Arman's stuff
Bashing Internet Explorer

(Thu Jul 29 17:22:36 2010)

From its inception, IE has been slow, ugly, and as standards compliant as a government slush fund.

However, because it is bundled with the most popular operating system in the world (Microsoft Windows, whichever version you prefer), it is used by a (quickly dwindling) majority. In fact, IE has a "quirks mode" built into their browser that renders old, badly-written pages "correctly." Which means, in essence, that it makes browsers that follow the rules look like the bad guys, because they don't render bad pages, and at the same time makes IE a huge, ugly, clunky browser that's really more like half-a-dozen browsers all wrapped into one. Ugh.

From Wikipedia:
Internet Explorer, using the Trident layout engine:

  • supports HTML 4.01, CSS Level 1, XML 1.0 and DOM Level 1, with minor implementation gaps.
  • fully supports XSLT 1.0 as well as an obsolete Microsoft dialect of XSLT often referred to as WD-xsl, which was loosely based on the December 1998 W3C Working Draft of XSL. Support for XSLT 2.0 lies in the future: semi-official Microsoft bloggers have indicated that development is underway, but no dates have been announced.
  • partially supports CSS Level 2 and DOM Level 2, with major implementation gaps and conformance issues. Almost full conformance to CSS 2.1 has been added in the Internet Explorer 8 release.
  • does not support XHTML, though it can render XHTML documents authored with HTML compatibility principles and served with a text/html MIME-type.
  • does not support SVG in any version.

Recently, I was coding some pretty CSS3 rounded corners into my website (supported by the most recent versions of Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.), and thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice if Internet Explorer could use these?"
Then I stopped and chided myself, "Whoa, now. Hold on. How about we wait until IE can do CSS 2 first, eh?"

Yes, I know that IE needs to keep its old user base. There are a lot of companies that refuse to use any browser but IE 6, because all their proprietary, internal sites are built specifically for that browser. I get that. On the other hand, it's not Microsoft's fault that people wrote bad code, so why do they think they need ot help maintain it? And, even less understandable to me, why focus on not breaking things to the point of stopping almost all forward momentum? Right now, SVG, PNG, XHTML, CSS 2 and 3, HTML 5, and a host of other technologies are seriously making a splash. The things you can do with just a simple browser is downright mind blowing... just not in IE. If I wrote an XHTML web page with embedded SVG, I would have to add svgweb to let IE process the SVG stuff (and adding a lot of flash and javascript in the meanwhile), and have to add special code to detect the browser and send different headers, too. It's painful. And even with all that, IE still doesn't get things that other browsers do - if you visit my home website or my work website, you'll get rounded corners and varying opacity on various windows, unless you use IE, in which case you get square and opaque.

There are other things, too; if an XSL processor sees a div tag like this: <div></div> (an empty tag)
It processes it into this: <div /> (a self-closing tag)
Now, this is bad; it's not real HTML, and the right thing to do is to ignore it. Of course, if it's supposed to be XHTML, then it's actually just fine. Every browser BUT Internet Explorer will happily parse it correctly as XHTML; since IE doesn't do XHTML, it parses it as HTML, and fails. Which means more work for me. And again, if a browser sees "&lt;" then it says, ah, this is the "<" symbol, I'll just process it like that (in the case of javascript, especially). IE? No such luck. &lt; is &lt;, so &lt;br /&gt; is &lt;br /&gt;, not <br />.

Sometimes it's the little things. Sometimes it's the big things. Usually, it's a mixture of both. And it makes me really, really, really dislike IE. So, yeah - everyone bashing IE? Count me in. This browser doesn't need fixed, it needs burned. Start from scratch, it's the only way.

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This blag is tagged: Browser, Ie, Programming, Wobsite, All