IE5 Preview at News.com
Wednesday March 17th, 1999
So, news about IE5 is beginning to trickle out, and it's beginning to look a lot like Mozilla. The equivalent of a "What's Related" button has been added as well as a "Web Accessories" feature that we got a glimpse of last year with Mozilla's configurable chrome. No indication of standards compliance (still). My latest bet is that IE5 won't even be HTML4 compliant, much less CSS1 compliant.
IE5 is supposed to be released tomorrow. I'd be interested in knowing the download sizes for the different installs. Feel free to submit info to us tomorrow, if you're brave enough to download it.
#9 Re:IE5 Preview at News.com
Thursday March 18th, 1999 11:25 AM
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One thing to consider is that just because IE does something the way you like doesn't make it right. For example, many people have been touting Microsoft's DOM functionality in IE4. However, it's non-standard, and although it has a lot of features that Netscape's DOM implementation in 4.5 doesn't have, it's still not compliant, so technically it's a dead-end. Hoping that Netscape will be compliant with it will not get you anywhere.
The simple fact is that both browsers act oddly in different respects. One thing works in Netscape, and fails in IE. Another works in IE, and fails in Netscape. 80% compliance in CSS1 (which Microsoft touted as so superior to Netscape's 60% compliance) is actually a red-herring, because there is a good deal of that 80% compliance that is faulty. For example, take a look at <http://style.verso.com/boxacidtest/> with IE4. NN4 and 4.5 are just as bad, but that's a moot point. Faulty compliance isn't compliance at all, and puts developers in the worst possible position.
What's the solution? The absolutely only solution to this problem is 100% compliance by all browser implementations. Not 60%, or 80%, but 100%. Why? Because without 100% compliance, the browser is essentially another branch that you have to develop for. If you have only 80% compliance, that 80% has to be *proper* compliance as well. That means no proprietary ways of doing things. And, from what I've heard Microsoft's DOM interface (even in IE5) is proprietary, and doesn't follow the spec.
People have been bitching about having to work twice as hard to make their sites work on different browser implementations, but I'm afraid that that will *always* be the case, unless you always build for only the latest browser implementation. With backwards-compatibility comes reworking. There's no way around it. Even with 100% compliance, there will always be reworking if you're concerned about the display of your page on older browsers.
The reason I bitch about Microsoft's standards compliance is that they constantly say that they are ahead of the game compared to their competitors. But, as I explained above, if you're not 100% compliant, you're still part of the problem, not part of the solution. They also have the audacity to blame Netscape for IE's lack of standards compliance. If you don't believe me, go back though our archives and you'll find a link to a page where they do just that.
In my opinion, IE4 and Communicator 4 were both on about equal footing. Neither was 100% compliant, so both contributed nothing to ending the problem. IE5 is out, and it is in the same boat. Mozilla is well on its way to being the only browser to be 100% compliant in HTML4.0, CSS1 and XML.
I hope that the Web Standards Project treats IE5 with as much disdain as they can muster. After flogging Netscape, it's time for MS to feel some pain.