Another attempt for Microsoft to further break the web sites around the world.
Before you start to call me an Apple bigot and start to bombard my Inbox with hate mail, please take the time and read my full article before posting any comments. That's because as always I totally welcome comments from all my readers.
With the pending release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), Microsoft has published a "warning" on the Microsoft Developer's Network to web site developers.
Prior to deployment of IE 7, we strongly recommend that you test your Web sites, extensions, and applications to make sure they are ready. Microsoft recommends that Web sites and applications are ready for the release of Internet Explorer 7 this month.
Michael Calore of WIRED has a good article that points out how ridiculous Microsoft's request is. In the same article there are also a few comments from WIRED readers that I too agree with. I will add my two cents worth here.
Being the largest software manufacture in the world, for many years Microsoft has enjoyed the benefits of the layman computer users' ignorances of alternatives solutions. This fact of general acceptance through ignorance does not equate to an official Standards.
Instead, Microsoft should use this dominance to come right out and inform the layman end-users that past versions of IE have been flawed and non-compliant to the W3C Standards. With the release of IE7, Microsoft is starting to be W3C complaint and has yet to complete this transition.
Standards are set and outlined by Standards bodies. In the case of the web, W3C is the official accepted body, which Microsoft is part of, that outlines the behaviours of browsers for every element of a web page and beyond.
As Calore and others have said, IE7 is moving towards compliance to the W3C Standards, but this forthcoming release is well behind those of its competitors (Firefox, Safari, Mozilla and Opera) who had Standards compliant browsers for many years.
Microsoft's insistence of web site developers add conditional codes to their respective sites to accommodate IE7 is absolutely unacceptable, especially for web sites developers who are already W3C Standards compliant. If IE7 complies to W3C Standards then these web sites will just work. The fact that these sites do not behave as expected in IE7 is 100% the fault of Microsoft.
I strongly believe that web site developers around the world should stick to the W3C Standards and use the W3C validators to ensure compliance. Especially for the larger and more popular sites: Digg.com, Del.icio.us, Flickr.com, YouTube.com, etc.
The web site developers who need to change their codes are the ones who are not yet W3C compliant. These developers had blindly follow the behaviours and interpretations of Internet Explorer (IE) and coded their sites to work with specific versions of IE for years. This sort of expectations and demand of the end-user is only acceptable in a controlled environment, as in within a corporate computer installation. Even in the latter case, web site developers should work towards the W3C compliance, since today's leader can well come tomorrow's loser.
So I hope that the introduction of IE7 will encourage more web site developers to be W3C compliant. Resulting in web sites and web applications that are truly platform, operating system (OS) and browser brands agnostic, which is my definition of what a true web enabled service should be.