MICROSOFT SAYS it will continue to prioritize security and ease of use in the forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) browser and will seek to improve Web development in accordance with current standards. Microsoft plans to release IE 8 by late 2008, according to Chris Wilson, IE platform architect. “It’s clear we have a lot to do with the Web-developer platform,” he says. Specifically, Microsoft will make efforts to better comply with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.1 specifications.
The company also wants to make its browser object model more interoperable, making it “easier to work with other browsers and allow[ing] more-flexible programming patterns,” according to Wilson. “There’s work in the standardization bodies to do local storage and get better security models,” Wilson says, adding that Microsoft is working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on standardizing HTML 5 and XHTML versions 1 and 1.1. Adherence to standards is increasingly important to Web-site developers.
Because previous versions of Internet Explorer strayed from standards, viewing certain sites in new versions of Internet Explorer, such as IE 7, can result in page errors, he says. “Web-development compatibility is really crucial for building applications and…for us to deploy browsers, [but] it has to be an evolutionary step,” he says, noting that half a billion people use some version of Internet Explorer. “If we say, ‘Here is your new browser—it’s standards-compatible,’ we actually disrupt the existing ecosystem, and it doesn’t actually make it better for anyone.”