)

  2. How awesome would that be if IE just decided to switch over to WebKit? haha. I can only imagine the amount of amazing PR they would get from such a move. Of course I can also imagine the sheer amount of broken sites from that move too, but still…. wow…

  3. Well done, Roger. Hopefully the folks at Redmond are listening. In their defense, I want to point out a new solution to #10 (Multiple IE Browsers).

    IEBlog recently posted a solution using Virtual PC. Users can download a virtual image which is a lite version of XP running IE6 SP2. The download is free but is time stamped. It will stop working in April 2007. You can view the page here: (http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/11.aspx)

    I have to say it works great although I would have expected a better solution from MS other than installing a 1.7GB OS on top of windows JUST for browser testing.

  4. As far as 1 goes, they could always take Tasman 1.0 (which shipped with MSN for OS X), which, despite not being updated since 2004, has far better standards support than Trident V (shipped with IE7/Win).

    Tasman, admittedly, although brilliant for it’s time, is now outdated. It is, however, a far far far better starting place for a new rendering engine than Trident.

  5. A very nice list. I agree with everything on here. Curious about one thing, though:

    And no, the full page zoom thing in IE 7 doesn’t count, at least not until it works properly. Take a look at Opera for a much better implementation.

    Why does the full page zoom thing not count? I actually find this to be a far more useful solution than the Safari/FF resizing-text only method. It stands to reason that if text is going to get bigger, so should column widths, images, etc. And what exactly doesn’t work properly about it? Not that I’m disagreeing — I’ve just not seen or heard of any real problems with it.

    Again, great list. Simply replacing the layout engine with WebKit would check nine of these ten items off the list (only number ten would still be an issue). Of course, it’ll never happen - but it’s a great thought. :)

  6. Very good post, I totally agree. We need something different from Microsoft, IE7 has some improvements, but it’s not enough.

    And I still don’t understand the new interface: why they have changed items position?

  7. How bout something as simple as the refresh button in the same place it is on EVERY OTHER BROWSER! Or maybe Firefox-like movable buttons on the toolbar. Either way, switching the position of buttons around just for fun, seems ridiculous to me, and a usability issue which is more of an annoyance than anything else I suppose.

  8. My wish would be a redo of Javascript which currently is way to bulky and slow — Also support for SVG.

  9. Great list, Roger… I often wonder what it would mean to the industry as a whole if all browser manufacturers, including Microsoft, were to agree to all switch to a common, standards-oriented rendering engine such as Gecko or WebKit. It would certainly change a lot in terms of development time, that’s for sure.

  10. “The new UI is horrible”

    Personally I think it’s a great improvement from IE6 and I don’t consider it horrible! My first impression was not that great. I was like a kid lost in a playroom - but my dislikes have dwindled and I find myself using IE7 more often on a daily basis.

    Just an opinion.

  11. I’ve got a suggestion. How about giving up and shipping Firefox with the OS?

  12. For testing purposes, I’ve been trying out this method. Update IE to IE7, then install multiple IEs and viola, all IE browsers (even down to 3.0, if you prefer) on one computer. Has anyone else tried this method? And if so, have you run into any problems?

  13. In response to #5,

    Jeff, the reason is because people may want or need larger text without having to scroll sideways.

    Increasing only the size of the text means I MAY have to scroll down, but I don’t have to scroll in two dimensions, which we all know is a pita.

    -Brett

  14. December 13, 2006 by Erskin Cherry

    Wonderful article.

    In regards to running multiple versions of IE, I might add that using virtual machines is simply not good enough. It wastes resources and overly complicates things.

    While I can understand the difficulty in providing this feature for older versions of IE, having IE7 and later versions without this is simply unacceptable.

  15. Having fought with IE7 on a few layouts over the last eight weeks or so, I have to conclude my only wish would be for IE Next to uninstall its predecessors and offer the user a choice between Firefox and Opera. Never gonna happen I know, but you did say wish list right? :-)

    Alternatively, a commitment from Microsoft to at least match Firefox for web standards compatibility would be a gargantuan leap in the right direction.

  16. “Rewrite or replace the layout engine.”

    Microsoft’s own Tasman layout engine (used in IE for Mac, MSN for Mac OS X, MSN Explorer and Entourage) is always a possibility. It’s pretty much on par with IE7’s standards support, but its code is much cleaner and less buggy.

  17. Here, here!

  18. December 13, 2006 by Richard

    “The new UI is horrible.” Hah! You forgot that MS has a cat, a copycat.

    I think you’ve covered the points that every web developer wants for IE next, Roger. You could add to the list two things:

    • remove that horrible 1px border around every flash content and the extra click and extra spacebar or enter.

    • SVG! PNG!

  19. It’s not a real solution, but at least MS has released a disk image with IE6 for people to use with Virtual PC.

  20. Jeff L,

    What?

    If you are using VirtualPC, normal executables work just fine. What does disk images or IE6 have anything to do with this article?

  21. I’m with Andrew.

    How bout something as simple as the refresh button in the same place it is on EVERY OTHER BROWSER!

    While they’re at it, why not put the stop and home buttons “in the same place it is on EVERY OTHER BROWSER!” It is a very bad design decision.

  22. I can’t agree more with your post, it’s sometimes a nightmare to design for both browsers. Here at the company we don’t use IE anymore, just to check if sites are visually compatible.

  23. Roger I’m with you on that. There is two of them now.

    Got so sick of IEs that just launching IE7 (and IE6 on a virtual machine) is such pain.

    Although, I can see why they use alt text as a tooltip: because so many many people got used to it on different sites.

    But anyways, I’d prefer Microsoft branded Firefox if they’d like rather than any IE8.

  24. I’ve been trying out this method. Update IE to IE7, then install multiple IEs… Has anyone else tried this method? And if so, have you run into any problems?

    Multiple IEs has been working fine for me. I think maybe IE 5.5 doesn’t parse conditional comments properly, but I find it hard to give much of a crap about IE 5 given that 6 came out 5 fricking years ago.

    It’d be awesome for us if Microsoft switched to Gecko, but there’s no chance. Thousands of sites, internal and public, rely on Trident’s non-standard quirks and bugs. If Microsoft abandoned it, businesses would have to spend millions, if not billions, on re-writing stuff, or stick on older versions of the software forever. Not even Microsoft could get way with actively screwing over their customers like that.

    Switching to Tasman is the worst idea ever. Nothing wrong with it as a rendering engine, but why introduce yet another one into the market? As much as I love WebKit, there’d be less work to do if Apple had just used Gecko.

  25. Roger, your list is nice, but… Microsoft cannot change it’s layout engine. When they are doing that, they would kill thousands of applications based on IE, from normal applications to intranet browser based ones. It’s very clear for me, that they won’t make this step now. The only solution for them is refactoring their current code, instead of patching it as they’re doing it now. As I’m with a very bad relationship with the new IE7, and totally agree with you anyway, I still have to say the above.

  26. Roger, your list is nice, but… Microsoft cannot change it’s layout engine. When they are doing that, they would kill thousands of applications based on IE, from normal applications to intranet browser based ones. It’s very clear for me, that they won’t make this step now. The only solution for them is refactoring their current code, instead of patching it as they’re doing it now. As I’m with a very bad relationship with the new IE7, and totally agree with you anyway, I still have to say the above.

  27. Correct implementation of ‘object’ would be nice; as would ‘opacity’ & ‘border-radius’.

  28. December 14, 2006 by Jim Stone

    The sad reality is that we’re going to wait, at the very least, a decade or more for consequential standards compliance from MS. The examples you provide refer to “standards” already 8 - and soon to be 9 - years old. Good enough is, by definition, good enough and it’s not designers MS is asking to define the term.

    “A company with the kind of resources that Microsoft has must have done thorough interaction design and user testing of the new UI. Right?”

    So they tell us but I have to wonder who the folks are who participate in user testing. Every iteration of the UI becomes less effective and efficient virtually demanding use of a mouse to perform even the most routine actions.

    Now I’m not suggesting we return to the days of the “Wordstar wizzards” but I can’t even count the number of hours I’ve seen wasted because, for example, folks didn’t turn on “Full Menus in Word or disabled the “Show Recently Used Items First” option and can’t find the menu item they’re looking for. And now we’re going to move to full-time icons as the primary interface??? Not me but I just know most folks won’t turn them off and they’ll be using the mouse for the most trivial of actions.

  29. I so agree. I wish they would’ve skipped IE7 altogether or just did it right once and for all, instead of this bits and pieces torture. Nothing about web development challenges me more than IE in general. Nothing.

  30. December 14, 2006 by Jonathan Carter

    Excellent article Roger, I couldn’t agree more.

  31. December 14, 2006 by Joel Birch

    If what András Bártházi @25 says is true then how about they make Firefox or Opera the default browser and just keep IE in the Programs folder for applications that are based on it? Not holding out hope for that but…

  32. I’ve decided that Microsoft somehow finds it makes them more money, to have a buggy browser. Why do I conclude this when it actually sounds pretty crazy? Because Microsoft never does anything to wreck their finances. Only when it hurts them financially, will they really do something for more than putting on a good show for reputation sake.

    Although, in my head I argue the fact that they’re already starting to do something because they realize that without a serious browser, they can never win the war of web apps (which they’re starting to get into against Google).

    But then I argue back - for being made of money, why can’t they make something that free software can make? They can. They are financially able to slap together a browser superior to Opera and Firefox and Safari…in a matter of a year. But they don’t. So it only makes sense that they find it helpful to their business to have a buggy browser (and not simply because it saves them money to neglect it).

  33. December 14, 2006 by Tommy Olsson

    As has been mentioned, proper support for OBJECT would be very nice. That would, eventually, allow us to get rid of those silly IMG elements.

  34. Joel@31: why should they do that? :) They job is not about telling people their product is bad, and a concurrent can do it better. The solution is that, but you have to do it manually.

  35. I would definately vote for them fixing the box model so it matches everybody else’s implementation of it - would also be nice seeing them bringing their Javascript up to the same as everyone elses so that we don’t have to use browser checks for doing some things.

    one day microsoft will blow us all away with a decent browser, or of course we could blow them all away :P

  36. Can you imagine if IE converted to using the Gecko engine and EVERYONE using IE updated overnight?! It’s what web developers dreams are made of!

  37. XHTML support. In fact proper HTML 4.01 support too as they still have not got that far yet.

  38. December 14, 2006 by Harold

    If Microsoft were to replace the rendering engine outright they’d break all their own stuff, not only their own site, but all webapplications that were written especially for IE’s weird rendering engine. Stuff like Sharepoint and Microsoft’s own CMS would break immediately as they output complete and utter crap. They make big money out of those and it would be a pretty hard sell for them to just say: oops we broke your stuff with IE Next, you’ll have to upgrade to Sharepoint 2016 when it’s released.

  39. December 14, 2006 by Adam Taylor

    There’s a (known) hideous bug with the way IE7 does Page Zoom, and rather unfortunately it’s associated with horizontally-displayed lists that contain links.

    (In other words, a sizeable proportion of modern sites.)

    Try it; the clickable area won’t resize as the list does, and the whole thing becomes unusable.

  40. December 14, 2006 by Eric Ryan Harrison

    8. 2006-12-13, 21.34 by fran My wish would be a redo of Javascript which currently is way to bulky and slow — Also support for SVG.

    In no way am I an fan of IE’s Javascript implementation. I’d even go so far as to say I absolutely abhor it. However, I would never be one to call it ‘slow’. In a lot of ways, IE’s JS engine actually runs many times faster than Spidermonkey. Opera has, by far, the fastest Javascript interpreter currently available. But IE’s engine is quite speedy in many operations.

    Now, I agree with you that it should be completely rewritten. Heck, I’d be willing to take a HUGE performance hit in IE’s engine if they just were a little more standards compliant in how they actually interpret and execute JS code.

    Say what you want about IE’s crappy engine, but do not say that it’s slow.

    • I will also admit that SVG support in IE would be REALLY nice… :D

    -E

  41. Great list, but I think MS should go with #1. As for IE dependent applications - well they can still provide IE’s engine for those.

  42. Microsoft’s JS engine itself isn’t slow, but interaction with the DOM is sluggish at best.

    Try iterating all of the ‘input’ elements when you’ve got a couple of thousand checkboxes on a page (yes, I know): Gecko does this in no time at all, IE 6 (I’ve not tested with 7) stalls page-load with a busy-cursor for between 3-5 seconds.

  43. Frankly, I’d even settle for MS licencing WebKit, or Gecko, or Opera’s rendering engine, wrapping it in whatever UI they like, then solving the whole mess in one swoop.

    None of them are perfect, but they are all a lot better than the mess we’ve got at the moment…

  44. I agree with Andras above, and I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment.

    By embedding Internet Explorer at such a core level of the OS, many applications use MSHTML to render content — even applications you might not think of, kind of like how the iTunes store uses WebKit. McAfee’s antivirus software uses it; so does AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Streets, Word, Encarta, TurboTax, Outlook, and more. The IE team has to be extremely careful when they modify their rendering engine to be sure that they won’t break countless third-party programs.

    And if you think HTML in Web pages is bad, just imagine how bad it is when it’s used internally in applications, where the “View Source” button is unavailable and its JavaScript need only apply to the IE engine.

    If Microsoft is serious about increasing standards compatibility for IE, it would seem easier at this point to just create a separate browser: maintain one that’s a “real” standalone application, like Firefox, Safari, or Opera, and maintain the existing engine as the MSHTML library.

  45. December 14, 2006 by Pontus Nilsson

    I agree with all the switch to gecko supporters. Microsoft should just implement the following steps:

    • Stop developing IE7
    • Grab a copy of the Gecko-engine
    • Apply UI of choice
    • Make IE-tab a default extension
    • Include themselves and major business partners on the always render in IE-tab global-list
    • Auto update list when appropriate (hopefully only to remove sites that have gone the standards way)
    • Include a local-list for other companies and users to maintain themselves
    • Sit back and recieve praise from the webdeveloping comunity
  46. It has to be possible to at least switch to the Tasman 1.0 engine and still support older applications. Otherwise, wouldn’t it be possible for the next release of IE to support both the old Trident engine and a new engine like Gecko or Webkit? If anyone has the resources to pull off such an effort, it’s Microsoft, and it would save them a ton of development time in the future.

  47. Why do they need their own browser anymore anyway? Not one person buys Windows over some other operating system like Mac because Windows comes with IE. Obviously they have to include a browser, but why can’t they cut a deal with Mozilla or something? Why are they even wasting time developing a product that honestly, they don’t really make any money from, and which is going to always be sub-par no matter what?

  48. Microsoft will obviously never switch to another rendering engine. What would be nice though is if they made it so there was a setting you could enable to make the rendering exactly like Firefox. it would be all coolness for web developers.

  49. I wish the other browsers would step up their marketing campaigns.

  50. Christopher, that’s a nice point!

  51. Great list Roger, especially love #4. Oh that would be too good to be true. Also would add these: * Better Object support * Fix the box model * Fix anything the doesn’t so called hasLayout (I’m tired of remembering what does and doesn’t hasLayout) * Rounded borders!

    BTW you do know they gave us a solution to run multiple version of IE the “right” way. Here is the URL: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/11/30/ie6-and-ie7-running-on-a-single-machine.aspx

  52. “Add support for multiple background images.” How come every other browser supports this and IE7 not?

  53. December 15, 2006 by Dean Chew

    @ 18 (Richard): “remove that horrible 1px border around every flash content and the extra click and extra spacebar or enter.”

    I believe that they are forced to do this because some other company (I forget the name) patented the right to immediately display/run active objects in a html page without user interaction. M$ was promptly sued and added in the “click to activate” box.

    The company doing the suing said they wouldn’t touch Firefox as long as the browser remained open source.

    As for the whole IE issue, creating a non standard browser is the number 1 reason I dislike Microsoft.

  54. I must say I agree with commenter #11 - Julian Bennett Holmes - why don’t they just start shipping the OS with Firefox (or any other standards compliant browser)? It seems to me to be the smartest thing to do. Or just build it on the Gecko engine, which is far better than Trident.

    But then again, why don’t we just build ALL browsers on the same engine? Why should people be so stubborn that they have to get their own engine? I don’t really see the problem.

    Well, I’ll be happy if they only fix all the CSS bugs in IE. And - if they have any time left - improve the security against spyware and such.

  55. I’m not really convinced with these arguments about changing IE’s rendering engine breaking web apps and MS CMSs, etc. Look at Zune. They had no problem screwing over tons of PlaysForSure clients (both the companies distributing the PFS content and the people buying it).

    So many companies are so entrenched in Microsoft technology that if Microsoft decides to change their rendering engine, the companies will just have to update their web sites or get left behind.

    And, frankly, I don’t care that they replace the entire rendering engine. They could just use, say, Gecko for their standards compliant mode. They can use whatever they want for quirksmode. If someone specified a strict doctype, they ought to know how to hack for old Microsoft browsers, so standards sites shouldn’t break and quirksmode sites can use the old IE engine. Everyone wins.

  56. The amateurish UI of IE7 is something people aren’t bitching about enough, imho! The number of times my parents call me to help them find stuff…I’d downgrade back to IE6 but then their PC will be more vulnerable.

    In Windows XP, the IE7 interface is completely out of place. Desaturated blue tabs? No menu bar? Urgh. And having to apply a registry hack to make it appear in the correct location, and have it flicker when you change tabs…the interface is as bug-filled a hack as their rendering engine.

    At least IE6’s interface fits in with XP for the most part. Apart from the abysmal “Organise Favourites” window. Which you can’t even resize.

    And all those buttons next to the tabs means you can’t actually use tabbed browsing. As soon as you’ve got more than a couple of tabs open, their text is too short to see what page they are showing. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

    Firefox gets browser UI right for XP. A “New Tab” button in the tab bar and a “Go” button for the search box would make it usable, even for my parents. :)

  57. December 16, 2006 by Matthew Babbs

    Items 2 - 9: perfect, Roger. Best IE.Next wish-list I’ve seen.

    1: Pity that’s never going to happen. I understand that Microsoft doesn’t want to break all those IE-only sites out there, but I don’t see why they can’t use two rendering engines. Netscape 8 did it, so does Firefox with IETab. Just match that with a Microsoft-maintained whitelist/blacklist (pushed to browsers like Firefox 2’s anti-phishing list) and some kind of enhanced DOCTYPE-switching so everyone’s sites get the right engine. Gecko, Webkit, Presto - it’s not like they don’t have choice of engines to lease. 10: That would be nice, but it’s hardly essential. I followed the guide to installing multiple IEs over at Position Is Everything and it works fine, including the CCs. There are even installers available for Windows and Linux.
  58. It’s amazing how many people still wish for MS to make technical enhancements after decades of proof that it’s a purely marketing driven company. IE will improve to the extent that it affects users perception of IE and MS.

    That is also why MS will never use a rendering engine that they didn’t write. It would be an admission of incompetence. Sure they license technologies, but only from companies that keep stum and on leesh of license fees.

    Brad: argh, no lets not wish for just another dominant solution which defines the de facto standard rather than a competitive market of rendering engines.

  59. Are you trying to tell me that IE7 still cannot embiggen text that is sized in px?

  60. December 17, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Are you trying to tell me that IE7 still cannot embiggen text that is sized in px?

    Yep. Not by changing text size. If you zoom the entire page it works, but you don’t always want to do that, so no, if somebody has set text size to “largest” IE ignores text sized in px. They call it a “feature” I think.

  61. December 17, 2006 by Dan Schulz

    I would say so, Mr. Clark (unfortunately).

  62. Roger, Great list. your wishlist would be granted in 2010. hmm.. may be 2012? how about that :)

  63. Hello? :hover anything?

  64. i am a pc person, but over the last year as ms was getting ready to release vista and ie 7 i have really soured on ms and pcs. a case in point is ie7. installing it and overwriting ie6 with no option to test both without uninstalling ie7 is extremely annoying as a designer/developer. and having it lock up almost everything in it when it was open, well, i had to uninstall it and go back to ie6.

    i think ms is really going to lose some market share if they keep going down this path.

  65. I am surprised you don’t mention incremental search or inline search which was the reason why we developped http://www.ieforge.com/InlineSearch.

    You can read a lot more about the many things people long for in IE on http://www.ieforge.com/Main/Wishlist. We need more hands to put some of it together if some developers are listening ;)

  66. You’ve been dugg…here comes the flood of Firefox fanboys. :P

  67. Excellent work! I dont think microsoft give a toss about implementing a lot of this stuff though. People should just use Firefox. You cant teach an old dog new tricks, especially when he doesnt want to learn them.

  68. The best thing Microsoft could do would be to switch to the best possible open source rendering engine, and then add support for Sharepoint and any other important Microsoft only services.

    This would break a bunch of websites, but as we’ve seen with IE7, Microsoft doesn’t mind breaking things.

  69. I just thought of this idea; IE8 could have 2 engines built in; one that is compatible with IE7 and IE6 and one that is based on WebKit or Gecko. Then let the engine selection be decided by the website with some sort of meta tag or something. If the meta tag is there in the HTML, IE will render the web page with WebKit or Gecko - if it’s not it will render with normally IE7’s engine. It’s a WIN WIN situation!

  70. There is absolutely NO reason that IE couldn’t switch rendering engines. Anyone who needs the old Trident engine can stick with IE6/7 … and since the rendering engine wouldn’t be deeply embedded in the OS, IE8 would be able (in theory) to be installed and work painlessly alongside the old OS-embedded browser.

    Firefox can switch rendering engines (granted I generally use it to just flip profiles quickly on forums I admin) … Netscape could do it too. The simple META tag idea is SUCH a bloody simple solution! or or META render=”WebKit” /> would make things SO easy to deal with if browsers could be made to switch engines on the fly based on those meta tags. And if a browser (on say linux or mac) couldn’t run an “MSHTML” site, it could pop one of those little warning dialogs up that the page MAY not display correctly.

    IE does NOT have to stick with the Trident engine. And devs should NOT be forced to go through the NS4 hell all over again. Outmode IE in all forms … tell people why they need to switch … SHOW them why they need to switch … and when Microsoft sees the only thing that matters to them - users defecting to superior products (no matter WHO makes them) and marketshare declining … well, maybe they’ll wake up and listen.

    The web has changed DRAMATICALLY in the last 12 years that I’ve been using it. The only thing that hasn’t is Internet Explorer.

  71. December 20, 2006 by Isaac Lin

    IE 7’s zoom feature seems targeted for those with widescreens viewing fixed width layouts, so that zooming the entire page will cause it to fill up more of the widescreen.

    The calls to replace the rendering engine remind of a recent Boagworld podcast where Paul Boag complained that clients should not be asking for a spinning logo, but specify their business requirements for the design and let the design team work out how to meet them. I know the web design world would become easier if everyone used browsers based on the same rendering engine, but it’s not happening anytime soon, particularly in the burgeoning world of the mobile web, and in any case why should one engine become entrenched? I prefer a more competitive environment.

  72. Could you speak with Adobe on the best way to support the Flash platform without doing any of the following:

    1. Having to click on it to activate it
    2. Breaking that patent
    3. Comprimising on security
  73. December 24, 2006 by DanielS

    My wish is they complete CSS 1 implementation. The inherit keyword is still missing on 99% of all properties ;_; Pleaspleasepleas add this!

    I totaly agree with your point #1, but it seems IE.Next isn’t going to get it. I think they will come to a point where Trident gets stuck like the old Netscape 4 Engine.

    XHTML support is needed very much as well, but like the former, it seems they won’t add this in the Next IE.

    About HTML impelemtation: They should do as much as possible, but when encountering problems with the CSS Standard, the CSS Standard should have priority (display: table; isn’t impelented because HTML and CSS define tables differently).

  74. Trying to update IE with some kind of new engine and patches for this and that won’t help. I’d say, the only real way could be to kill IE as a project at all. Just don’t do it. I don’t mean Redmond should stop working and go home, I mean - IE is such a special thing from the last century, that probably it would be better in both marketing and technical ways just to make some brand new browser under some shiny fancy name stuffed with a really working modern features.

    From the other side, as long as W3C’s recommendation will be claimed to be “standards” there’ll be no good browser. Because most part of them are far from being perfect, some aspects (like forms elements) are terribly poor described and I can . understand engine developers who simply can’t know how should an element work.

    It’s what we dream about - a perfect browser engine (installed by 100% users) and a perfect HTML, which tells the engine directly and strict how should things appear. Not in the next 10 years, I think.

  75. January 1, 2007 by Carpii

    So long as developers continue to bend over backwards to accomodate all of IEs current and historical flaws, Microsoft have no reason incentive to invest in fixing their crappy software.

    A shift in attitude is needed. Instead of breaking your back to optimise your site for IE, optimise it for a standards based browser, such as firefox or opera. Sure, make sure it works in IE, but if its a inferior user experience, so be it!

    That is the only way we’ll ever see a gradual shift from MS dictating their own proprietary and half baked standards, to actually following the proper standards

  76. Dean - the click patent trolls were EOLAS

    SVG - isn’t that dead now. WPF/E and Apollo will see it finally put to bed I expect

    W3C standards IMO don’t always reflect the real world needs of designers and users (and are not always clear) and so any implementation is going to be open to argument.

    I personally find the Opera UI to be painful to work with, and Firefox a pain to develop for because they ignore the de facto implementations (ie the MS rendering model) to take a (self perceived) moral standpoint (going from FF1.5.x to FF2.x broke project that went from IE6 to IE7 fine)

    I realise I’m probably a lone voice with the Firefox fanboys here, but I do run and test with Firefox and Safari (and I have Ubuntu in a VM for testing) and although if you’d have asked me a year ago if IE or FF was better I’d have chosen the latter with IE7 I’ve gone back to the MS product. Sure, it’s not perfect but they have made public commitments to improving the product and taking on-board feedback… however writing tirades that insult Microsoft in general or Dean Hachamovitch and his team in particular are going to be treated link any other crank caller… give MS a reasonable business case that demonstrates why it makes more sense to them to do it right and you’ll always get more traction than simple riding a white charger and claiming you’re right because…

  77. I wish Microsoft would just give up and implement the Gecko engine in Vista.

  78. April 14, 2007 by Mirek2

    I don’t really think these are the top ten. I actually like the ‘alt’ tag being used as a tooltip. However, I think two much more important additions to ie8 would be an inline search and a download manager.

  79. In my opinion it would be very nice if it was possible to switch the upcomming version of IE to previous versions without having to reinstall the whole thing.

    I am sure most webdesigner would be very pleased if this support was added to IE

    For now I just keep using Firefox the most. Works better for me.

    Only use IE for testing purposes!

  80. I’d like a button on the toolbar that with one click I can turn on or off the proxy settings. I use my laptop inside and outside the company’s firewall, and having to drill down (Tools > Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings > Use Proxy Server…) 5 clicks to enable/disable the proxy is annoying.

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