Thoughts on Internet Explorer 8 ‘announcement’

I really try to avoid copying and pasting content from other sources whenever possible, but in this case I don’t think I could have said it any better. Whilst you could argue a Mozilla developer commenting on Internet Explorer is obviously biased, but I think he cares about Internet Explorer as much as any Microsoft enthusiast would and shares the same doubts. I however have used a different picture to illustrate the point. Asa Dotzler says,

Dean, over at the IEBlog, introduces the world to the name of the next IE release, “Internet Explorer 8” and not much else.

He closes with “please don’t mistake silence for inaction.”

I don’t think people were mistaking silence for inaction, Dean, and talking down to them like that does your efforts no good service.

You all shipped IE 7 more than a year ago and presumably wrapped up major development on it 3 to 6 months before that, so I’ve got no doubt you all have been working on IE 8 for at least a year and a half. Your IE blog audience can figure that out too.

It’s not the lack of action that people are concerned about. It’s the lack of communication.

What your silence for the last 18 months of IE 8 development tells the Web developers of the world that you don’t give a shit what they’ve got to say about it.

If that’s they way Microsoft is going to continue doing business, then so be it, but don’t pretend that it’s something it isn’t. Don’t treat the people at your blog like children. They won’t appreciate that.

19 insightful thoughts

  1. Meanwhile, Firefox 3 and Safari 3 have not only been open, but Firefox 3 has a whole loadful of major new features.

  2. Has Mozilla been open about fixing the memory leaks in Ff3 that exist in Ff 2 anonymous? Anyway, why are you all so anxious over it that you have your selves in such an antsy mode? It shows that a lot of persons don’t know a lot about IT or the general average PC user. People are not interested in upgrading their browser on a whim.

    IE 8 requires testing, the team needs to implement whatever technologies and feedback core customers are requesting, I am sure the folks such as web developers and Enterprises that base solutions on IE are giving Microsoft feedback. Yes, I am curious too about IE 8 but to be honest with you, I am not bothered to the point I need to say ‘don’t give a sh!t’.

    Is there a current problem in IE 7 why you are so desperate for information, is it the missing download manager why you are going berserk?

  3. @Andre: As a web designer/developer, I’d like to know if Microsoft has any plans to adopt new standards in the future so I can develop with them now assured someday they will be supported by the browser with the most market share. If they’re not planning, which is okay, then I’d avoid using those technologies and find alternatives.

    As an enthusiast, I’d like to know where the platform is heading to and how they plan to tackle Safari for Windows and Firefox 3, both of which are going to be much more mature before they even begin to release information next year.

  4. IE Desktop Online Web Browser Live Professional Ultimate Edition for the Internet


    Reading the post at the ieblog twice it sounds like an honest mistake with no negative intentions. He probibly gets tons of fanboy mail and way hoping to quell it.

    He did promise “You will hear a lot more from us soon on this blog and in other places.”

  5. @Long: I think they will (try to) adopt new standards (and old ones). If IE8 isn’t nearly 100% standard compliant, web designers really have a problem: three major versions of IE that handle web standards differently. So, maybe they try to be 100% web standard compliant but wouldn’t tell about it yet because it’s really difficult and the frustration could be immense if it doesn’t work?

  6. well i for one can agree that Microsft has a huge lack of communication….Ultimate extras anyone? Ultimate team blog ring a bell?

    M$ as been fairly wishy washy in the info they are providing and i think they will continue to be, its usually not until they have a fire under there butts when they pipe up and say sumthin…and since the RTM of Vista they have been very quiet about everything including SP1.

    i am personally fed up with there silence!


  7. I agree with mj. Microsoft is a private organization that is fed by thousands of workers, and hundreds of Web Developers. Do they really need to make it open for the public to see, comment on, and participate in. I don’t think so. This isn’t Open Microsoft, it’s a business.

    Of course, it is free software which can change the scope of the business part. But i still stick to saying, fuck all you complainers about not seeing shit in action.

  8. Maybe they should be giving a little info out but then again Apple says nothing until it is released to the public and fans of apple love it. Microsoft does it and people hate it. Maybe MS needs to not have the blog and leave it with absolutly no information.

    – GoldCoaster

  9. With IE being used by 80%+ of the world. People are forced to develop for IE and kind of restricts MS’s right to keep things so private. It may be a business but they have a responsibility to inform the developers whether they have to prepare to start supporting yet another browser with its own set of rules. Not saying that they have to inform them before anything is set in stone.. But, being vague is better than being totally silent.

    They can talk out of their ass if they want to as long as its something useful.

    I would have to agree with tino with potentially having 3 major versions to keep up with on top of FF and Opera.

  10. Maybe IE8 will actually be something worth upgrading to.

    Sometimes, Microsoft can surprise people, in a good way, and maybe this is what IE8 has to be.

    Microsoft knows that if it doesn’t shape up a browser, that’s completely blows Firefox 3 out of the water, IE’s going down for sure.

    And like usually, Microsoft doesn’t give up that easy. I think competition has finally got Microsoft to realize that they should be making better software as often as they can, not when they feel they have to. So I’m betting IE8 is really something, or they wouldn’t be so hush-hush about it.


  11. One year after Allchin it seems things go wrong inside Microsoft. Everything become qiute not just about IE. I don’t get what’s happend there. You all see that Ultimate Extras is disappointed and seem to died in some days. There is no any WPF application from Microsoft. For a year after Vista’s release, only Windows Live that get some move and keep busy.

    After reading Dean’s post twice, I feel he like to say something or he is under some pressure. The pressure may come from someone above him and below Gates.

  12. One question comes to mind, what are people going to do with any information given about IE8? What does knowing it may or may not have feature X do? What does even knowing the time-frame offer? Nothing. Even if IE8 comes out tomorrow you’ll still have to develop web-pages for IE6 and IE7 for those corporations on a delayed rollout. Even if IE8 has the best CSS-support out there you’ll still have to worry about other browsers and older versions of IE. In effect knowing more details about IE only feeds the information whores in us, it doesn’t do anything to alter our work flow. It’s not like you can stop developing for IE since it is still the dominant web-browser.

  13. Sorry, but I’m a HUGE Firefox fan and am not really that big on IE7 (though I did give it its fair shake after release) but I also hate when people (even Microsoft) are attacked unduly. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Robert O’Callahan did seem to speculate at the possibility of inaction here: With all due respect, if it insults one’s intelligence to suggest that one has considered inaction, what does it suggest to actually think it?

  14. This is what gets me: those who clamor for info on IE8, supposedly to get a leg-up on new features…and when those features are IE-only or run counter to W3 specs they whine and complain and move to developing for another browser that has even more problems.

    +10 to Andre and -100 for Long – and yes, I know that it’s your blog and all, Long, but you should know better for even taking that tact.


  15. “It’s not the lack of action that people are concerned about. It’s the lack of communication.”

    Man, does that quote make me think of many game companies which totally ignore their customers.

  16. @LongZheng and Matt S.

    Please let me know when you “developers” develop something truly worthwhile or compelling enough that it will be negatively impacted by not being “prepared” for IE8.

    You definitely understand that MS may support more standards or new features but wouldn’t cut basic browser features from the next IE. If it does that, your site will still work in Firefox, Opera, Safari, IE 6 and 7. So, what’s the problem there. If your website/app is really popular in such a situation:
    A. users will complain to MS to fix basic functionality.
    B. you will use some sort of “hack” to make it work.

    Someone has already made a strong argument about how even if IE8 is 100% compliant, it won’t suddenly take over from previous IEs. If it’s compliant you’re good to go, as you must have been supporting Firefox at least before that. If it’s still “broken”, you have your “hacks” that you’ve implemented for IE7 etc.

    You are still not the only developer around. Hundreds of old IE-friendly pages exist, that are not and won’t be “compliant” even if IE8 is. Then again, some website may only render correct colors in Safari/Opera and IE8 won’t make a difference. Then you still have RGB vs CMYK issues.

    Also, what is a standard anyway? I think it is determined by two factors:
    A. specification
    B. adoption/implementation

    e.g. The metric system is specified properly by an International body, analogous to W3C and their specs.
    The metric system is adopted by many many countries in the world, some of which gave up their old systems.

    Yet you have something like the US, which uses English system. Big user-base with big economic power. They specify and implement their own “standard” and require conversions to exist.

    You can argue either way with this: everyone should adopt English system or Metric system. Truth is, both parties have hit a stalemate and agree to coexist.

    Such is today’s situation with IE and others.

    Another thing is, standards should not hold back innovation. But, if the innovation is good (and exclusive to a product or service), the product gets adopted widely. Then everyone “expects” the exclusive feature to be implemented everywhere. This then becomes a standard, and others have to accept it or “die”.

    One can argue that you can implement standards first, then go ahead and innovate. But, look at stuff like Apple dropping floppy disk support back in the day. So, the floppy was essentially a standard. Apple went with a newer “feature” and was praised for it, and then that became a standard by which to measure others implementations. And this isn’t about Apple or Microsoft…you see this everywhere. e.g. when people drop support for SW radio and picked up other features. Or when some portable device drops disk drive and makes it a “plug-in”. Eventually, people may just stop caring to attach the plugin and learn to live without it.

    I think you get where I’m going…

    By the way Long, your blog has been a good read now and again and I love the name/domain-name too, but some of your recent posts sound too “bitchy”. And I think readers have pointed it out. You can complain and express displeasure, yes. But don’t go out on a limb to justify stuff. Either make it purely an opinion or a well-explained and logical argument. You can’t have both.

    *oh and by the way, I posting this comment to my blog (and a link to this post as a reference) as well. (cos my comments are my own words, period.)

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