It has long been my complaint (along with most other website developers out there) that Internet Explorer (IE), which is the #1 most popular browser in use on the internet, takes many liberties when it comes to rendering HTML, DHTML and CSS. What does this mean? This means that when youâ€™re designing a website that not only do you have to design it to be standards compliance so it works with all of the browsers that render things correctly, but you also you also have to build a website that has all necessary â€œhacksâ€? worked into it so it will also work with IE.
This is a problem for several reasons, not the least of which is the time involved to make sure that a website is compliant with all browsers that it could possibly be viewed on. Sure, many people ignore the fact that there are dozens of browsers out there and design primarily for IE, but when youâ€™re designing professional websites and want to adhere to a higher level of quality thereâ€™s really not alternative to a compliant website. So, when I heard about Microsoftâ€™s 7th release of itâ€™s highly popular browser I was excited to say the least.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 is going to be a big deal to me. Not only is the IE team addressing some serious rendering issues that have plagued the browser for the last 5+ years, theyâ€™re also getting into the core of the browser and trying to correct some of the other performance and functionality problems that have caused many to abandon the browser for safer and better (in my opinion) alternatives such as Mozilla Firefox and Appleâ€™s Safari.
On the IEBlog, a weblog that is maintained by the IE team, theyâ€™ve laid claim to many wonderful improvements to IE some of them include:
- Improved rendering of CSS 2.1 fixed objects
- Alpha channel in PNG images
- Improved DHTML rendering
If you donâ€™t know what the above issues involve, you probably wouldnâ€™t care.
To quote the blog directly "I think we will make a lot of progress against that in IE7 through our goal of removing the worst painful bugs that make our platform difficult to use for web developers." And "I do want to be clear that I believe the Web Standards Project and my team has a common goal of making the lives of web developers better by improving standards support, and Iâ€™m excited that weâ€™re working together to that end." This is great stuff, and the comments from readers at the bottom of the blog should give you an idea of how big of a breakthrough this is.
Will IE7 make all of the browser checking tools useless? No, there are still many issues that will remain across the various browsers. But Iâ€™ll tell you this, I wonâ€™t have to worry as much about my designs looking great in Firefox but terrible in IE.