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Microsoft The Internet IT

Users and Web Developers Vent Over IE7 528

Spinlock_1977 writes "ComputerWorld is running a story about developers frustration with IE 7, and Microsoft's upcoming plans (or lack thereof) for it. From the article, "But the most pointed comment came from someone labeled only as dk. You all continue to underestimate the dramatic spillover effect this poor developer experience has had and will continue to have on your other products and services. Let me drive this point home. I am a front-end programmer and a co-founder of a start-up. I can tell you categorically that my team won't download and play with Silverlight ... won't build a Live widget ... won't consider any Microsoft search or ad products in the future.""
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Users and Web Developers Vent Over IE7

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  • Ignore them at your peril.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      dk: "What's that smell in the room?"
      Others: "It might be that 800lb gorilla over there."
      dk: "What 800lb gorilla?"
      Others: "The one that's sitting in the corner throwing poo at us."
      dk: "I don't know what you're talking about."
      Others: "For the love of god, it's right there! Stop ignoring it!"
  • in other news ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thhamm ( 764787 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:33PM (#21591917)
    ... Users and Web Developers Vent Over IE6 too and any version before that.
  • CSS support (Score:5, Informative)

    by gihan_ripper ( 785510 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:35PM (#21591925) Homepage
    Finally IE7 supports transparent PNGs, but CSS support is still poor at best. Here's a table [quirksmode.org] that lists support of various CSS styles on a per-browser basis. IE doesn't look good.
    • Re:CSS support (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:50PM (#21592055) Journal

      Finally IE7 supports transparent PNGs, but CSS support is still poor at best. Here's a table that lists support of various CSS styles on a per-browser basis. IE doesn't look good.

      And never will. Microsoft doesn't want to produce a standards-compliant browser. It doesn't want to produce a standards-compliant anything. It is only interested in furthering its monopoly by lock-in. I'm sure the IE7 team is under strict orders never ever ever to produce anything that comes close to being able to run nontrivial CSS, Javascript or anything else "out of the box". It wants developers to abandon competing browsers and push their customers to use IE. That was the strategy behind the mutiliation of Java, the pushing of possibly the most ludicrously insecure plugin system every known in the computing world (better known as ActiveX), and that's its purpose in making sure that IE, no matter the iteration, doesn't play well with CSS.

      Now maybe the odd developer will be like the one guy in this article, and vow not to work with MS technologies, but the majority will either go through the countless extra hours of work basically writing two versions of a good chunk of their web apps or going to compatibility libraries (which is insane considering we're dealing usually with interpreted languages at both ends of the connection, so adding yet another layer seems nuts) or will push IE simply because they don't have the time or energy to take the punishment that Microsoft is doling out for being evil and communistic enough not to work strictly with Microsoft's software.

      Of course, the irony of this is that when they push out IE8 (whenever the hell that is), Microsoft will bugger those developers again by changing functionality, making sure pages don't display correctly, that objects don't function quite like they did before, and ultimately force developers to in fact support three browsers; IE current, IE last version and everything else. Microsoft's so horrific that it doesn't even attempt to honor its own ad hoc standards.
      • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:50PM (#21592471) Homepage
        For some reason, I resisted the idea that Microsoft's browser incompatibilities were malevolent and intentional.

        The kicker for me, though, was seeing people implement Javascript layers that addressed the inconsistencies. In their spare time. For free. It completely demolished the idea that any kind of technical difficulty was in the way. It's been almost four years since Dean Edwards released the IE7 js layer and since then, Microsoft hasn't even managed to roll that much support into their product.

        Personally, I put whoever's in charge of Microsoft's IE product development team on the same moral level as spammers. Much in the same way spammers end up wasting your time and gumming a fantastic common resource, Microsoft's product wastes the time of thousands of web devs and holds the web back.

        I honestly don't think that anyone's gone far enough in expressing the level of contempt they've earned.
        • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:57PM (#21592511)
          What's even worse is that MS removed the * hack from IE6 that people were using to 'rebuild' IE6 to be more standards-compliant. Talk about a slap in the face! Yeesh.

          I've not checked to see how Dean's IE7 js thing works with the real IE7 - does it still work?
          • by radixvir ( 659331 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:39AM (#21593669) Homepage
            FYI, they removed one version of the star hack. The more useful property version still exists. #thing { width: 20px; *width: 30px; _width: 40px; } /* * for ie 6&7, _ for ie 6 only */
          • by vdboor ( 827057 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:25AM (#21594765) Homepage

            What's even worse is that MS removed the * hack from IE6 that people were using to 'rebuild' IE6 to be more standards-compliant.

            Well they had to.. The abuse of IE 6 bugs in the star-html selectors is so heavy that pages would break each time the IE 7 team fixed a bug. Standard-compliant web pages are filled with hacks like these:

            * html ... { height: 1%; }

            Do you really want that to be rendered at 1% in IE 7? That's what your code really states, and it's what IE 7 will render because they fixed the expanding box [positioniseverything.net] problem. That bug is abused heavily to enforce containment for the floats in IE 6, since IE 6 magically enlarges the box if is too small.

            I haven't had any real problems when the star-html parser bug was removed. IE 7 renders almost everything like Firefox because Microsoft fixed most of the bugs. There is one thing that I did have problems with, which is missing support for :after. This is typically used to enforce containment for standard-compliant browsers.

            Fortunately, there is a simple way to work arround that problem. A min-height of 0 will also trigger "hasLayout", and cause the box to contain all floats. So a nice way to clear floats without structural markup becomes:

            #header:after { /* Standard compliant browsers supporting CSS 2 */
            content: ".";
            display: block;
            clear: both;
            visibility: hidden;
            height: 0;

            * html #header { height: 1px; } /* IE 6 */
            *+html #header { min-height: 0; } /* IE 7 */

            Yes, and note the *+html selector. :-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by peragrin ( 659227 )
          stop resisting the idea that MSFT incompatiblities are malevolent and intentional.

          Active X a poor excuse for javascript
          Ever changing Document formats, .NET started as MSFT started to lose the Sun Java court case.
          MS JAVA a rip off windows only implentation of Java,
          Kerebos? nope.

          the only Industry standard that MSFT properly supports is ??? TCP/IP And even that is questionable at times. Networking? SMB, nope SMB MSFT way, nope SMB sucks use CIFS. Every time someone gets close to reverse engineering MSFT
      • Re:CSS support (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @10:11PM (#21592627) Homepage

        the majority will either go through the countless extra hours of work basically writing two versions of a good chunk of their web apps or going to compatibility libraries (which is insane considering we're dealing usually with interpreted languages at both ends of the connection, so adding yet another layer seems nuts)
        Speaking as the author of a compatibility library, I resent being called "insane".

        So, I have a compatibility library. Yes, it adds another layer... but that layer *works*, and I don't have to rewrite the code every time I want to know where the scrollbar is or how big a div is. And it's fast enough for anything I've needed to do with it, which has included making calls to it every 100 milliseconds in some instances. And because I have my compatibility library, I can do things in minutes that take other people hours or days or weeks... if they can do them at all.

        I've been doing extensive Dynamic HTML work since 1999, so I have to deal frequently with the various browsers' implementations of Javascript and the DOM. And yes, IE sucks. Bad. But you know what? All browsers suck, bad. I have constant problems with Firefox too, and with Safari. Do I have more of them with IE? Yup. If I had a nickel for every time IE made me swear, I could buy Microsoft. But that doesn't make Firefox or Webkit good. They're just less bad.

        And, let me point out one case in which IE is the winner, in the hope of embarrassing Firefox (and Webkit?) into doing something useful to me... IE is the only browser with a built in API for replacing the scripting language. You want to replace Javascript with, say, Ruby? IE has the API, you can write a plugin and do it. Firefox doesn't: to write a plugin for it you'd have to extensively muck about in Firefox's internals.
        • Re:CSS support (Score:4, Insightful)

          by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @01:50AM (#21594041) Homepage
          Speaking as the author of a compatibility library, I resent being called "insane".

          I think you misunderstood the OP. You aren't insane for having written what appears to be a very good compatibility library and the OP didn't say you were. What's insane (to the OP) is the fact that you needed to write it in the first place.

    • > Finally IE7 supports transparent PNGs

      Close. It now supports full alpha transparency in 24-bit PNGs. IE6 hsupports a transparent index colour in 8-bit PNGs. Too bad IE7 also messes up the palette in those fancy 24-bit PNGs, though. :(
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )
      You're kind of offtopic. Yeah, IE CSS sucks. But Microsoft's poor support for standards has never prevented their products from being adopted. The developers just grit their teeth and use the non-standard Microsoft equivalent. They have to, because Microsoft technology dominates so many markets. In particular, IE7 still has almost 90% of the browser user base. You can't write a web app and ignore 90% of your potential users!

      But in TFA we're talking about lousy Microsoft support for Microsoft technology. It
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Finally IE7 supports transparent PNGs, but CSS support is still poor at best. Here's a table [quirksmode.org] that lists support of various CSS styles on a per-browser basis. IE doesn't look good.

      The seasoned web developer's point of view: anything that works in Opera, Firefox and Safari might work in IE7, but chances are you will probably need to adjust the whole design just to compensate.
  • by ivar ( 31153 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:43PM (#21592013)
    Seemingly to combat the hate, Dean Hachamovitch (GM for IE) has posted on the IE blog [msdn.com] an announcement for IE8. The big news ? that IE8 will be called... Internet Explorer 8 !!! huzzah!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm surprised he hasn't been fired yet for one of the suggestions

      : IE Desktop Online Web Browser Live Professional Ultimate Edition for the Internet (the marketing team really pushed for this one ;-)

      emoticons aside, that pretty much sums up a lot of problems at microsoft. I guess as director he must have some real pull.
  • Using IE7 sucks... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:49PM (#21592051)
    I have yet to develop for IE7 (indeed, most of the time I just try and make sure my websites look alright in the various Linux based browsers I have around, including Lynx fo course). But I've had to use it a lot in the last couple of weeks.

    I hate it. There are little things, such as having to tab twice to get from the address bar to the search bar (in Firefox it is only once...), re-arranging all of the buttons (the back and forward buttons are too far away now, the refresh and stop buttons are too small and in an inconvinient place etc.), lack of spell checker (as you can probably tell from my nasty spelling in this post) and other simple UI issuse like those.

    As well, often I've noticed that it will freeze the rendering of a page for no apparent reason, or blur the page, so that you can't actually see anything at all... for a time.

    This is not to mention the inability to save a page by right clicking it (useful when Javascript hides the menu bar), the persistent attempt at getting me to save pages in "WebArchive" format (MHT), no matter how many times I select something else, and various other things.

    Another thing! It refuses to let me go directly to a secure website that has been signed by itself (and not be a 'signing authority')! Again, no matter how many times I go to the website it throws up the same stupid page, we reccomend that you don't go to this website... BUT I HAVE TO TO DO X (check email, whatever).

    In short, I've noticed few good things about IE7 as a user (the addition of tabs and the search bar are the only two things), and many bad things.
    As a developer, I shall continue to ignore IE unless I happen across a copy of the browser while I'm actually thinking about developing.

    • A concise list of IE7 interface mistakes. Thank you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 )
      There are solutions to most of your complaints. How about, instead of tabbing from address bar, you just use the shortcut key Ctrl-E. When javascript hids the menu bar, just press alt once and the menu appears. IE will save the default save as format, but you have to be careful that another instance of IE doesn't save over this setting later. You can have it go directly to a page by importing it's certificate into IE's default certificates page. A lot of your other arguments are a misunderstanding of w
    • by Kent Recal ( 714863 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @10:52PM (#21592933)

      [...] or blur the page, so that you can't actually see anything at all... for a time.

      Oh yea, that has been reported many times. But actually it's not IE blurring the screen, it's your own tears!
      Stop using windows and the problem will go away.
  • by SavvyPlayer ( 774432 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:51PM (#21592063)
    { // IE Workaround that we hope we don't have to go back and change the day IE8 ships... ....

  • Kinda funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSkyIsPurple ( 901118 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:53PM (#21592095)
    The last couple sites I built were heavy with more DOM shuffling than I like, and lots of AJAXy goodness.
    I developed them in Firefox, tested them with Safari, and didn't give IE a thought.

    IE7: All functionality worked fine, with one or two very minor formatting differences. (which I'm not going to do anything about)

    IE6: Completely and unusably horked. Fortunately I don't have to care.

    Thank goodness for internal only sites.
  • Another problem... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yakumo.unr ( 833476 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:58PM (#21592129) Homepage
    ...is with a 6 year development gap a huge number of casual users have forgotten what it is to upgrade/install a web browser, or simply never known, and don't see it as something they ever need to think about.
  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:08PM (#21592191) Homepage Journal
    I thought web devs were thoroughly used to IE having its quirks. You think IE fought netscape, opera, and firefox only to comply in the end with somebody else's standards? LOL.

    Websites and simple web apps must first be compatible, so the problem is not IE7 more than IE6.

    Complex apps might benefit by targeting only "standard browsers" like Firefox and Opera, if you have to use a complex app you're literate enough to install a second browser, and the dev effort to reach compatibility takes resources away and prevents good but not cross platform stuff to be used. I'm not talking only about svg and xform, but little things which make a huge difference when you're behind a web app for hours: IIRC on IE6 you couldn't pick the correct entry in a long drop down menu by typing the first few letters when it's focused.

    So this outburst of noise might just make the scheduled revamp of IE7 a "MS listen to us" propaganda stunt.
    Does IE7 have a revamp? Well, FF3 is round the corner and opera is fast.
  • Seriously, there is a way to fix this mess. Get everybody to use Firefox (Ok, Opera and Safari are good too).

    There is some holiday involving gift giving coming up. Perhaps somebody would like a nice shiny fiery CD from the Mozilla store?
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:31PM (#21592331) Journal
    At the w3schools, [w3schools.com]the top browser is Firefox at 36%. OK, OK it is a techie site not a general site. And yes, if you add IE5, IE6 and IE7 it comes to 57% beating Firefox. But still, for the first time, in Sep 2007, the column for Firefox becomes the king of the hill. Since IE6 is going down, till IE7 overtakes Firefox, it will keep the number 1 spot for sometime to come.
  • I don't get what people like this developer called DK think their empty threats will achieve. Lets say he is for real about abandoning MS products. This is how his next sales pitch will go.

    customer: "We standardise on the MS platform, what can you offer us?"

    DK: "No i swore off it on some random blog, can't go back on my word now!"

    customer: "Good day to you sir"

    I feel sorry for this guy's staff if he thinks he should be the one driving what customers want, not the other way around.

    • I dunno (Score:3, Informative)

      by walterbyrd ( 182728 )
      > customer: "We standardise on the MS platform, what can you offer us?"

      If somebody has some great web-based application, that is just what I need, I'm not going to turn it down just because I would have to download a free browser.

      You can still standardize on the MS platform if you use firefox. Ever hear of adobe, intuit, symantec, macafe, or autodesk? Those companies have products that are used by thousands (millions?) of shops that standardize on the MS platform. Just because you use windows doesn't mea
  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:48PM (#21592455) Homepage
    You know what I was thinking would be cool?

    A day organised where all web developers can band together and intentionally not make their sites work for IE, just for one day.

    I can't think of anything that would be a more effective protest. A single day where every IE user couldn't access a significant number of sites might make Microsoft sit up and take notice.
  • Thats what I tend to do. I produce web pages which are as generically compatible as possible (meaning I have to give up on a lot of nice features sometimes), usually checking them in Firefox, Safari, Opera etc, then if necessary I tweak them to ensure they aren't completely broken under IE. As long as they are readable under IE thats good enough. I really could care less what MS does with IE, its a sub-par product being developed in a haphazard and irresponsible manner for the sole purpose of supporting Mic
  • But only a first step. Microsoft ignored developers for years, and there's a lot of bitterness in the community about that. I've only been developing professionally for a year or so now, and my organization isn't going IE7 on the desktop yet, so I haven't really tested it thoroughly, but as far as I can see IE7 is reasonably standards compliant, probably around the Firefox 1 mark for most things.

    As I said, this is a good first step for Microsoft, and a good first step for moving the web into an environment

  • It's fucking awesome.

    It's sort of like HTML for true apps, except:
    1. You have a "real" programming language backing it, you can do whatever you want with it, even processor heavy computations. It's FAST.
    2. All HTML niggles are fixed. You don't have to dig around in Google to figure out how to lay out a piece of UI. It's just obvious.
    3. You can deploy your apps as *.xbap pages. As simple as that. If the user has .NET Framework 3.5, XBAP link will open a sandboxed instance of a full-blown app. This means you
    • Stillborn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theolein ( 316044 )
      I can almost guarantee you that WPF is going to go the same path as ActiveX did, i.e. It will be used by companies that are Windows only internally on intranets, it will get used by a tiny minority of general windows web developers, the rest will almost certainly avoid it like the plague for the very obvious reason that their sites would lose customers if they were only usable by Windows users with .Net version x.x only. And all those who do NOT code for .Net on the backend (and, believe it or not, that is
  • In a perfect world, we'd stop complaining about how Microsoft are forcing developers to jump through their proprietary hoops in order to render what would otherwise be standards compliant pages. Instead we would continue developing pages that are completely standards compliant, until the public perception of IE was "Oh that browser that makes pages look like crap... what's that Firefox thing you've been telling me about?"
  • Inherent problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @11:08PM (#21593061) Homepage Journal
    No matter what the do with IE7, the problem is many people still use IE6. I'm seeing about half of IE users on 6, and half on 7. This means that no matter what Microsoft does to IE7, we still have to develop for multiple platforms because people are still using 6.

    The other problem is this. I'm a web developer. In order to make my job easier I use many software tools. Most of those tools, like the web developer toolbar and Firebug, are Firefox extensions. No version of IE really has any tool that can equal Firebug. I was considering moving away from Firefox because of its instability and poor memory usage, but I am so dependent on the extensions that I can not leave.

    The result of this is that I will always develop for Firefox where the handy developer tools are. Then after I am done, I will tweak and hack until it works under IE. Really, Microsoft created this horrible situation, and now there's almost no way out. Honestly, they should just get rid of IE and have Firefox be the default browser for everybody. That's about all they can do at this point.
  • by SirJorgelOfBorgel ( 897488 ) * on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:07AM (#21593453)
    As a web development professional (and long before that a software development professional) I can feel the pain of most people who are complaining here. I must say I do not feel the same about IE7 as a lot of others here feel though. Sure it isn't perfect, but I hardly spend time fixing things for IE7. For IE6, that is another story though. Now I must admit I have written my own build system that automates a lot of tasks for me, and it also includes creating IE-compatible CSS files for a lot of common CSS hacks (read: the ones I use) that can be included with a conditional comment. This saves me quite some time. But still, for the design I am handed, if you would take the FF2 front-end development time as 100%, I'd add 35% for IE6, 5% for IE7, 5% for Opera and 5% for Safari. Development is obviously done in FF as this has the best developers tools.

    To be honest, I've run into so many quirks in all 4 major browsers alike (IE/FF/Opera/Safari) that I'd almost say I hate them all. As someone on IRC said a few days ago: I hate IE 1 MS, and I hate all the others several milliMS, but I don't love any of them.

    IE7 still has issues with PNG's (just use AIL as in IE6, it works better, it's actually faster, and you have to do that for IE6 anyway), you can't use fading effects on text because of the cleartype issues and developers tools are just not nearly as good as their FF counterparts.

    In the other hand, I've been playing with FF3 (and posting bug reports like crazy) and it breaks. It really really breaks. FF3b may pass the ACID2 test, but that's about all it passes. It has broken pretty much all the complicated sites I've tried in it. Sure it's a beta, and a lot of issues will be resolved, I just wouldn't be surprised if FF3 final still breaks a lot.

    Opera, yeah, let's talk about Opera. The latest Opera is worse than FF3b. 9.2 is totally bugridden. It seems that every bug I run into, I upgrade to a newer Opera (every month or two) and it's fixed. Sure this says a lot for how hard the Opera guys are working and fixing things, but it's till bad. Opera 9.5b? I'm surprised to find it in that quirksmode comparison. According to that page it does lots of things it doesn't actually do - or only does half. Again, 9.5 breaks, and it breaks bad. They even had the nerve to 'fix' the mousewheel to now use - and + indices as the other browsers do. That's a good thing, if it weren't for the fact that pretty much all mousewheel JS depends on Opera doing it the other way around. Should we talk about all the redraw bugs Opera suffers from? Seriously it's amazing how may artefacts you see on screen that disappear by minimizing/maximizing (and other such operations that force the window to completely redraw). These are not really HTML/CSS rendering errors, it's just redraw code where corners have been cut that shouldn't have been. Sure it's fast, but if this is the price you pay....

    Safari? Oh yeah Safari. It's bitchingly fast. Too bad the rest of the interface is slow as a dog. Really, who came up with the 'sliding' message box animation? Yeah there's an error, oh, hey, let me just wait 7 seconds on a really stupid animation that's not even anti aliased just so I can click OK. Webkit good. Safari interface bad. And it has LOTS of quirks as well (and I'm talking about v3 here, not v2, that's a horror of biblical proportions by itself).

    Just saying. IE7 isn't 'the doggs bollocks', but neither are the other browsers. And with the betas of FF3 and Opera 9.5 I'm almost scared for the future, it doesn't look well so far, but at least there's hope in those departments.

    Which brings me to my real point. Conditional comments. Sure, they may be bad practise, and yeah, they bloat. In the meantime, in the REAL WORLD, things need to be fixed. I can't sell to a client that we can't do something correctly cross-browser or it takes XXXX more hours because of quirk A in browser B that simply cannot be fixed without a bunch of javascript that does the SAME THING as a conditional comment would, but EVEN LESS mainta

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