Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Alex Russell isn’t known for holding back his opinions. He continues his tradition of calling issues to our attention in his piece on Where are we now?.
This article takes a look back to his posting, 1.5 years ago, on the state of things at that point…. and what he would like to see. He isn’t happy with the progress made in the year and a half since.
He hits out at Microsoft’s secretive behaviour:
The â€œworst case scenarioâ€ that Iâ€™ve described to folks in private for a long time is that IE 7 is the end of the line. The last hurrah. The final gasp of life in Tridentâ€™s creaking limbs. IE 7 could either signal the beginning of a renewed commitment to the web by Microsoft, or it could be the minimum MSFT can get away with to prevent customer mutiny. To assuage the latter scenario, Iâ€™ve directly and firmly asked every member of the IE team Iâ€™ve talked to since then to outline in public Microsoftâ€™s commitment to new versions of IE. We need to see timelines, feature targets, and distribution plans for those releases as well. This might seem like putting the cart before the horse but I think itâ€™s not too much to ask. In fact, it might even be the minimum the web development community should expect.
and he compares it to the other browser vendors:
Brendan Eich has an entire blog dedicated to communicating outward about the features that we can expect from the web as delivered by Firefox (and the platform behind it). The IE Teamâ€™s blog is eerily silent on the future of what is still the most important browser on the internet. Weâ€™re reduced to getting information from third parties and conference talks. The features planned for Firefox 3 are impressive and the work is being done in the open, meaning itâ€™s easy to have confidence that not only will Mozilla ship what they say they will, itâ€™ll be here when they say it will. Same goes for the excellent work the Safari team has been doing. Even Opera keeps its community on fire by shipping regular updates, showing tech previews at conferences, and blogging about the progress being made on many fronts. If the IE team is holed up working on something stonkingly good, they certainly arenâ€™t doing themselves any favors by not telling us about it. The result of their radio silence isnâ€™t mystery, itâ€™s distrust. Deep, divisive, troubling distrust of the kind you can only get when folks who break up stop talking altogether.
Then, the future:
Iâ€™m pretty sure the IE team isnâ€™t sitting still. Chris Wilson is heading up the HTML 5 working group and thereâ€™s reports of some real progress there. HTML 5 is the most important web spec under consideration anywhere so this is truly good news. But it hasnâ€™t yet been accompanied by the kinds of communication that allow us to trust MSFT as a custodian of the webâ€™s future.
Getting IE 7 and watching it ramp up among IEâ€™s installed base has been good, but itâ€™s only half the answer. The web needs to know, unequivocally, when we can expect more information about IE.Next, what OSes it will target, and what standards, improvements, and major fixes are on the roadmap even if they slip. Without that much honesty, this relationship probably wonâ€™t get off the ground again.
Are you as worried about the future as Alex?
Posted by Dion Almaer at 10:16 am