[OT] IE support for standards (was: No more IE for Mac)

From: Doug Ewell (dewell@adelphia.net)
Date: Sun Jun 15 2003 - 23:23:50 EDT

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    Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:

    > It's a great news. It will force websites to stop using Microsoft
    > specific features and caveats, and adopt the real standards.
    > ...
    > If web sites start using the real standards, people will upgrade for
    > a more standard browser, and Microsoft will consider correcting
    > its IE to follow the evolution of websites, removing the unnecessary
    > features that Microsoft wants to promote, such as proprietary web
    > fonts for CSS2, or the Office "smart links".

    I think if we're going to continue this thread, we'd better define what
    we mean by "adopting" standards, and "supporting" or "not supporting"

    I mark all my Web pages as XHTML 1.0 Transitional (formerly HTML 4.01)
    and use the W3C validator to check them, and I can tell you that both IE
    5.5 and IE 6.0 display them perfectly, with no problems or conformance
    issues. There are minor differences in the default stylesheets used by
    5.5 and 6.0, but they are both within the limits of conformity. My
    (admittedly trivial) stylesheet and JavaScript program also validate,
    and IE handles them cleanly as well. So in that sense, IE has indeed
    adopted, and is fully conformant with, the "real standards."

    I'm sure it is also true, as Philippe states, that IE supports
    proprietary features that aren't in the HTML specifications published by
    W3C. (Netscape was famous for this in the early days with the <blink>
    tag.) To the extent IE supports tags and features and behavior that are
    not in the HTML DTDs, and hence are not legal HTML, one can say that IE
    has not fully adopted, or is not fully conformant with, the "real

    We can choose to adopt the first (looser) interpretation or the second
    (stricter) interpretation of "adopting" or "supporting" standards.
    Remember that we aren't the W3C; we're just jawing about browsers on a
    mailing list.

    I guess my problem is that Philippe makes it sound as though IE doesn't
    support HTML at all, but rather some proprietary HTML-like
    Microsoft-specific markup language; whereas the truth is that IE fully
    supports HTML, but also some proprietary extensions that really don't
    belong in a standards-conformant HTML page anyway.

    Of course, if someone can provide me an example (OFF-LINE, please) of a
    standard HTML feature that IE doesn't support, I will quickly agree that
    IE support for standards is imperfect, and that Microsoft needs to
    correct this.

    I should also point out that if we're going to continue this thread, we
    should adopt a variant of the famous "Hitler rule," to the effect that
    any participant who turns the debate into a "love MS" vs. "hate MS"
    argument shall be automatically declared to have lost.

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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