Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Mar 2009 23:26 UTC, submitted by inkslinger
Internet Explorer Recently, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8, which boasted much better standards compliance than previous iterations of the browser. While it passed the Acid2 test, IE8 failed miserably in the Acid3 test, and many people criticised Microsoft for it. Microsoft Australia's Nick Hodge has stated that Microsoft purposefully decided not to support Acid3, because the test tests against draft standards.
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Some Facts
by jayson.knight on Thu 26th Mar 2009 00:34 UTC
jayson.knight
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is coming from someone with 8 years experience developing web applications for large corporate IT departments, so take it for what you want...but I do feel I'm qualified enough to speak for most large IT departments.

Fact: By far and large, the vast majority of web applications exist on the LAN for corporations.

Fact: Almost all of these LAN users use IE as their browser. On most of the LANs, other browsers are prohibited...not because they are inferior (which they aren't), but because of support costs. It is much cheaper for IT depts to support a single vendor's software.

Fact: Corporate IT departments don't care about standards. They care about time to market, simplicity, and maintainability. Adhering to standards makes the development cycle more complex, and thus more expensive...and for what advantage? "Just Working" is goal number one, maintainability (e.g. simple to maintain) runs a very close 2nd.

Fact: MS's largest installed userbase (not just by %, but also by sheer numbers) is within companies.

Fact: MS isn't going to go out of their way supporting some of the edge cases that the Acid tests call for just to appease what would be a tiny portion of their customers since (as stated above) most of these customers don't care about edge case standards. Most of them are easy to code around, or aren't even necessary in the first place.

Fact: Building in support for standards that are rarely used costs MS extra money, and the ROI just isn't there.

It's not rocket science to see why MS doesn't throw in the kitchen sink supporting every willy nilly standards that exists just for the sake of saying that they can. I have never ever encountered a case where development on an application came to a halt because x browser didn't support y standard. None of my colleagues have either...in fact, I doubt this has EVER happened. You either code around it, or move on and find a different solution. This is why I get such a kick out of hearing people cry foul about standards support...most of these "standards" are luxuries that increase cost and complexity. 98% of web applications (on the browser end) consist of HTML + CSS + Javascript + some sort of image rendering. All the crap in the Acid tests are luxuries that only a small percentage of sites actually use.

So what's the logic in supporting everything under the sun when usually the basics are plenty good enough?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Some Facts
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 26th Mar 2009 05:29 in reply to "Some Facts"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

To be fair, the big missing elephant in the room is SVG. I don't think it's accurate to state that SVG has been out there (in usable browser form) for 8-9 years like some have been claiming, but more like 2-3 years in incomplete form (at least according to the history in Wikipedia).

Probably the IE folks decided that SVG was not high priority for this release. They may also still be unhappy about the rejection of VML.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Some Facts
by werpu on Thu 26th Mar 2009 08:13 in reply to "RE: Some Facts"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

To be fair, the big missing elephant in the room is SVG. I don't think it's accurate to state that SVG has been out there (in usable browser form) for 8-9 years like some have been claiming, but more like 2-3 years in incomplete form (at least according to the history in Wikipedia).

Probably the IE folks decided that SVG was not high priority for this release. They may also still be unhappy about the rejection of VML.


Actually SVG as a plugin has been there even for the IE since day 0. Adobe just dropped the ball on SVG after the bought Macromedia. But it was too late then the ghost was out of the bottle, aka SVG was official web standard and others have started to adobt it.

As for Microsoft, yes the biggest blocking stone for IE8 is the lacking of SVG, it did not have high priority for them, due to the fact that they have their own incompatible SVG implementation in Silverlight (It really is a fork of svg with a few commands changed) so people should use that instead if they want vector graphics on IE...
But there is some hope left for SVG on IE9 Microsoft seems to discuss it internally, and after all the beating they got for the lack of SVG in IE8 they maybe will adobt it after all (god knows how incompatible they again will make it like they did it with everything else in the past)

My biggest guess is how to force the browser vendors to certain standard levels probably would be to have some web09 we08 etc... branding, which they would be allowed to use if they implement a certain set of standards correctly. The Acid tests really helped in this regard but we need more and something more understandable for the average user.

As for the corporate problem, yes many corporations are on IE and most of them still on IE6 due to many factors, but I think the upgrade cycle there will soon get going, after all Windows 7 does not look like a total looser like Vista did, and Microsoft now pushing out a major browser release almost every year will make the stuck gear starting again. My hope is that the days of ie6 are numbered now that ie8 is out.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Some Facts
by lemur2 on Thu 26th Mar 2009 11:43 in reply to "RE: Some Facts"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

To be fair, the big missing elephant in the room is SVG. I don't think it's accurate to state that SVG has been out there (in usable browser form) for 8-9 years like some have been claiming, but more like 2-3 years in incomplete form (at least according to the history in Wikipedia).

Probably the IE folks decided that SVG was not high priority for this release. They may also still be unhappy about the rejection of VML.


The history of SVG on Wikipedia says this:

SVG 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation on September 4, 2001.
SVG 1.1 became a W3C Recommendation on January 14, 2003.
SVG Tiny 1.2 became a W3C Recommendation on December 22, 2008.
SVG Full 1.2 is a W3C Working Draft.

So the level asked for in Acid3, which is SVG 1.1, has only recently become available in those browsers that mostly pass Acid3 (that is, almost anything except IE).

That level of SVG has been a recommendation (i.e. stable) for over six years now. SVG 1.1 is the stable level, and that is all that is reasonably required to be considered standards compliant.

The additional SVG functions defined in level 1.2 Tiny are too recently recommended to expect to be implemented anywhere as yet, and the further functions defined in level 1.2 Full are still draft.

BTW, DOM level 2 compliance being missing in IE is almost as big an elephant in the room. As is the lack of a compliant JIT javascript compiler. Actually, we seem to have a bit of a huge roomful of elephants.

Edited 2009-03-26 11:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3