IE5.5: First Look

Friday December 3rd, 1999

I've done some preliminary CSS testing of IE5.5 (available through Specifically I ran IE 5.5 through the battery of David Baron's CSS tests, and found some interesting results. IE 5.5's CSS support has undergone very little change from 5.0, and some regressions were noticable. IE 5.5 seems to pass test 5.3 (CSS2 Universal Selector) that IE 5.0 did not, but it fails two tests in section 6.4.4 (Parsing Test 4 and Test 5) that IE 5.0 apparently passed. There was one other that *may* have passed (9.1.2) where 5.0 failed, and one test in 10.7 *may* have failed where 5.0 passed, but I can't determine these for a certainty. Finally, IE 5.5 still does not pass the Box Acid Test.

According to MS's "What's New in Internet Explorer 5.5" page, IE 5.5 handles more "CSS styles" such as first-letter and first-line, but they don't go into any more detail.

From these results, I'm wondering if MS is giving up completely on significant advances in the CSS support in their current rendering engine. IE on the Mac is supposedly being developed to utilize a new rendering engine, codename "Tasman". Maybe Microsoft is planning something similar for their 6.0 Windows version.

In any event it does not look like the next version of IE will have significant CSS improvements as many hoped and expected.

#14 what the market will stand

by Anon

Friday December 3rd, 1999 6:22 PM

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Standards are based on what consumers and businesses need, not what the W3 sets up.

If you wait too long, Microsoft will become the defacto standard, like Netscape once was, and then all the support for standards won't matter one bit. It will be the users who dictate. Power Users may have fun with Mozilla, but the people who just wanna surf or purchase things on Amazon or do research will use the easiest to configure browser.

I'm not trying to say that Mozilla doesn't have a chance, but don't fool yourself into thinking support for the "web standards" is all that matters.