Microsoft DHTML Dude disses standards
15:36, 14 Feb 2000 UTC | Simon St.Laurent

In an article on Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), Michael Wallent, product unit manager for Internet Explorer (aka the DHTML Dude), claims that "it's pretty clear to us that simply implementing existing standards doesn't help advance the state of the art for the Internet or intranets."

Wallent starts the article by noting that "Nestled with many of the comments, both positive and negative, is a common strain of questions about Internet Explorer development. The remarks tend to read like this: 'Who cares about the new stuff? Just implement 100 percent of [Your Favorite Standard Here].'"

He then goes on to support nearly every other kind of customer request, making simultaneous claims like "We're not comfortable making a tradeoff in which we sacrifice compatibility for the sake of supporting a standard" and "intranet users tend to... want to make the browser a rich client for working applications"

In yet another passionate Microsoft defense of its right to innovate, Wallent claims that it's Microsoft's job to "Lead the Standards", not necessarily implement standards 100%. He claims that an "example of a feature that we didn't implement (and probably won't ever) is the white-space property."

The reason? "The white-space property turns out to have some really bad effects on performance and predictability if you can change it over time, because of its interaction with HTML compatibility and parsing rules." From an XML perspective, this means that white-space preservation using CSS is going to be difficult if not impossible, but that doesn't seem important using this set of priorities.

The closing of the article suggests that while Microsoft is interested in standards, it plans to do whatever it sees fit in its browsers, whether or not they conform to standards:

Microsoft believes very strongly in Internet standards and the standards process, and is committed to implementing appropriate standards when driven by customer demand. However, standards compliance is part of a larger effort that includes many constituencies. By innovating, and driving customer requirements into Internet Explorer and then into the standards groups, we'll make the Internet a richer platform for all users.

Is Microsoft a "standards leader" or just another 800-pound gorilla pounding its chest and claiming the right, even the duty, to as it pleases? Time will tell!

Re: Microsoft DHTML Dude disses standards (Adam Drew - 14:44, 11 Aug 2003)

As a web developer, I know that the features that Microsoft has implememnted in Internet Explorer would alow for a MUCH greater web experience for the end user. The only things that keeps us from using these new technologies is some anti-microsoft sentiment that is some-how shiek with developers and users alike, though completely unfounded, and, the current trend of bending to users with @#$%ty browsers. If we as webdevelopers want the web to eveolve we have to cast off these old standards. If everybody had to upgrade to IE6 or Netscape 7 to view content on the web, then more people would upgrade, but because we still cater to this now ancient technology, they (users) still use it. I say develop the best most exciting content you can, and if someone can't view it, %$#@ 'em! Send them to a page to download the newest version of MSIE.

> Hmmm, your site... you can shove up your ***. (Sebhelyesfarku - 11:46, 15 Oct 2003)
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