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Microsoft begs Web devs not to make WebKit the new IE6


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#1 Asrokhel

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:52

Redmond doesn't want Internet Explorer 10's standards compliance to go unnoticed.

Internet Explorer 10 is a fast browser with good standards compliance, and the version of Internet Explorer 10 included with Windows Phone 8 is no exception, as it's almost identical to its desktop sibling. But Internet Explorer 10 has a problem: Web developers don't expect to see it on the mobile Web. The mobile Web is dominated by WebKit-based browsers, and mobile sites tend to be developed exclusively for, and tested exclusively on, WebKit browsers. A similar problem exists for tablets.

Often the development is even narrower; although both Android and iOS sport WebKit-based browsers, iOS is the one that dominates mobile browser usage, and dominates testing as a result.

This situation is all rather familiar; WebKit, especially on iOS, is occupying a similar position to that once held by Internet Explorer 6 on the desktop, where Web content was "best viewed in Internet Explorer 6" and was prone to breaking in Netscape or Firefox.

Keen to avoid being left out, Microsoft is imploring Web developers to adapt their sites. In a recent blog post, the software giant explains a variety of ways in which devs can update their sites to work well in browsers other than WebKit. Key to this was proper handling of incompatible features.

There are several sources of incompatibility. The hardest case is features that are simply proprietary to WebKit; these need to be worked around in some way or other.

Most other cases are a result of the standardization process used for Web specifications. When a CSS or JavaScript specification is under development and still subject to change, browsers implementing it are supposed to add a browser-specific prefix to the pieces of CSS or JavaScript they use. So for example, while still in development, WebKit's implementation of CSS rounded borders should use properties like -webkit-border-radius. Once the standard is stable and a browser is implementing that stable standard, the property should be renamed to simply border-radius.

For some standards, both browsers implement the stable version, without any prefix required. However, developers often fail to update their pages to accommodate this improving standard conformance, leaving their pages using prefixed properties, but not including equivalent unprefixed code. In this case, the solution is typically to remove the prefixes. Sometimes, the spec still isn't stable and the different browsers implement mutually incompatible versions of the spec, each with their own prefixes. In this case, the properties must be translated from one dialect to the other.

There are also some cases where the translation is more complex still, particularly when it comes to handling touch input. Apple pioneered work in this field in Safari, and a specification called Touch Events based on Safari (but created without Apple's involvement) is currently a Candidate Recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body that works on producing Web standards. Microsoft has proposed an alternative system called Pointer Events which would handle not just touch but also mouse and pen input in a consistent way. For both technical and legal reasons, W3C has decided that rather than work on Touch Events version 2, all future development in this area will be to Pointer Events.

The problem for developers is that WebKit supports Touch Events; Internet Explorer 10 supports a prefixed version of Pointer Events. Translating between the two should be broadly possible, but there are nuances to this; it's not simply a case of doing a quick search and replace.

For those who remember the Internet Explorer of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Microsoft's stance may seem a little amusing — the company wasn't so bullish on following standards back when it commanded more than 90 percent of the browser market share. Redmond has been banging the "use standards" drum for some years now, and has been actively participating in standard development and stabilization.











http://arstechnica.c...it-the-new-ie6/


#2 Boz

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:34

IE needs to die completely.. end of..

and, no, IE8, IE9 and IE10 will be the new IE6. Apple and Google along with Mozilla are following W3C and WHATWG in implementing new features and support for CSS3 and HTML and thus when we build web stuff today it just works across all of these browsers with most of the fancy effects and we are still jumping hoops and having to put up with Microsoft's IE crap.

So ironic but expected that Microsoft can't understand why they are terrible in this regard as well. IE 10 is better than all other IEs but it's STILL IE and it's still Microsoft, so we will continue supporting webkit because it evolves and browsers update themselves to be always current on user's machines while Microsoft still peddles their old proprietary crap..

Hey Microsoft, here's an idea for you.. MAKE IE based on webkit and help build a better webkit base since it's open and help developers develop for one HTML/web engine? Oh you don't want to, or you have to deal with your users who you screwed with terrible IEs? Well the web and internet in general won't wait for you. Nobody cares what you think anymore. You have shown us what web looks like with you and it's not a pretty picture and it's so ironic that we are being warned by MS about competing rendering engine not being "good" for us.

Just die already and stop whining since you are a decade late to the next generation.

#3 jakem1

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:06

Good to see Boz supporting the use of proprietary extensions and opposed to standards compliance. I guess it's easier than having to defend Microsoft.

#4 seta-san

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:09

and here I thought that Boz and I would agree with something.

#5 torrentthief

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:20

If microsoft really cared about web developers and standards compliance they would release IE10 for vista and backport the necessary technologies for it to run. In april 2014 i'm sure we will see a lot of website drop support for IE6 but unfortunately vista came with IE7 if i remember correctly so they can't really ditch IE7 or IE8 for quite some time.

#6 Boz

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:27

Good to see Boz supporting the use of proprietary extensions and opposed to standards compliance. I guess it's easier than having to defend Microsoft.


Webkit is the standard. For both desktop and mobile. End of.

And btw, if Microsoft wants what's best for developers it should, as I said, dump their IE engine completely, join Webkit movement and create IE based on webkit and then contribute to the webkit based along with Apple, Google to improve it, so we can have finally one HTML rendering engine standard. Mozilla, btw, should do the same.

They can still make their own JS engine (like Google does with V8 and Apple does with Nitro) if they want to to compete on speed or add unique features to their IE browsers (actual browser features not how it renders content) and we can finally build developer tools and all kinds of design support and fancy effects when we have all major browsers on a single, universal rendering engine.

This would truly move the web forward in ways unseen before. Actually it would give us a terrific web platform that would be similar to Flash (and I mean from the compatibility standpoint) and we could finally build stuff that's creative and pushing the envelope instead of polluting our code with 15 different hacks just to render content properly on IE browsers.

#7 Rigby

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:29

What wonderful irony.

#8 The_Decryptor

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:36

Webkit is the standard. For both desktop and mobile. End of.
...


I remember when people claimed that about IE, and it was just as wrong then too.

#9 Javik

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:39

Given that Webkit is an open source rendering engine, The argument about proprietary bits is stupid. Either open the source to Trident, or examine Webkit and build better support for those features into IE. Sounds like Microsoft are pulling an Apple here and blaming someone else for their lazy coding.

#10 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:41

IE needs to die completely.. end of..


What a load of rubbish.
IE10 is a superb browser and Firefox, Chrome et al need to take a few lessons from it.

Standard compliance all the way, Opera and Webkit are the new destroyers of the internet. and i say that as a Chrome user.

#11 Scorbing

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:44

So what's the deal with IE6? What was so special about it? I don't understand.

#12 Brian M.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:45

I'm all for standards - BUT there come's a point that we need to realise that there can never be a standard that everyone is willing to adopt. It's human instinct to think "I'm better than you".

If Microsoft based IE on webkit, then we might have a chance of MAKING webkit the new "standard". I, personally, think it's our best bet. And from a developer's point of view - what do you prefer coding for? Webkit? or Trident. I know which it is for me - i've never had to put conditional comments into code for various versions of webkit like I have to on a regular basis for IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 and no doubt, at some point, IE10.

#13 The_Decryptor

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:45

Given that Webkit is an open source rendering engine, The argument about proprietary bits is stupid. Either open the source to Trident, or examine Webkit and build better support for those features into IE. Sounds like Microsoft are pulling an Apple here and blaming someone else for their lazy coding.

"Lazy coding"? This is about websites using proprietary WebKit CSS properties over CSS standard properties, it's in no way Microsoft's fault.

Hell, Mozilla and Opera have the same concerns, Opera now even tries to parse the proprietary WebKit rules (In case the author actually wrote the value according to the standard)

#14 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:47

It would also help if the W3C moved a little quicker on finalizing standards. Take border radius CSS for example. The gap between the non standard prefix versions and the standards compliant version was far far to long.

#15 Javik

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 13:47

What a load of rubbish.
IE10 is a superb browser and Firefox, Chrome et al need to take a few lessons from it.

Standard compliance all the way, Opera and Webkit are the new destroyers of the internet. and i say that as a Chrome user.


Posted Image

Sorry to be the spanner in the works but Chrome still has superior HTML5 support