Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Yes, We Have the Power

By Molly E. Holzschlag | May 11th, 2006 | Filed in Action, General, Microsoft TF

Chris Wilson of Microsoft swears to live by the standards sword – or end his relationship if Microsoft doesn’t stay true to the standards course.

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Yes, I have the power to enact change. Yes, I will continue to improve standards support and compliance in IE, and make the web better. That’s my job, my charter, my vision, and my passion. The day it isn’t, I’ll quit. The day the development of the standards-based platform in IE goes on a back burner again, I’ll quit. My management up to and including Bill Gates has said we are back in the saddle with IE, so I have a job to get back to.

– Chris Wilson, Group Program Manager of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft “Microsoft, IE and the Web Standards Project

Your Replies

#1 On May 12th, 2006 4:06 am u1amo01 » Blog Archive » Recommended Reading replied:

[...] PS: interessante Aussage, die der Group Program Manager of the Internet Explorer Platform team (toller Titel) gemacht hat. [...]

#2 On May 12th, 2006 4:40 am Steve Tucker replied:

All the power to you Chris. It is very reassuring to know that there are people fighting so passionately for standards within Microsoft. I feel it is often all too easy to pigeonhole the Internet Explorer development team as a whole for their errors of judgement in the past – something I am guilty of myself. Posts like this are hugely enlightening.

#3 On May 12th, 2006 10:17 am Brady J. Frey replied:

We’ll hold you to that Chris, be wary of that statement. Microsoft has a long track record of talking more than doing.

Regardless, that’s a very Bushesque statement — and we don’t see anyone fired for Valerie Plume:)

#4 On May 12th, 2006 3:13 pm Gérard Talbot replied:

I still don’t trust Microsoft. So, I expect (and even predict) Chris Wilson to quit one day.


#5 On May 12th, 2006 4:02 pm Jordan Clark replied:

It’s great to here that someone at Microsoft is trying to make a difference – I can’t wait to see the day when CSS actually just works (the way it should be) instead of the endurance test it has become today.
Maybe if browsers acted more predictably, this would persuade more people to switch to the standards-based design rather than being frustrated into resorting to “old skool” methods.

#6 On May 12th, 2006 4:32 pm Keri Henare replied:


#7 On May 12th, 2006 9:31 pm Brady J. Frey replied:

I haven’t had a reason to run on old school methods in the last 3 years, and I find it extremely easy to build with CSS every site we do. So what am I doing different than you are, Jordan? Sure I have a few IE issues here and there as usual, but that’s quick most of the time now — I find it an endurance test to go back to a font/spacer gif structured table based concoction.

#8 On May 13th, 2006 1:12 pm Event Horizon replied:

OMG. Chris is quitting.

#9 On May 13th, 2006 4:00 pm Chris Wilson replied:

Not yet, I’m not.

Gérard, of course I’m going to quit one day. I don’t think that day will be really soon, though.

-Chris Wilson

#10 On May 14th, 2006 2:36 pm Jordan Clark replied:

@Brady J. Frey:
Just to clarify: by calling CSS layout an “endurance test”, I was mainly referring to people who have learnt web design using table-based layout techniques. I totally agree with your point about not resorting to the font/spacer-GIF tactics (and I certainly don’t!). I just think that the various rendering inconsistencies among browsers certainly put off those accustomed to using tables as a layout mechanism.
PS: Really like your dotfive website, perhaps you could show me what you do differently from me – I am always open to good advice! :)

#11 On May 22nd, 2006 11:32 pm Brady J. Frey replied:

I can see that — though I think inconsistencies will be something we’ll be tolerating for the duration of our careers, atleast to some small extent.

Thanks for the compliments:) hopefull we’ll get that old rickety site down here in a few weeks!

#12 On May 23rd, 2006 8:03 pm James Moore replied:

I hope that XHTML rendering as ‘application/xhtml+xml’ (the way to
actually get it rendered as XHTML, as opposed to tag soup) is high on
the list. Currently, it doesn’t even try.

#13 On June 2nd, 2006 8:28 am Almond DeMarkrie replied:

James, enough of the trendy-terminology already. Remove “tag soup” from your vocabulay this instant.

#14 On June 28th, 2006 4:58 pm emphatic replied:

In the meantime what’s a active designer to do. Which platform should we target? Would it be best to target the ‘Acid2′ spec? I currently spend too much extra time coding for ie6, ie7, and ff. What’s really frustrating is that often I can get ie6 and ff to achieve synchronicity much more easily than I can get ie6 and ie7 to render the same page in the same way. While, I’m certain some of the problem is my own poor coding practices, it certainly would be much easier to improve if there were one goal to shoot for.

#15 On June 29th, 2006 1:51 am Norm replied:

Well, all I can say is I hope Mr.Wilson and Microsoft are serious about finally getting on the ‘compliance’ bandwagon. I have to admit that I am skeptical however. Only time will tell if this is going to be the case or not.

I am currently in the midst of building my own site, and with all the web development books that I have, I have to say that I find it disturbing to see all these ‘I.E Hacks’ presented in these materials. Surely enough, those hacks were indeed needed to get I.E to behave like the others.

Personally, my take on this whole ‘I.E non-compliance’ scenario is that it seems like Microsoft figured that since they were the number one browser out there, they thought they could bully the W3C and the web compliance standards around. Im very happy that the web community at large didn’t just ‘roll over and take it’.. Perhaps this will show Microsoft that as big as it is, it cannot simply toss its weight around as it pleases (let alone being obligated to fullfill the need of its shareholders). There are alot of competitors out there. All I can say is thank god for FireFox (amoung others).. Otherwise, we just might have had to roll over and take it.

I think it is suffice to say that Microsoft has had more than a mouth full about its non-compliance to web standards. Hopefully, with I.E 7, things will start to finally change. As for me, I don’t need I.E at all.. (I only use FireFox). The only current saving grace for I.E is that Microsoft’s OS powers most business computers out there. Thus, the tie-in with OS functionality makes is great for companys to control how their employees use I.E. If it wasn’t for that, I have a feeling I.E would have completely tanked a long time ago.

We are going to hold you to your word, Chris. One of three outcomes is inevitable. 1) I.E truthfully becomes more web compliant (in which case, fantastic.. its about time!) , 2) you quite your job because it isn’t going to ever be web compliant (I don’t see you quititing over something Microsoft sees as petty as that) or 3) You stay because you probably get paid well to continue working on a browser that is never going to be web compliant (most likely case IMHO).

But I’d love to see I.E turn around and prove me wrong, Chris.
Prove me wrong. Prove us all wrong.

#16 On July 6th, 2006 8:17 am E. H. aka ZeHoS replied:

Have you seen what the image looks like in IE7 beta3 when you run the Acid2 test? it is awful! I actually comfort myself by realizing FireFox doesn’t display it properly either. (although much better)
IE7 seems to support PNG transparency -I’m currently redesigning my site that makes use of it- but in the Acid2 test? no dice. :(

Anyway, I’m backing everyone up (the more the better) in what they’ve said here. Having to worry about compatibility between multiple browsers is seriously starting to be a joke. It really is cases like these where you want to ask, “So… why exactly did we even bother with standards in the first place!?”
We’re in 2006. (halfway past it, to be precise) We’ve made are mistakes. They happen, I agree. Hurry up and fix them, now. They’ve lasted too long.
Otherwise, I might as well just start new standards myseld. Anyone for CSS4 and XHTML3? >:P
I don’t like putting pressure on people, but this is really depressing. Have you seen the endless websites about how to deal with IE bugs/hacks and all that? You mean I can’t just code a site properly following standards and expect it to be properly displayed regardless of what user agent one uses?

As for table layouts… heh, yes I use them right now in my current site, but that’ll change.

All in all:
good luck to you Chris, I sure hope you can have a lot of influence on MS.
Despite being MCSA/MCSE/MCDBA certified, it still pains me to see their lack of compliance.


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