IE5.5: First Look
Friday December 3rd, 1999
I've done some preliminary CSS testing of IE5.5 (available through Betanews.com). 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.
Good points, Asa.
I would like to use this oppourtunity to give some of my thoughts:
- Yes, Mozilla is late. - Mozilla is pretty much a complete rewrite of the browser. It does not rely on 4.x code as IE does. Microsoft shipped IE4 late, and came up with a better foundation than Netscape 4.x upon which to build (something Mozilla is trying to make up for now). - Mozilla engineers are BUSY. Its not like they've been spending the last two years loafing around and playing PSX games. Some people work six or seven days a week, until late at night. - Mozilla engineers are driven, passionate human beings. - The Mozilla Community is typically friendly and values contribution, whether it be code, bug reports, or just ideas. - The Mozilla Community cares not for whining, unless it is constructive whining. (the latter often leads to useful bug reports). You can't file a bug on "your browser is late" - we all know its late, we're all working on it in our own ways (me, I'm trying to make the UI suck less ;). In other words, we value your constructive criticism, ideas and advice.
As a Mozilla hacker, I make this plea, for those who are skeptics, give us a chance! We're doing our best to make sure that even after the long wait, you'll end up with a browser that you'll want to use.