An old post at Slashdot resurfaced, for whatever reason, and caused quite a stir about how non-compliant (with CSS standards) Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 browser will be. People can split hairs about this or that relating to IE7’s standards compliance but when it comes down to it, it either will be or won’t be.
In a good conversation with Chris Wilson, Group Program Manager of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft, Richard MacManus at ZDNet asks some pointed questions about IE7’s plans for CSS compliance and gets some honest answers.
The bits about standards compliance versus backward compatibility were interested, and there are suggestions that the IE7 team is prioritizing standards compliance ahead of backwards compatibility. I also thought Wilson’s characterization of many (most) of IE’s user base as ‘non-enthusiast users’ was dead on (and funny).
I think backwards compatibility has always been a big challenge for us and certainly today it’s a huge challenge. Particularly for IE, as we have a lot of what I’d term ‘non-enthusiast users’ – my mother is always my canonical example here. And for my mother, if I automatically upgrade her machine [its IE browser] and suddenly one of her sites breaks or looks a little funny, she’s going to be upset about that. On the other hand if she were to install an alternative browser, and it looks different in that browser – she could probably understand why that would happen, because it’s a completely different product.