Wednesday 1 March 2006

Microsoft IE7 Progress: Sneak Preview of MIX06 Release

I’m sitting here with Malarkey and Markus Mielke in Mandelieu, a beautiful town in the south of France. We’re here attending the W3C Technical Plenary and Markus has been kind enough to give us a sneak preview of the IE7 release that’s expected for the MIX06 event.

We’ve been looking at a number of sites in the newest beta build, and we’re seeing some truly impressive work. Two designs have been particularly compelling as use cases. Malarkey’s personal Web site, which has an IE6 specific version and a version best viewed in more modern browsers; and Gemination, Egor Kloos’s progressively enhanced CSS Zen Garden design that sends two completely different designs to IE6 and modern browsers out of the same CSS file.

Here’s the progress of Malarkey’s site, from IE6 to IE7 Beta Preview, to IE7 MIX06 Release:

malarkey progress in IE

Malarkey has his own write up, well worth a read.

And Gemination IE6 to IE7 Beta Preview to IE7 MIX06 Release (this is cut off to the right a bit to fit the image, but suffice it to say everything works, even the hover effects!) :

gemination progress in IE

Markus tells me that several more fixes are going to make it into the MIX06 release, too.

On behalf of WaSP and the WaSP / Microsoft Task Force it makes me very proud to be here today watching history unfold.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 11:04 | Comments (65)

Comments (65)

  1. Glad to see my shots went to good use 😉 Exciting stuff.

  2. It’s nice to see the Gemination entry is looking better on IE7. The amount of bug fixes and annoyances are shrinking with every minor build of IE7. As it stands, I’d be perfectly happy with the improvements if the team stopped all development of the browser right now.

    The bugs seem almost trivial at this point and I’m sure there’s nothing that a little IE sniff couldn’t do with a conditional comment. They are indeed light years past IE6 and I’m getting much more comfortable with the improvements.

  3. I for one will not be paying a single penny for IE7 until I am assure that {text-decoration: blink} works correctly. And that’s CSS*1*, you know.

  4. “I’m sitting here with Malarkey and Markus Mielke in Mandelieu”

    Marvelous, Molly! Magnificent, momentous Microsoft milestone!

    Mmmm, don’tcha just love alliteration?

  5. Are any of my bugs fixed?

  6. I’m sorry. Maybe I expect too much from people, but given the financial and technological resources at Microsoft’s disposal, I don’t think it’s asking too much from them to produce a browser that just works. No allowances for the little quirks that seems to occur. No “oh well, that’s ok” for not keeping up with the latest industry or client standards. No “you’ll do better next time” for leaving out important features until the next upgrade. We sneer at small (sometimes brand new) companies for not incorporating miniscule goodies into their applications, yet we seem almost complacent when the biggest kid on the block dishes out the same kind of product that only leaves us wishing for more. Screw IE. Twenty years and billions of dollars worth of effort and Microsoft can’t best an open source effort that brings us the likes of Firefox. Microsoft may still hold market share, but it’s falling and I don’t know why we even tolerate further attempts.

  7. Pingback: (HTML + CSS) × 2 ‹ lâmpada azul

  8. William,

    IE has only had 7 years of active development with a relatively small team. IE 5.5 and 6 were the best when they were released. IE 6 only seems so bad now because it is 5 years old, and that lapse is due to MS’s strategic error of thinking it was big enough to freeze the web. Management seems to have moved out of that phase, and that is worth celebrating. After all, as much you might want it, IE’s share will never drop so low that you can afford to ignore it. Anything the IE team does to make our lives easier should be encouraged.

  9. “IE has only had 7 years of active development with a relatively small team.”
    Are you kidding ?
    I.E was out in 1995, 12 years ago and Microsoft is not what I’d call a little bussiness. They could have give the relatively biggest team in the world if they wanted.
    “IE 5.5 and 6 were the best when they were released.”
    Best for what ?
    I agree that IE was less buggy (I said it) than Netscape, but IE 5 or 6 has always been the worst regarding the security, and the respect of w3c and for the lack of good options like tab browsing, anti-pop-up, etc…
    Opera exist since 96, Mozilla since 99 (not sure for this one) and Firebird/Firefox since 2003 : look what they’ve done with not even 0,1% of the financials means of Microsoft !
    I have nothing against I.E, I would have rather having a good browser, reliable, safe and with a lot of useful features since the beginning, instead of switching to another browser. Only, I don’t understand why people are so enthusiasts about a new version of IE that should have been done at least 4 years ago.
    “Anything the IE team does to make our lives easier should be encouraged.”
    I’m not sure they’re making our lives easier, they understood that w3c and security is two of the most important things for a good browser, at least. But how will they make it happen ? That’s the big question. 1st, I.E 7 is available for windows xp and vista only. While his two big challengers, Mozilla-Firefox and Opera are availables for windows (98/me/2000/xp, etc…), linux, freebsd, solaris and so on… That’s not making the life of the consumer easier, to force him to upgrade.

  10. gegeabhrams,

    No, I am not kidding. IE was out in 1995, and the last IE 6 was released in 2001. That’s six years of active development. Add one year for the active devlopment this year, and you get 7. The period between 2001 was bug-fix only, and then only if it threatened security. That doesn’t count as active development; that is maintenance. The IE development team cannot develop an app that management says they cannot develop. As for giving IE a large development team, they didn’t because it couldn’t be justified. IE doesn’t have a revenue stream that can be quantified on paper like other apps at Redmond.

    IE security problems are well known, but they are not comparable to apps like Opera and Mozilla because neither of those browsers were trying to do what Microsoft was trying to do with ActiveX. IE truly is a core part of the Windows development platform, and that level of integration combined with the dangers of ActiveX controls in the hands of inexperienced users and weak access control in the 9x file system created a the security nightmare we all remeber. MS’s coding practices were lax at the time and overflows abounded. No one here denies that.

    IE 7 is available for only Vista and XP because 9x and 2000 are well out of the the MS support window. Additionally, the differences between the 9x and XP codebases make it unjustifiable to invest so much time in such a small market. It would be equivalent to asking a designer to make a site that uses CSS 2 and 3 features, but to also code it so that it loooks exactly the same when viewed in a version 2 or 3 browser. It doesn’t help that some of the IE security features require the newer aspects of the access control system that simply don’t exist in the 9x series. You would have to replace the entire OS to make it work, or you would have to cut features and have 2 different browsers. MS is aware that Mozilla and Opera provide browsers for the 9x series, and that is exactly why they feel no need to worry about supporting new versions of IE on those systems. Ultimately, all commercial software falls into this pattern. The same thing happens in open source, too, but then you can fork the code and maintain it yourself.

    MS is making an effort to resolve past problems and is showing a healthy interest in standards. Whether you program or design, it is difficult to avoid Microsoft, so that’s excellent news when viewed form the perspective of a developer.

    I reiterate that any improvment at MS should be encouraged. As an anology, consider a relative who was doing well but then went on a five year heroin binge and ruined almost every interpersonal relationship he had. You’ve put up with a lot from him, but you can’t toss him out of your life. After five years he has agreed to go to a rehab clinic and seems to be turning his life around. As a decent human being and one who recognizes your own self-interest, you encourage his positive behavior. You don’t say, “That’s nothing special, John. You should have done this three years ago.”

    No one here is casting aspersions on Mozilla or Opera by praising the upturn in fortunes for IE. They have rightfully recieved tons of praise for their work, and at least Mozilla have said thay they are happy about it, too. So why get worked up when people send a little lovin’ MS’s way? It’s not going to hurt anyone, and it may help everyone.

  11. gegeabhrams: It’s true. Microsoft did not have an IE dev team for 5 years. That would explain how IE sat at version 6 for 8 years!

  12. Sounds like there really has been some progress! I’d be more excited if it hadn’t taken quite so long 😉

    Do we dare hope that IE will no longer ruin at least one day in every project?

  13. @Jeff L

    I just checked our latest builds and your issue is fixed.

  14. It’s really good to see this progressing so well.

  15. Markus,

    Thanks so much for letting me know!

  16. That’s good news. A good example of why no-one should be attempting to fix their sites for IE7 based on the Beta Preview.

  17. Great news, I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully developers will not be reassigned to other jobs after IE7 goes live so that IE will be able to keep up with the whole bunch.

  18. Bruce,
    text-decoration:blink *IS* supported correctly in IE. Always has been. 🙂

  19. I’m trying to follow this closely…really closely…and so far the signs are encouraging. 🙂

  20. Can someone confirm whether is rendering correctly in the latest builds?


  21. I think what will probably remain to be one of the biggest problems is standardizing percentages. Look at the HOLY GRAIL. Comes up right in Mozilla, IE 6 (kind of-disappearing bug), but not IE7

  22. Happy happy joy joy indeed. Keep it up Markus!

  23. Pingback: BLINGBLOG » Blog Informatique, Web et Insolite » IE7 prend forme avec les standards

  24. Pingback: Style Grind » IE7 Shapes Up

  25. Chris – touché! But it supporting that one optional bit of css1 would’ve made my GeoCities 1996 zen garden design so much more gorgeous in IE!

    Seriously: Thanks to you and your team for the work you’re doing in IE.

    And if, during your lunchbreak, you feel like adding text-decoration:blink, there’s a heartfelt thankyou from me..

  26. i’m going to have to agree with gegeabhrams.
    when a child is 5 you can encourage them for doing “better”
    when you’re talking to an adult that happens to be an industry juggernaut like miscosoft, there has to be some sort of standard. Yes, improvements are good, but imroved crap is still crap.
    I have no praise for MS just because they’re fixing the bugs that should have been fixed 6 or 7 years ago. 3 years is industry standard for expected equipment lifetime as far as computers go. IE is comparable to a 150 year old man…who just got a new walker and now moves 10% faster. To bad +10% to 1 mph is 1.1 mph.

  27. Pingback: Beyond Caffeine » More Improvements on IE7 Beta

  28. If IE 7 goes to launch without max-width implemented, I’ll be dissappointed. It’s really important.

  29. Hey Molly, I didn’t think to ask… did you try the Acid2 test in the new beta? 🙂

  30. Ben: there’s the issue of Data URLs in the primary Acid2 test, we’ve provided a special Acid2 test for Microsoft. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have something to show for that soon. I’ll check with Markus and we’ll see, but as you are aware Microsoft is not using Acid2 as a specific measure – their focus right now is to fix bugs, add as much implementation as possible, and get as much up to speed as they can for the IE7 release.

  31. Pingback: mix blog

  32. Pingback: mix blog

  33. Pingback: einfach persoenlich Weblog

  34. I don’t get it? Why do I want to create two stylesheets? Why can’t I create one and have ie render it the same way every other browser does. I am tired of wasting my time doing a “ie” and “everyone else” version.

  35. Pingback: DonXml's All Things Techie

  36. Ha Ha. I have Beta 2 Preview, and I was visiting this page, and I was wondering if it will properly display in the lastest builds?

    The forms where you fill out information are worse, I was laughing. I like the new stuff that’s being done with IE, keep up the great work!


  37. Pingback: IE7 Beta MIX06 Edition | Jan Brašna | HereBeDragons™

  38. Thanks for the info on Acid2, Molly! 🙂 Although it’s not a priority for the IE7 team, it still helps give a general idea of progress.

  39. I’d just like to add a comment about the mirrored post on Wasp. If images are turned off, the ALT text cannot be seen. For some reason it is styled in white. This affects the IE screenshots, and also other images, such as the logo, and the feed link at the bottom of the page. I thought the ALT text was actually missing altogether until I also turned off styles to see it. Hope you can correct that. (Or is the new redesign due any day now?)

  40. I’m pleased to see that after two and half years my zengarden still works in every modern browser, update after update, and now I can IE7 to that list.

    It’s funny to think that at some point nobody will be using IE6 and that that version will no longer be seen. The dual design will effectively cease to exist.

  41. Thanks for the sneal peak Molly, I myself can not wait till the release so I can play around with it on my sites!

  42. I have not been able to find any statements by Microsoft (or anybody else, for that matter) on the support of w3c DOM level 1 and 2 in IE7.

    Can someone help please?

  43. Basic CSS positioning not yet working in IE7 beta 2 preview.


  44. Dragging of tabs left and right is not implemented – that’s a very cool feature of Firefox.

    Also dragging links to tabs, and dropping them onto the tab should open that link in the tab (without swicthing to that tab)

  45. Hi Molly,

    After reading and following this for a while, coming from a noobie techincal side of things, just WHY cannot all the bugs in IE6 and hang overs from before be just fixed? What with you and your firends and the MS IE7 team working for years now on this, I just cannot understand why everything has’nt been sorted out making it the browser it should be.

    Your have to forgive my non technical questioning here but just WHY? can’t it all just be sorted out with all these top people like yourself and the MS team and all the other great people beta testing and offering help.

    Don’t we all deserve the most coompliant and feature rich browser possible with such a long development and beta testing period? although I do see this new mix is getting better and this is very good news, but will it be there and ready for this Vista release later this year?

    What with all the years of patches and work arounds letting the Mozilla firefox (be it a good browser) catch up a bit in the market share, should IE7 really be the ground breaking brower update that really does giove us what we deserve.

    I’m keeping the faith for a good IE7 we can all be proud of and not have to wait another 5 years for IE8 to fix the mountain of other bugs left un touched in the final release of IE7.

    South Wales, UK

  46. I’ve been using the beta for a while now and I’m really impressed. It complies with web standards well (pngs at last!) and the rendering engine is just amazing. It looks like a Mac on a PC. Well done I say.

  47. Pingback: Microsoft IE7 Progress: Sneak Preview of MIX06 Release - The Web Standards Project

  48. Pingback: Foliosus :: Blog Archive :: Is Microsoft scre***g the web community again?

  49. Pingback: d2 - for love.

Newer Comments →

Upcoming Travels