There’s some browser news to discuss, and I thought I’d bundle it all in one entry. Maybe I’ll even do this more often; it seems a good feature for this blog. But I’m not promising anything!
This weekend I started testing some new browsers, and meanwhile I’ve updated the HTML and CSS tables. There were no surprises. I’m continuing with the Events tables, but they’re so large and sometimes so complicated that I’m not sure when I’ll finish.
In this installment we’ll take a look at IE8RC1 and some reactions to it, Safari 3.2, Chrome’s lack of a “Check for updates automatically” feature and Opera’s antitrust complaint.
In case you’ve been brain-dead for a while, IE8 Release Candidate 1 has been released. Plenty of bugs have been solved, but a few are left, and finding them is the reason this RC1 has been thrown into the wild.
Plenty of people are bug reporting, and that’s of course good. Unfortunately, there are some people who take certain bugs in IE8RC1 to mean that the browser shouldn’t be released at all (and they even get airtime on Ajaxian).
I couldn’t disagree more; in fact I feel this is the ancient “Microsoft is Evil” meme all over again, and I’m sick of it.
Is IE8 perfect. No, it isn’t. But neither is any other browser. Is IE8 better than IE7? You bet! To me, that’s enough reason to release it.
I don’t doubt that the bugs mentioned in the Ajaxian article exist, and that they’re extremely annoying when they hold up your project, but none of them strikes me as reason enough to defer IE8’s release. In fact, the
Element.prototype.cloneNode.call() bug strikes me as decidedly non-real-world. Sure, it should be solved, but it doesn’t have a very high priority.
Can’t we just forget about the holier-than-thou attitude? Please? It doesn’t solve anything. Besides, a similar case can be made against other browsers.
Recently, when working on my as-yet-unpublished political pages, I found a very annoying Firefox
float bug. An open/close link that’s floated inside a block in the main content suddenly reacts to the floated elements in the right bar, and as a result it can be miles away from the block it’s supposed to open and close.
Maybe I’ll delve deeper into this bug, maybe I’ll accept it and move on. What I will not do, however, is suggest that Firefox 3 “shouldn’t have been released” with this bug; that’s just plain nonsense.
All browsers have bugs. Report them, by all means. Insist on speedy solutions, if you like. But don’t write ideology-driven drivel like this. It doesn’t solve anything.
By the way, surprisingly often people ask me when IE8 final will be released. I must disappoint them: I don’t have the faintest idea. In fact I believe even the IE team itself doesn’t yet know.
The plan was to release IE8 when it’s ready, and how quickly it’s considered to be ready depends on the number of bugs found in RC1. The goal is full CSS 2.1 support, and once that goal is met we’ll see a final version. Not before.(And why do you ask me? I don’t even work for Microsoft.)
It was hard to find information about 3.2, though, so maybe I’m wrong. If you know of a list of 3.2 features, please leave a comment.
When I started my testing, it turned out that Chrome 1.0 had been automatically installed on both of my systems, so the new Tables now mention Chrome 1.0 only.
Now I hate automatic updating. I’m taking considerable effort to keep older versions of browsers around on my systems, because I often want to re-check a bug in order to compare it with a new version. Chrome makes that impossible for me; in fact I have no control over the process at all.
I don’t doubt for an instant that automatic updating is a blessing for end users, but for browser compatibility testers it’s hell.
So I wondered if a future Chrome version could contain a checkbox for “Check for updates automatically.” Obviously it should be checked by default, but I really really want to be able to protect my older Chrome versions by unchecking it.
Pretty please, Chrome team?
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about some unexpected consequences of Opera’s current antitrust complaint against Microsoft. If IE is unbundled from Windows, which browser should be installed instead? My conclusion was that any new computer would contain either zero or five browsers.
Opera employee Haavard responded that the hardware vendors (which are apparently called OEMs; funny name) would add one browser of their choice to new computers. Several commenters here on QuirksMode saw the same solution.
I’m not convinced this is the right thing to do. When it comes to influencing hardware vendors, Microsoft still has a considerable edge over all other browser vendors, because the hardware people need several Microsoft products (such as Windows) to make their machines worthwhile. So I doubt this is going to change anything in the short run.
Let’s for a moment suppose that Microsoft genuinely repents of its evil ways and does not pressure hardware vendors to include IE. Despite this, some hardware vendors will choose IE, and whether that’s out of habit or because they truly think it’s the best browser available is unimportant.
Now we still have some new computers that come with IE. How are we going to distinguish between IE being installed because Microsoft puts pressure on the hardware vendors and IE being installed because the vendors genuinely think it’s the best browser?
In the logic that Opera’s complaint is setting up, a hardware vendor that genuinely believes in IE would be accused of “bowing down” to the Redmond monopolist, even if this accusation is baseless. And that could be the beginning of a lot of ideology-driven nastiness.
I don’t like the way this is heading. I don’t like it at all.
I’ll be around at the following conferences:
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