As everybody and his dog know by now, IE 7 Beta 1 has been released. Read Chris Wilson's entry over on the IE Blog for the details. Since I do not have a copy of it, I will not discuss it in detail. It is my strict policy to discuss only browser features and bugs I've actually seen for myself. Expect a full report as soon as I've got it installed on my computer, but not before.
The MSIE team seems to have used my site for bug testing, although almost all discussed bugs come from Position is Everything, and rightly so, since Big John and Holly Bergevin have far more interesting and detailed bug reports than my own CSS section.
Meanwhile this good news is being overshadowed by an apparently quite vicious campaign against Molly Holzschlag, who seems to have had the temerity to suggest that the IE 7 beta is actually good news for web developers and the standards movement in general, a message that encounters quite a bit of resistance among web standards fascists.
Fortunately I haven't read any of these negative messages, or I'd be tempted to kill the perpetrators by inventing a way of delivering vicious kicks and punches in some deadly Asiatic style over the Internet.
Molly, you're doing a fantastic job. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I'm occasionally in the same position, and I've learned to ignore these rants, difficult as that may be from time to time. One of the best things you can do is laugh at the trolls. This is hard to pull off at first, but it becomes easier with time.
Look at it this way. The people who attack you show they are locked in outdated thought patterns. By viewing Microsoft as The Great Enemy, they prove that they have a narrow-minded black and white vision and cannot be bothered by any grey in between. They see web development as a sort of fantasy story where pure Good opposes vile Evil, and guess who is the good guy? Apparently they need this simplistic world view to feel good about themselves.
If you can, laugh it off.
IE 7 is in beta. That means that not all bugs have been solved yet. People seem to have trouble seeing this, and expect a beta to be perfect. Let's therefore repeat a bit of ancient history.
All these cases clearly show that browser vendors occasionally release sub-optimal products, and follow them up later with far better releases. Then why are we so surprised when this happens again?
The real reason for the IE 7 beta is improving relations with web developers. The message is: "See, we're listening to you. We're working on standards compliance". The only correct answer is: "Great! Thanks!"
I had the good fortune of meeting Molly during the @media 2005 conference, and when we'd talked for about one minute we discovered that we had exactly the same feelings about the relation between Microsoft and the standards movement. Now that Microsoft is emerging from its corporate hardshell, it should be encouraged to come out into the light, to share its problems and hopes with the web development community. This has been Molly's approach from the start, and I, for one, fully support her.
I mean, who could have thought even one year ago that the program leader of MSIE would openly discuss the problems facing the new IE version? I didn't, that's for sure. Nobody else did, either.
Chris Wilson and his team are taking a for Microsoft unprecedented risk by discussing as yet unreleased software in a publicly accessible blog. Why do they do this? To improve their relationship with web developers! There is no other reason.
What is the result? Silly people (and there are a lot of them in web development land) troll Microsoft for not solving everything at once and bringing world peace in one sweeping move. Come on! Microsoft has taken a giant step.
Now it's our turn. We have to say Thank You. It's the polite thing to do when someone goes out of his way to accomodate you and your viewpoints.
Chris Wilson, thank you for taking these risks. Your message is appreciated, and it seems that even the comments on your most recent blog entry reflect this, something I hadn't expected. Remember that, although trolls sometimes form the majority of blog commenters, they do not form the majority of web developers. Most people actually like what you're doing.
So let's hear it for Molly Holzschlag and Chris Wilson.
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