Thursday, December 20, 2012

From time to time I see posts like this describing "CSS Hacks" to detect a particular version of IE. This post describes how removing conditional comments support in IE10 might be a problem for targeting workarounds to IE10. Specifically it says:

"But without conditional comments in IE10, the only options we’re left with to target CSS problems are hacks or browser sniffing — and we certainly don’t want to resort to the latter."

It goes on to describe a set of hacks that amount to browser sniffing using JavaScript (if (/*@cc_on!@*/false && document.documentMode === 10)) or some combination of media queries that some developers will only fire for IE10. Just because you don't use the user agent string doesn't mean you're not browser sniffing.

The whole point of feature detection is to look for the feature you want to use and if it is missing do something else. If the issue really is a bug in a specific version of a browser and you can't find a way to detect the correct vs. the errant behaviour then consider browser detection explicitly, not hidden in code made to look like something else.

The main issue is one that David Storey notes in the comments: this kind of hack is unreliable as bugs are fixed or new features introduced. Today we find that most sites that don't work correctly in IE10 by default are broken because they made this kind of assumption. They either expect that if they detect IE then a specific feature isn't present or will work a specific way or the assume that if feature A is supported then feature B must also be supported, often when there is no connection between the two. When a new version of IE comes along that fixes the bug or maybe implements feature A but not B then the site is broken because of these incorrect assumptions.

All browsers prioritise the order in which they deliver new features according to their own goals. In IE10 we invested a lot in new CSS3 layout support like grid and regions, for example. There are other things that we didn't get to though we always wish we could have done more. Use feature detection in your site for the things you use that we didn't get to yet so that as soon as we include support your site should simply light up that part in IE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I’m not a Gmail user but I know someone who is. She was a little disappointed to discover that when configuring her Gmail account with a Microsoft Surface, only one of the many Google calendars synchronised to the built-in Calendar app. It looks like the app only syncs the default calendar. After a little searching, we found a workaround. It’s a little clunky but did the trick. Hopefully this gets fixed properly in an update to the main app.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

This morning in the United States, the White House announced a new "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" as part of the effort to improve consumers' online privacy. As I've mentioned before, Microsoft is actively participating in the industry initiative for Tracking Protection at the W3C to produce Web standards for online privacy. [continues on the IEBlog]

Monday, February 6, 2012

In the last ten years Microsoft has invested heavily in user privacy. Just like security, privacy considerations are baked into every Microsoft product. It is almost a year since the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web, accepted and published Microsoft’s member submission for an Internet Standard to help protect consumer privacy. [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Monday, January 23, 2012 12:00 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Monday, September 12, 2011
Scott Hanselman describes the ASP.NET fix need to make the browser definition files work with IE10. In general we encourage developers to use feature detection when switching their mark-up but the ASP.NET infrastructure has been around for a long time. One thing to watch out for if you are doing custom browser detection is the two digit version number with IE10. We've seen a few sites have issues because they only expect a single digit and end up thinking IE10 is IE1.
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today, the W3C announced the creation of a Tracking Protection Working Group to work on defining what tracking is, signaling user intent, and tracking protection lists. The W3C’s action here can help protect consumers from unwanted tracking. We welcome the opportunity to work with the industry and governments on a Web standard based on our earlier work. [continues on the IEBlog]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This morning the W3C accepted and published Microsoft’s Web Tracking Protection member submission proposing a standard for helping to address privacy concerns related to online tracking. You can read more on the IE Blog and on the W3C Blog. Web Tracking Protection is based on IE9’s tracking protection lists showcased on the IE9 Test Drive.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I have upgraded this blog to Subtext 2.5 and moved hosting providers from WebHost4Life to Arvixe. This is a test post to make sure it is all working.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Last year I wrote about the W3C’s annual Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee (TPAC) conference. This is where most of the W3C working groups get together for a week of face to face meetings and networking. TPAC 2010 was a couple of weeks ago and here I will highlight some of the topics discussed by the groups where we participate… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Monday, November 29, 2010 7:20 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Friday, October 8, 2010

I want to provide an update to my last blog post about the W3C process that we follow to develop and finalise Web Standards. The working group published the Release Candidate (RC) of the CSS 2.1 Test Suite on September 17. The next step is for the major browser vendors to submit their implementation reports using the working group’s template within one month from publication of the test suite. The group has set a deadline on October 18… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Friday, October 8, 2010 4:30 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Monday, September 13, 2010

Complete Web Standards with multiple browser implementations and comprehensive test suites are the backbone of the interoperable Web. Getting web standards through the complete standardisation process and turned into official W3C Recommendations takes a lot of effort. While it is tempting to view the latest editor’s draft of a specification as a "standard", a large part of the complexity that ensures good interoperability happens in the "last mile". In the last couple of weeks, several key web specifications have reached important milestones and these examples illustrate how the process works… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Monday, September 13, 2010 6:00 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Friday, March 26, 2010

Over the last month, as part of Microsoft’s commitment to interoperability, we’ve published information for Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 describing variations from certain web standards… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Friday, March 26, 2010 1:45 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ IE8 ]
Friday, March 12, 2010

There’s lots going on in the web standards world and being part of the Internet Explorer team gives me a front row seat. We’ve posted a few updates on the IE Blog relating to standards in the last few weeks:

I’m really looking forward to the feedback we get from MIX where General Manager of IE, Dean Hachamovitch, will present one of the keynote sessions and there will be a number of IE9 breakouts. Unfortunately, I won’t get a chance to be at MIX this year but I’ll be watching from afar and waiting to hear the stories my colleagues have to tell when they return.

Technorati Tags: MIX10,IE9,W3C,HTML5

posted @ Friday, March 12, 2010 4:07 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We’re always excited to engage with members of the W3C including the developers of other browsers as well as the broader web development community to help shape the direction of emerging Web standards, particularly HTML5.  This includes participating in events like TPAC, which we wrote about in November, and on-going engagement with various working groups… [continues on the IEBlog]

Friday, March 5, 2010

Last week, the W3C HTML Working Group reached a decision to publish several new working drafts and these are now available. The discussion about what to publish and how to structure the HTML5 specification has taken several months. In November, at the TPAC meeting, a request was made for the Microdata section of the specification to be removed. Back in August, I posted about our support for a separate Canvas 2D API specification… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Friday, March 5, 2010 9:11 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C HTML5 ]
Monday, November 2, 2009

This week the W3C holds its annual Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee meeting (TPAC 2009). There will be about a dozen people from the IE team participating and this is a valuable opportunity to continue working together with other W3C members on the next generation of web standards. High quality specifications that improve interoperability between browsers are important. Our goal is to help ensure these new standards work well for web developers and will work well in future versions of IE… [continues on the IEBlog]

posted @ Monday, November 2, 2009 5:00 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ W3C ]
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There were a number of announcements at TechEd US last week with many status updates on forthcoming products. Bruce Kyle has written up the list on the US ISV DE blog. It’s interesting to see the ramp-up for Windows Mobile 6.5 beginning with the launch of registration for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and an announcement of support for the latest draft of the W3C Widgets spec. In fact, there is a Windows Mobile Ramp-Up track on MSDN to facilitate learning about mobile development.

One aspect I’m particularly interested in exploring is the Windows 7 native support for the ribbon UI. This is something I’ve been investigating for a while for a side project and so I’m considering limiting myself to Windows 7 for now so I can take advantage of this control. As I understand it, the plan is to provide support for Windows Vista around the time of Windows 7 RTM.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The release of a beta of Virtual PC for Windows 7 allows Windows XP applications to run in a way that integrates them into the usual Windows desktop without it being obvious that an entire second copy of Windows is running. Virtual PC on Windows 7 requires hardware virtualisation and I was looking for a quick way to determine whether that is supported on any given PC.

SecurAble by Gibson Research Corp supports both Intel and AMD CPUs and tells you simply whether the processor is 64-bit capable, whether it supports Data Execution Prevention technology, and whether it supports hardware-assisted virtualisation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I have an old printer. Very old. It’s an Epson EPL-5500 and I got it in about 1995/6 and it has served me well ever since. Soon I might need a new printer – soon I won’t be able to get toner cartridges for this one – but for now it is fine. It worked fine in Vista but now that I’ve decided to enter the 64-bit world with Windows 7, I need 64-bit drivers and they don’t come with Win7. After all, who still uses a printer that is more than a decade old?

My printer is connected to my Windows Home Server and I know that server operating systems have the ability to host drivers for the printers they share so that when you connect to the printer, the driver is downloaded. Using Remote Desktop to connect to WHS, there is an Additional Drivers button on the Sharing tab of the printer properties.


WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 so it doesn’t intrinsically know anything about Windows Vista or Windows 7. It does know about 64-bit Windows XP, though. By default the x64 checkbox is unchecked and the driver isn’t installed. When you check the box, you’re prompted to enter the DVD containing the driver. Unfortunately, WHS is 32-bit only so inserting the WHS DVD doesn’t help. I found a copy of Windows Server 2003 64-bit on an old MSDN DVD and used that to provide a copy of the 64-bit driver. This gives me a ‘Yes’ in the Additional Drivers dialog and now I can connect to the printer from Windows 7. When I do, Windows prompts me to elevate permissions so that the driver can be installed and all is well.

Windows Home Server to the rescue again (sort of) and now all my Windows 7 PC’s will be able to print again.

posted @ Thursday, May 7, 2009 10:10 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Windows ]
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yesterday, a note was posted on the IE blog about the “hang recovery” feature in IE8 on Windows 7. During testing, it was found that the timer used to determine if a tab in IE is not being responsive was found to be a little too sensitive on some people’s computers, especially while using the built-in developer tools.

A webpage is not responding on the following website

Today, two updates for IE8 on Win7 RC are available through Windows Update. The first is the expected “compatibility list”. Since IE8 (and Windows 7) ship with an empty compatibility list, one needs to be downloaded after first install. The second update is one to mitigate the issue of seeing the “webpage is not responding” dialog too frequently. The updates are both rated “Important” and it’s recommended that you install both updates.

posted @ Tuesday, May 5, 2009 5:17 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ IE8 ]