Mozilla to IE: You will be standards compliant whether you like it or not!

I literally laughed out loud when I read this article:

Most browser implementors are quick to adopt emerging Internet technologies, but Microsoft can’t or won’t make Internet Explorer a modern web browser. Despite some positive steps in the right direction, Internet Explorer still lacks many important features. Its mediocrity has arguably hampered the evolution of the web and forced many site designers to depend on suboptimal proprietary solutions.

IE’s shortcomings won’t hold back the Internet for much longer, however, because Mozilla plans to drag IE into the next generation of open web technologies without Microsoft’s help. One of the first steps towards achieving this goal is a new experimental plugin that adapts Mozilla’s implementation of the HTML5 Canvas element so that it can be used in Internet Explorer.

That’s certainly one way to bring standards to IE, but it’s not perfect by a long stretch as Microsoft seems determined to make it as hard as possible:

Vukićević is confident that a lot of the holes can be filled without substantial effort, but his primary concern is with the challenges posed by deployment. The plugin is designed to snap into IE as a binary rendering behavior, but the browser’s defensive security mechanisms insist on prompting the user before every time it is used. This detracts from the seamlessness of the plugin and makes it difficult to use for conventional web applications.

“Currently, the experience is pretty crappy: you have to click through an infobar to allow installation of this component, then you have to click ‘Yes’ to say that you really want to run the native content, and then you have to click ‘Yes’ again to allow the component to interact with content on the page,” he wrote in a blog entry. “In theory, with the right signatures, the right security class implementations, some eye of newt, and a pinch of garlic, it’s possible to get things down to a one-time install which would make the component available everywhere.”

Let’s hope the Mozilla folks are composed of some skilled witches then. Having a few plugins to help make IE standards compliant would be a welcome development for anyone who codes in HTML.

5 thoughts on “Mozilla to IE: You will be standards compliant whether you like it or not!

  1. I don’t really see the point of this.

    Only developers and designers care about standards and unless people stop adding IE workarounds and simply provide a standards-compliant site with a Firefox or Opera download link tacked on, this plugin won’t amount to squat.

  2. I read someplace that Google and some others are making the same functionality available through a JavaScript module. I think that this is a preferable option, because it doesn’t require the user to install anything and it guarantees that websites will be much slower on IE until Microsoft bothers to implement the Canvas tag.

    An entirely different question is, is the Canvas tag really necessary or appropriate? What about SVG?

  3. I mostly use my Mac for web browsing and after starting out with Firefox, I’ve switched over to Safari.  Firefox is nice, but Safari is faster in loading pages and is better integrated into the Mac environment.  When I use Windows I use Firefox because it is faster than IE and has better surfing features with the extensions I use.  I have IE 8 installed on XP and it is incredibly slow to load pages in either regular mode or IE 7 emulation mode.  The interface is also terrible since it takes up more of the screen than Firefox and I cannot move the buttons to where I want them.

    My web stats show that about 50% of my blog readers use Firefox and about 35% use IE.  This seems to be a higher ratio of Firefox usage than is the national average, but I have some geeky friends and geeky type articles that might be attracting an audience that is more inclined to use an alternative browser.

    As far as forcing IE to be standards compliant with a plugin, it’s a nice idea, but unless everyone installs it, it won’t work.  The hard part is getting that large chunk of people who think IE is “The Internet” to install the plugin or other alternative.  In other words, some people are just so ignorant, they don’t even know they are ignorant.

    Wow, that was long and rambling.

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