• 200801 Apr

    The Internet Explorer team announced on their blog today that they are unhappy with the slow progress and differing implementations of the various CSS3 modules, and will not be including any CSS3 functionality in IE8; instead they will be producing their own, alternative standard, which they are codenaming CSS.2012 (after the planned year of launch of the subsequent browser).

    Few details have yet been released as to what the new standard will contain, although one new feature which was hinted at was the :silverlight selector, which will be used to replace text in selected elements with high-definition streaming video.

    It is unlikely that CSS.2012 will be compatible with existing CSS standards, and MS intend to use their dominant market share to automatically push the new version onto desktops; with training being provided only by Microsoft-certificated teachers, this could end up being very expensive for web developers forced to re-train.

    IE Platform Architect, Chris Wilson, said:

    Other browsers and standards break the web, so CSS.2012 is our best effort at fixing it. It will be tightly integrated into .NET and Silverlight, and initially will only work in IE9. Other browsers will be able to license the technology after a few years, when we judge it is stable. Then they can’t break the web.

    More information on the announcement here.

    Update: It’s just after noon here in the UK, so time for me to confess: yes, this is an April Fool’s Day hoax; of course, Microsoft would never pull a stunt like this. Hope you all enjoyed the prank, and I’m happy I caught a few of you out!

  • 200806 Mar

    I’m I began writing this post in IE8*, something I didn’t think I’d be doing just a short while ago; the IE team have certainly been busy in the last 18 months! As it’s beta software there are obviously quite a few rough edges and we can’t consider it feature complete, but I thought I’d take a look at what features of CSS 3 have made it in already.

    The short answer: not many! In fact, the only ones I can find are the substring matching attribute selectors:


    These allow you to choose elements based on substrings of their attributes; that begin with, end with, or contain (respectively) the provided value. Update: As has been pointed out in the comments, these were already available in IE7; I should have known that, as I wrote the (now outdtated) compatibility table! In my defence, it was very late when I wrote this post…

    Other than that, nothing I can see. Although it’s not new to CSS3, generated content is supported, which is good news. Using the :before and :after pseudo-elements, you can add text content (and images according to the spec, although they don’t seem to work in IE8);

    E:before { content: 'foo'; }
    E:after { content: 'foo'; }

    No opacity or RGBA yet, which is a shame as they’re supported in almost all of the other browsers. Still, it must be remembered that there’s still time for new features to be added before release.

    * I had to switch to Firefox; IE8 is not ready just yet!

  • 200830 Jan

    Ian Hickson, the Google employee tasked with creating the next generation of acid test, has completed his work, which is now available for public consumption at its new home, acidtests.org. Unlike the first acid test, which focused on the box model, and the second acid test, which covered a broad variety of basic HTML and CSS features, Acid3 covers 100 of the nooks and crannies of HTTP, HTML, CSS, ECMAScript, SVG and XML, all through the medium of DOM scripting, a critical requirement for any modern web application. Ian Hickson is also the primary author of the HTML5 specification, which started life as a spec. called ‘Web Apps 1.0’, and as such has lots of application‐related features such as client‐side storage and enhanced forms. Ian wrote 64 of the tests, with the remaining 36 being submitted by both browser vendors and interested web developers.

    Work started on the new acid test almost as soon as the IE developer team posted notification that IE8 passes Acid2. As was widely criticised around the ’net recently, it was revealed Internet Explorer 8 would now only pass the test if the server was modified to output a special HTTP header. It is not known to css3.info at this time whether the header would be required for IE8 to achieve compliance in the new test.

  • 200825 Jan

    You can’t have failed to have noticed the announcement by Microsoft’s IE team this week, that the next version of the browser will require an ‘opt-in’ switch to display documents with older DOCTYPEs in full standards mode. That’s been debated at length elsewhere, but I thought it would be useful to do a quick, non-scientific poll of current browser share to get an idea of how long it might be before this becomes a pressing issue for us.

    Note: The following results are taken from the last month’s statistics from 12 sites I manage, from personal blogs to international companies, with monthly visits from 300 to 320,000. The error of margin can not be calculated, so these figures should be taken as a guideline only. That said…

    The last time I conducted a poll like this, back in May 2007, the total market share of all versions of IE stood at approximately 68%. According to my new figures, the share is approximately… 68%. Oh.

    What has changed, however, is the share of different versions of IE; in May 2007 IE6 had 46.5% of the total, and IE7 had 21.1%; in my new figures, IE6 has 33.5%, while IE7 narrowly beats it with 34.3%.

    While perhaps not as big a difference as we might have expected in eight months, at least we can see a noticeable decline in IE6 usage. Microsoft are currently including IE7 in their latest round of security updates, so with luck we’ll see another big shift in the months to come.

    I’m not sure how aggressively we’ll see IE8 pushed when it is finally released, but on current form it looks like we may have to wait another couple of years before it gains decent market share and we can really take advantage of its advanced (fingers crossed!) features.

  • 200802 Jan

    I believe that 2008 will be notable for the second salvo in the browser wars, and although previous combatant Netscape is out of action, we now have a four-way battle on our hands. In fact, ‘browser wars’ may not be the best description any longer; perhaps ‘layout engine wars’ is a more accurate description. With all four major engines releasing new versions, it’s going to be exciting to watch.

    The four contenders are:

    IE8 New Engine: Will it be a successor to Trident or a brand new engine? Microsoft are playing their cards close to their chests on this one. It will be much more standards-compliant, but details of potential CSS 3 support are non-existent. Also, with IE7 still struggling to overtake IE6 in terms of popularity, will it make much of an impression this year?

    Gecko/Firefox: Firefox 3 will probably be the first browser on the market to use Mozilla’s latest engine revision (1.9). It’s much faster than it’s predecessor and more standards-compliant, but doesn’t introduce many new CSS features; alpha channel for colours is the only notable new addition.

    WebKit/Safari: Safari 3 is out for OS X and in beta on Windows, and leading Linux browser Konqueror will switch to Webkit for their next release. It’s very fast, and has lots of shiny new CSS 3 features (shadows, mutiple backgrounds, etc). Default (and only possible?) browser on the iPhone, but they won’t gain much headway on Windows machines unless they think about a redesign.

    Presto/Opera: Still the minority desktop browser, Opera is huge on mobile and on the Wii. Their ‘Kestrel’ browser (version 9.5) has lots of new CSS 3 features and they’ve been working closely with major web app providers to make sure that the browser is compatible. Their suit against Microsoft could be a turning point for the company, but a decision may not be forthcoming in the near future.

    It’s pretty exciting to have so much choice, and even more exciting to have them all be standards-compliant; this will allow web developers to concentrate more on user experience and less on cross-browser compatibility, while the browser makers can get on with providing new features for their users.

    The dark horse in this race – and it seems strange to say this, as they are the market leaders – is Microsoft. We know almost nothing about IE8 yet, but if they come out with a genuinely radical product we could well see them take market share back from their competitors.

    During the last browser war it was the developers and users who lost out, as websites were built to favour one browser over another or involved double the work to be compatible with both. This time, however, standards are a well-developed core around which the battle rotates; so whoever loses, we all win.

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