As I suspected in my previous post, the beta for IE8 is out. Although this is just a beta, Microsoft made some promises for the final IE 8 version. The commitment that will delight most developers is their aim to deliver full CSS 2.1 support in the final IE 8. At last! Nearly a decade late, but better late than never, right?
But wait, what one hand gives, the other takes away. Along with IE 8, they will create a new proprietary tag to implement their WebSlices crap. Actually, I don’t know if it’s a proprietary tag, but it sounds like it: ‘Developers can make parts of their pages “subscribable” with just a little mark-up’. I don’t know of any current mark-up that makes portions of a web page subscribable.
I guess Microsoft is trying to show that they can still innovate in their browsers. The sad thing is that when they “innovate”, they create proprietary things that lock people into their browsers, whereas when other browsers innovate, they don’t need to do that. For example, Opera brought many new features in web browsing to the masses: tabbed browsing (I don’t know which version, but I remember using tabs in Opera 5 back in 2000), mouse gestures, a built-in IRC client, a built-in BitTorrent client, a built-in RSS feed reader, sophisticated keyboard navigation, etc. Okay, maybe not the masses, but you get my point. Their innovation did not lock anyone to their browser, but improved the user experience.
What I’d rather Microsoft do is, instead of spending man-hours developing their new proprietary technology, to work on getting their browsers to render the standards correctly the way the other browsers have done for ages. I mean, CSS has been available for about 10 years now. It’s not like it’s new technology anymore. They’re holding back the progress of the web.
This is a modern world Microsoft, where no one person controls the standards. Get used to it.
Update (March 8 ): Looks like I have to eat my words above. According to the IE team, to make a webslice you just use a certain combination of standard HTML and IE 8 will interpret as something special.