You might have read the future of the web, a rant I wrote a couple of days ago. Today Ian Hickson posted part 8 in his
Spring 2004 Travelog series of posts. To quote the most interesting part here:
Another point that came out of the discussions is that, in case there was any doubt, Internet Explorer in Longhorn will not support XHTML or SVG. (Microsoft suggested they would need some significantly more comprehensive test suites before they started working on standards compliance again.)
They have a point there, since the W3C seems to like creating specifications, but actually making test suites is something they do only recently (a test suite describes the specification in much more detail in my opinion; if written correctly) and not always as comprehensive as required to do some real standards compliance testing.
This probably means we can keep focus on the Internet Explorer 7 project and study all the information there is about Internet Explorer 6 as well (like workarounds, hacks, tips, tricks et cetera). This also means we should "spam" Robert Scoble a bit more so he takes the following to the extreme:
Oh, and everytime I meet an IE team member in the halls (which is quite often) I grab them by the shirt, give them a nugie, and ask them when they are gonna support standards. Someday that's gotta affect them. ;-)
Your points about the test suite are well put. I'm a software developer by trade, and make heavy use of Test-Driven Development. In it, you create a test to define the expected behaviour of the system - this test them becomes not only a compliance test of the code being written but can also form documentation for the code's use. In fact in 'agile' development, documentation is kept to a minumum by the use of such self-documtenting procedures.
Disappointing that Microsoft again won't be standards compliant.
Disappointing, yes. Surprise? Hell no!
Time to do some more Mozilla (Firefox) evangelism!
Very disappointing indeed; however, not at all a suprise (like Ben said).
IMHO Microsoft is sticking a knife in its own throat with this, because if they supported standards they could get quite a bit of mileage out of it. Instead of giving people reasons to stay with Internet Explorer, they are giving them reasons to go with the competition like Mozilla and Opera.
I personally don't see why any person in his right mind would use Internet Explorer. It's not only the standards-compliancy that sucks; it doesn't have many of the cool features one would expect from a modern web browser (for example, where is the tabbed browsing?).
Rather give me Mozilla, Firefox, or Opera!
Microsoft will keep Internet Explorer alive for a long time, only by adding so called «nifty features» to it. It can be non-standard compliant for another five years without any large user mass caring. In Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6 will get tabbed browsing and popup-blocking -- something people have had as a reason to switch to Mozilla and Opera for quite a while. Now, they don't have that reason anymore.
Although I hate to admit it, I think Internet Explorer will endure. And although Internet Explorer for Longhorn won't be standards compliant, it will survive well enough based on nifty features, a great deal of websites still special-designed for Internet Explorer, and another set of newly developed sites which integrates the .NET technology only able to run in Internet Explorer.
In reply to comment 5:
I hate to admit it, but you are right. End users don't care about standards compliancy, as long as the websites they view only display correctly. And very few people will cut out support for Internet Explorer (unless your name is Charl van Niekerk, Ian Hixie, or to some extent maybe Anne too) on some of their sites. And of course if you have a commercial site you don't have much choice.