Wednesday 31 January 2007

Working Together for a Better Web

This message is cross-posted to the IEBlog to take your comments there.

Hi Everyone!

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Molly E. Holzschlag, and I’m excited to announce that I’ve signed on with the Internet Explorer team on a contract basis to work on standards and interoperability issues. Many readers of the IEBlog will be familiar with the Web Standards Project (WaSP). As the departing Group Lead for WaSP and as an invited expert to the W3C, my work has in the past focused on the creation and evangelism of Web standards. In an effort to develop proactive, cooperative relationships with Microsoft as development teams ramped up for IE7 and the new Expression Web, I began working closely with the Web Platform and Tools team via the WaSP / Microsoft Task Force.

The Web, as envisioned by its creator Tim Berners-Lee, was always meant to be an interoperable platform. That was the entire heart and soul of its emergence: To provide people a means of sharing information across the world without regard to the computer platform or browser in use. Due to the browser “wars” and what I prefer to think of as the early evolutionary stages of the Web, just how we were going to keep that vision in such a fast-moving environment became a serious concern.

One way to address that concern has been through standards advocacy and evangelism. Another way is to identify the problems in all browsers and tools, prioritize them, and work toward creating a stable baseline of compatibility from the side of software as well as education. I spent a lot of my career working on the first, but now I’m convinced it’s the action and education that’s going to make the long-term difference, not evangelism on its own.

With that, I’m very excited to announce that I will be working to advance standards and interoperability education and outreach. The goal is essentially two fold:

* To provide resources to Web designers and developers (including internal developers at Microsoft) as they work toward a more standards-oriented goal – no matter which tools and technologies are being used. To achieve this, our group will be publishing educational material for designers and developers from such noted industry experts as Eric Meyer, Christopher Schmitt and Aaron Gustafson. We’re choosing people who represent the Web professional’s community at large and who are subject matter experts in the technologies about which they’ll be writing. We’ll also be doing hands-on tutorials, continuing with our chat series, and I’ll be blogging a column called “The Daily Molly” which will provide short news, tips and tricks, and items of interest to the community

* To work with Microsoft as well as all browser and tools vendors. It is my desire that persistence coupled with diplomacy will assist us all in moving to a time where interoperability becomes the heart of the Web again

Pete LePage, a Product Manager at Microsoft Web Platform and Tools, offers these words:

“I’m very excited to work more closely with Molly, as she excels in creating content for web designers and developers. Her track record of achievements in community outreach initiatives, her independence, as well as her high standards, is impressive and this strength will be of great value to both the designer/developer community and to Microsoft. Molly’s unique capabilities are ideal for this position and I know she will be successful in connecting the web community with us.”

I look forward to this challenging, exciting opportunity! I’m grateful to all the wonderful people at Microsoft, Opera, Mozilla, Apple, the Web Standards Project, the W3C and countless other companies and groups around the world who are working so very hard to advance this evolutionary and wonderful tool we share that is the World Wide Web.

With warm regards,


Molly E. Holzschlag
Standards & Interoperability Education and Outreach
Web Platform and Tools, Microsoft

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 00:50 | Comments Off on Working Together for a Better Web

Sunday 28 January 2007


photo of zeus the cat sleeping peacefully on a sunny day


It’s gonna be really difficult to leave this place and say goodbye to Zeus. Where has the time gone? I need more time spent like this.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 02:47 | Comments Off on Peaceful

Thursday 25 January 2007

Two Birthday Wishes

Is it okay to ask for two birthday wishes? My goodness, today I’m 44 years old. How did that happen? Where did the time go? I’ve woken up to a life that is completely different than I’d ever imagined, in almost all ways a magical and enchanted life that is richly blessed with friends.

But of course these midlife years make for some deep and often too dark nights of the soul. My 43rd year was frankly the most terrible year of my life. However, looking back at all the loss and self-abuse and depression and human failure I realize it was also a year in which I learned some incredibly important lessons about how I will live and how I want to be in the future. I suppose that’s what the rough times are all about.

In the course of my mental meanderings, I’ve realized that I have come to a place where I am clear about wanting only two things now out of life. It feels selfish to even ask, because I’ve been so profoundly and unusually blessed with opportunity, travel, and such great loving friends world-over. Who gets that? Why did I? What right have I to ask for anything in light of my bounty in a suffering world?

Of course, I am only human, and fundamentally egocentric. So here are my two birthday wishes.

  • To continue to work in technology with the specific and clear goal of using it to enhance and improve the human condition
  • To find my life’s love and settle in my growing older years (which have already started, fellas) into a quiet, loving relationship with a companion to care for and be cared for by. Now, that might seem rather romantic or simplistic or what have you, but that’s really all I ever wanted out of life. Funny how it’s the one thing that’s always eluded me. Sure, I’ve had love and in fact experienced many great relationships over the years. But now I guess is a settling time, and I mean that in a spiritual sense.

So that’s where I’m at today, thinking of life as I enter my 44th year. It cannot go without saying that every person who has touched my life, via this blog, my work and so forth has enriched it and helped me not just survive, but thrive, even on those days when I simply didn’t want to. So thank you all so very much for saving me, valuing me and caring for me as I make my way through this journey called life.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 15:00 | Comments (110)

Tuesday 23 January 2007

No, I Am Not Fire (Aquarius)

No, I am not fire
I am air in disguise
using my own breath as fuel

Is it because you delight in the gossip
or did the tequila loosen your tongue
separate it from your mind or heart?

Yes, I appear as fire
often frenzied, hungry, intense
but I am not fire, no.

If all for talk it would be a sad waste
to spend my thoughts now wondering
what is it I did or did not do
what I have or have not to give

that brings a warm, sweet air
without a searing flame.

I can answer you with no touch
that I promise. It’s not and never has been
what I think you think I think it ever was.

No, I am not the flame
you believe me to be
and never would knowingly burn

such a friend beloved.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 23:30 | Comments Off on No, I Am Not Fire (Aquarius)

Sunday 21 January 2007

St. Paul’s from South of the Thames


St. Paul’s from South of the Thames

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Posted by:   Molly | 01:27 | Comments Off on St. Paul’s from South of the Thames

Thursday 18 January 2007

What Really Happened with HTML and CSS in Outlook 2007

People working with HTML email have always had under-represented voices in the way various software vendors implement HTML and CSS into their mail software. Recently, Microsoft Outlook 2007 has made major changes to the way Outlook renders email, and developers are naturally, and understandably concerned.

To that end I took the question to colleagues at Microsoft in order to see what I could find out. I have to admit that after having been so focused on working with IE7 and other prioritizations, it never occurred to me or anyone else at WaSP in the Microsoft / WaSP Task Force to even ask about rendering in Office products. What a kerfuffle, as Lou would tell Andy in Little Britain.

As it turns out, in past versions, Outlook used two rendering engines. IE’s for reading content, and Word for composing messages. What this meant was that if you were replying or forwarding HTML emails, previous versions of Outlook would first use IE’s rendering engine to view it, then would switch over to the compose engine, Word.

While wrangling this is a no-brainer for Web designers and developers accustomed to working with a variety of tools, typical users were finding enough inconsistencies between what they were creating and what they were receiving that it became apparent the rendering and editing engines should be the same. This makes sense from a programmatic as well as use standpoint in the long term as well.

So, the IE engine was removed and the updated Word engine is now serving both needs within Outlook 2007. Of course, some stuff is breaking. Fortunately, there’s some documentation to help designers and developers know just what is and isn’t supported in Outlook 2007, at least theoretically. No, this isn’t fun news, as it means we’ll be learning what’s problematic as we go, and at worst disrupting our own user/customer relationships.

So when we’re done kicking and screaming over Yet Another Interoperability Muckup that we will have to account for, let us try to dry our tears, put on bandaids where necessary, give magic kisses and plan how we’re going to fix this.

I’m currently gathering and doing some tests to compare what the documentation says and the rendering of Office 2007 actually does. It’ll become a bit clearer where the holes are after we begin to put the software through its paces.

Please comment as to your experiences and include any links to problem cases. I promise to make sure the top priorities and concerns get in front of the right eyes. Microsoft was very clear in letting me know that if we want a feature and need it and get an organized list to them, those issues will be addressed and prioritized as the new engine develops in response to developer needs, too.

See the following sources for more details on which HMTL and CSS standards are and aren’t supported:

Enter your woes and wishes in the comment field below.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 00:25 | Comments (479)

Sunday 7 January 2007

Beyond the Screen

I’ve always thought that one day I’d walk away from technology and never look back. What would I do instead? Maybe become a massage therapist or a cult leader of some sort (that’s a joke, I think ;-)).

So for my many readers who work in tech, what will you do when/if you ever leave technology? What’s beyond the screen for you?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 17:29 | Comments (104)

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