Karma Police

So today MIX started.

I watched the live keynote, which really was focused on developers like me.

Silverlight 2 beta 1 was released, which is a big deal, but not what I found most interesting.

They had the Team lead for Internet Explorer 8 on stage to present and reveal IE 8 for the first time. Recently IE 8 has been in the news because of announcements in the team blog about standards used, as well as certain design decisions.

(Let alone that I find it extreeeemly interesting how the revision cycle for IE has accelerated dramatically since Firefox has started hitting critical mass)

The man on stage (I’ve forgotten his name already1) mentioned what I believe has to be the best quote about IE and web development evar:

My son knows I work on IE, and he sees these things about security on the web, and he asks me ‘daddy did you break the internet?’. My response is no, but if you’re a web developer you might think differently.

Anyways…..

The guy on stage had an agenda of 8 items about IE 8 (get it?, yeah I didn’t laugh either). These prob. don’t match the guy’s slides, but these are the points I came away with:

Part 1 was the announcement that IE 8 would support CSS 2. Which was A) big news, so big they announced it a few weeks back B)Important to web developers C) met by crickets in the audience and D) deserved a better response.

Part 2 was another huge announcement. IE 8 would be changing it’s rendering model so that it defaults to Standards based rendering by default (again met by silence from the crowd). This means that pages that look bad in current versions of Opera, Safari, and Firefox, but look ok in IE 7 will be busted in IE8. This means the web developers should be able to design a web page that would work on 99% of browsers…. this is HUGE, this hasn’t been possible since IE3 and the days of Netscape 3, back in 1996!!!!

Part 3 User interface changes for ajax and HTML 5.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!

The working draft for HTML 5 was only released a few weeks ago and is still undergoing rapid changes (for a list of what changes see here). Fine, great, your starting to implement it, bully to you. But don’t release an incomplete implementation, let alone an incomplete implementation due to an incomplete standard in a full mark version of the browser to the public! This is how Javascript got borked in the version 3.0 browsers!!!!!! Bluetooth was set back a decade due to this (and is still causing issues between MS’s driver implementation and device specific drivers). CD/R vs CD+R is the same thing. Implementing a half finished standard in a public release creates 2 separate similar named but completely different specs. Attempt 1 beta and finalized version. The only way Javascript was fixed was by re-spec’ing the language as EMCA script a decade later. Let alone all the browsers that make attempts to support document.all and the other non standard DOM implementations.

Part 4 and 5 were about Activities and WebSlices… I’m not too sure what to say about these yet, but I’m worried… very worried… There’s no spec for either of these, and they’re designed for integration of feed type data into a web pages like those annoying smart tags you find on certain websites (you know those links that aren’t actually links, but popup context windows with ads in them). The other half of them seems like the return of the old “if we can’t beat them, bundle it with a free automatic update product” strategy. Google maps is arguably superior to MSN maps, but the rest of the Activities seems to be a straight move against Google tools by Live services.

Bad Microsoft! Bad Microsoft!… haven’t you learned anything from the multiple $1,000,000,000 (one billllllliiiioooonnnnn dollars Mr. Powers) fines the EU has been giving you for not playing nice?

Part 6 was performance improvements…. it’s faster.

Part 7 was a Developer tool bar, for doing proper JS debugging…. this looks a tad familiar.

Part 8 was of course a live beta of IE8 that you could (and I have downloaded).

So the final karma tally:
Good Karma

  • Implementing CSS2 properly.. bye bye box model hacks!
  • Defaulting to standards style rendering
  • Donating Tests for Standardization
  • Providing Feedback and Implementation details on Standards
  • Fixing webpage debugging

Bad Karma

  • Webslices and Activites…. are these using hardcoded keywords in the class attribute!?!?!?!?
  • Defaulting to using your personal service instead of the industry standard for activities
  • Implementing a half assed version of a spec
  • Not having Silverlight work in IE8 edit:Stupid installers, have to install them in the right order…. still doesn’t work in Firefox 3.0b3 though

it would appear that the IE team has actually generated some good karma for a change…. too bad it doesn’t make up for the last decade of webdeveloper torture they’re responsible for.

1Apparently his name is Dean Hachamovitch

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