Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Comments for +1.5 Years: Where Are We Now?

I was excited about IE7 when it came out. I had read a list of the problems fixed by the release, and this was directly from the source... one of the guys working on it.  I was encouraged that there were names associated with IE, and thought that this release would be a good step forward.

I now believe it was less a step than simply a tease.  Things were corrected, but in the larger context (everyone's personal IE7 bug-list, including yours), these were minor changes.  The release was long enough ago that any excitement or hope for possibility has worn off for me. 

All excitement has now faded. I wouldn't be surprised by a future release, with a few more small-potatos bug fixes, just to maintain a glimmer of hope for most people.  Heck, maybe we won't even get that.  I'd love for them to prove me wrong.  Regardless, I don't think IE will ever provide anything other than reactionary releases, furthering your point that Microsoft will only do the minimum they can get away with.

Hey Alex, I was wondering about one thing you say in the post: why do you feel that WYSIWYG editing through ActiveX controls was better than contentEditable? By the way, I had to launch Firefox to comment here as the rich text control does not seem to be focusable on IE7/Vista. Even in Firefox, it  seems to be out of the tab order (hitting tab from the previous field doesn't focus on it). Thanks!
Both webkit and gecko are embeddable and reasonably mature, can't microsoft just put their own interface on top of one of these? Hell, even opera would be open to providing a closed solution if microsoft doesn't want to touch open source stuff.  They did it before with earlier IE version that embedded the spyglass/NSCA code, so they have their own precedent.

Your relationship analogy is a good one, but there's another, perhaps stronger, relationship at play.  Microsoft's claims of love and pride for a product they obviously don't really care about.  Actions speak louder than words, and IE7's release, and the lead up to it, was like a dead-beat dad who only shows up, unannounced, on your birthday.

by Andy at
Hey Bertrand,

I haven't yet upgraded the editor on this page for 0.9. I'll try to get that done today.

As for the substantive question regarding contentEditable, it's behavior WRT the undo stack is completely bogus. I've blogged about a potential solution here, but the current situation is that w/ the ActiveX control we could have atomic, undoable updates which were constrained to the editing area itself and with contentEditable today that's just not possible. The result is that it's not really feasible to easily add new features to WYSIWYG editing or even make it reasonably semantic without biting off the problem of implementing your own undo stack (invariably, badly).

This situation is not tennable.


by alex at
 Bertrand:The editor is now upgraded to 0.9 and works on IE 7 (XP SP2) just fine. Let me know if you're still having issues with it.Regards
by alex at
 I never was a big fan of firefox and always have been a microsoft user, but sometimes Microsoft does pisses you off! What's with the multiple tabs carshes Microsoft?
by Andreas at
Thanks for fixing the editor (still can't tab to it but that's a minor inconvenience) and for the detailed answer. In my (very ancient, like 1999) experience writing a wysiwyg editor with the ActiveX, the undo stack was very much broken too, and we had many other problems with it. At the time we welcomed contentEditable gladly as it was a lot more manageable for us. But I agree that the undo stack and caret management are the really tricky parts that should be fixed.