Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Microsoft, Canvas, and the WHATWG

Category: Canvas, Conferences, IE, Microsoft

Microsoft made some interesting statements at their Microsoft Technical Summit event (MTS07) this week. Pete LePage, a Product Manager on the IE team, gathered a small swath of the academic, business, and open-source community constituents in a room, chatted about the future of IE, and asked for feedback. Some interested bits:

  • It turns out Microsoft actually made the right call on WHATWG and <canvas>. Over the past few years, many of us have been asking Chris Wilson and others on the IE team to implement some of the WHATWG stuff like canvas, SVG support, and so forth. Chris in particular would always answer that they were uncomfortable with the IP issues surrounding the WHATWG, such as the patent policy. I had assumed that was simply a way to avoid the issue, but surprise surprise, with Apple asserting a patent on canvas, they come out looking pretty smart on this topic — and it paints a sad picture of the state of the industry. I have no idea about the encumbrance status of any of the other outputs of WHATWG, including the upcoming off-line stuff.
  • The IE team is right now in the process of locking down features for IE.next, so if you have feedback, get it to them now. They read Ajaxian and will read comments on this story in particular if you’d like to suggest something. You can email them directly to start a dialog, if you’d like. (Pete dot LePage at Microsoft is one channel). I asked for much improved dev tools, so that we can for example get some detailed introspection on memory management behavior inside IE.
  • Michael Koziarski, a Rails committer, asked for detailed technical specs on the behavior of IE. Pete said that if there are any aspects of the behavior of IE that we want documented, email him, and he’ll make sure we get the docs we need.

See other places on the blogosphere for detailed coverage of the conversation with Mike.

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 7:00 am
65 Comments

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4 rating from 35 votes

65 Comments »

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1) I agree a full scale debugger would be nice, but at least provide correct line numbers/files and something more useful than “object error”

2) CSS2 compliance (including fixes to all of the old bugs that were supposedly fixed with 7…. peek-a-boo bug… still there). CSS3 things such as rounded corners would be great.

3) DOM2 compliance. Standard event model.

4) Treat html (or at least xhtml docs) as XML. Xpath on (X)HTML, ability to paste nodes across XML/XHTML, Xpath 2.0.

5) Table Layout properties

6) Native opacity instead of through filters. Any filter/Active-X/IE only that has a W3C standard that is the same thing should be ported to the standards.

7) Fix the bugs with DOM manipulation (such as pasting nodes) that cause the JS engine to follow an exponential processing time instead of a linear one (e.g. pasting 1000 table rows).

8) Native SVG/VML support. Canvas if you want, but I understand the IP concerns. Things that are open standards for years should be supported.

9) Ability to extend Element and other DOM objects.

10) Fix caching. IE6 required a minimum of 1mb cache and even with all things set to flush it, still requires holding shift for every refresh to be certain. IE7 has a minimum of 8mb cache (WHY?) and the same old issues.

To be honest, IE is the main factor that is holding back the internet these days. Lack of things like SVG/VML/decent Xpath and XSLT support/poor DOM support etc while still maintaining a dominant market share means that IE is by far the lowest common denominator. Due to poor support for most anything that would truly unleash the power and potential that everyone sees coming in the internet, IE is basically an anvil in the deep end.

Comment by Bart — April 2, 2007

A few other things.

1) Support for user defined events (“onFoo”)
2) Support for DOMContentLoaded event (if you refuse to play nice with the rest of the world, at least come up with something equivalent). This is extremely important. As web pages rely more and more on JS and pull content that is aggregated from many sources, the body.onload is going to become more and more useless.

Comment by Bart — April 2, 2007

Ok, I cannot exactly say what the ‘bug’ is (is it even a bug?) so I will describe it. I have an element that I want to scroll if and when the content is too wide. But then I get two scrollbars, because the horizontal one (should be the only one) triggers the vertical one. I think it has to do with how/where IE places the bars (inside or outside, I can’t put my finger on it). I know that Firefox and Opera behave the way I expect.

Sorry if it’s confusing, but I hope you will try it out and consider re-evaluating the placement of scrollbars.

Comment by Mike — April 2, 2007

a firebug equivalent plugin to VS would be good, for debugging and other developer centric problems.

Comment by Ritesh — April 16, 2007

Has anyone had a problem between VWD Express and IE? I cannot get my graphics to show when view in browser. I have put them on a image button, in an image box and used them as background and IE will not show them. Help!

Comment by sandra — May 9, 2007

I applaud the team for embracing tabs and getting us closer to being able to write CSS and scripts without IE specific hacks, but the new interface of IE 7 was a bad idea. Why would you have the toolbar in a different place than any other Windows application?

Also, every IE debugger I’ve used (and I believe I’ve used them all) tends to crash — and bring IE down with it — under certain circumstances. Usually this happens when you execute the line of code that had the null pointer, or whatever was causing the problem in the first place. I’ve done the IE team the favor of using the automated bug reporter thingy every time it happens, so wherever those messages go, they might be worth looking into.

Feel free to follow up here, or send email to me via my blog or the address in the post!

Comment by newkon — June 27, 2007

For me, there is just one thing! It’s all about speed! A browser is expected to do more and more in an attempt to bring fat client features to the browser. Java Syript hast to be fast

Comment by Matthias — July 4, 2007

a firebug equivalent plugin to VS would be good, for debugging and other developer centric problems.
I think so…

Comment by Kredi — September 18, 2007

Kindly improve error reporting in JavaScript. Currently Firefox does a much better job of this. In IE, it is extremely hard to figure out what went wrong.

Comment by bedava ödev idnir — September 19, 2007

realy very nice article, this informations are great, thanks, very thanks

Comment by dobreprogramy — October 5, 2007

Microsoft needs more work done on improving the next IE compatibility. Get molly to do the job, i think she is the best candidate.

Comment by Meteko — October 21, 2007

Provide more support for CSS and SVG. Implement Dom2 event.

Comment by bahamut — October 25, 2007

thanks good post.

Comment by klip izle — November 11, 2007

SVG all the way! We need interoperability, and Mozilla, Safari Leopard and Opera all support SVG…

Comment by übersetzungen dortmund — November 22, 2007

never throught about that before, great post!

Comment by dll — March 27, 2008

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