Picking Through Redmond’s Dirty Web Laundry

An argument being made  on this blog is that Microsoft, by trying to stifle Web Development by not improving IE features for 5-6 years(only security fixes were made between 2001 to 2006), has continued to retard Web Development in 3 ways even after Bill Gates’ infamous one-only  “Mea Culpa”:

1)many W3C standards did not get worked on for the period 1999 to 2007 – just look at the status of CSS and other W3C recommendations;
2)Microsoft said NO to many standards outright and continues to do so despite major work by other vendors and the web development community. In many cases this hiatus period allowed Microsoft to “catch up” with their own proprietary technologies. Think XForms (ASPX), XUL+SVG(XAML), JPEG2000(WMP), etc;
3)Redmond has left huge swaths of proprietary extensions and non-standard software and code in the web development world that add a Redmond Web Development Tax for all Web developers to pick up in order to wash their sites clean of Redmond’s Dirty Web Laundry.

To just give you two examples, here is the fix for IE6 on use of the Object  tag in Dreamweaver CS3:

The problem is doubled because the fix only partially works in IE6 which retains about 20% Web browser market share. Worse the Dreamweaver “fix” sets off nuisance warnings in IE7 and IE8.  But if developers say “no” to the fix, then IE6 does bomb in some OS+IE combinations while IE7, IE8 and all the other browsers handle the problem well.

To pick up Redmond’s Dirty laundry requires a day and a half of tinkering and we still don’t know if we have it fixed properly. Another example is the use of buttons in Forms and throughout HTML code – especially with the new AJAX designs. But see what the HTML Handbook at Sitepoint has to say about IE5 to IE7 support for buttons. Hint … it rates the browser support  Buggy and notes “Rendering of the button and its contents varies, but Internet Explorer appears to provide the worst rendering.”

Now apologists for Microsoft will say this is only one or two problems. Appeasers will say “be thankful for what Web standards adherence we have gotten from Microsoft”. However, just check Sitepoint’s HTML Handbook pages for which browser is most delinquent in HTML. And our own recent tests of Chrome versus IE8 for CSS standards compliance found Chrome on the first try meeting more than triple the number of tests than IE8. Microsoft’s third time charm for meeting CSS and DOM standards …. yeah , Really (dripped in full satirical overtones from Saturday Night Live’s News Update with Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers “Oh Really” skits).

Lets face it Web Developers, Redmond seems bound and determined to let you provide its Dirty Laundry Cleaning Services until you :
a)demand better and/or
b)get your clients to switch to  better browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari are all a lot better than what Redmond is throwing out there.
Otherwise we will all have to be picking up after Microsoft’s rather deliberate Web “droppings”.

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