The Rest of the Gang - Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally? - Style Watch | WebReference

The Rest of the Gang - Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally? - Style Watch

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Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally?

The Rest of the Gang

HTML and CSS aren't the only technologies at stake in Internet Explorer 5.0. A host of new things are on the bleeding edge of Web technology waiting to be implemented, and Internet Explorer 5.0 claims to do a lot towards this end. Although not strictly our topic, we'll have a look and see if Microsoft's programmers can be excused because they were busy concentrating on other things...


XML can be processed by IE 5.0, sort of. You see XML is sort of useless without a style sheet language, and we already saw that CSS is hideously broken in the browser. Microsoft, however, was very enthusiastic about Internet Explorer's XSL support. XSL support? Are these people completely nuts? We have a second-generation style sheet language in a well-defined specification and they rush to implement a draft specification? Why? XSL isn't even close to its final form, it's a rough draft, and unuseable. XML and CSS have been around for so long people can claim to be experts on them even though we don't have a release browser supporting them yet! And even if you're thinking of using XML namespaces to give your documents semantic content, you'll be displeased to know that Internet Explorer breaks XML namespaces as well. Yes, you can use the HTML namespace, but only if you use the prefix html, which is terrible in various respects I won't go into right now. In short, XML support made its debut broken and misimplemented, as was expected. Let's move on.

Document Object Model

Here the age-old question pops up again, "why does Microsoft pay several thousand dollars a year to be a member of the W3C? Is it a hobby perchance?" DOM support in IE5 is lousy. You can forget about coding JavaScript to spec in this browser. Proprietary methods are back, and the document structure exposed to scripting is totally wrong. I haven't tested this support extensively, and I don't know whether the DOM is broken or just unimplemented, but you can refresh your browser sniffers because you're going to be using them in your code for quite some time to come.

So Microsoft hasn't done much to implement other technologies. Well, is that unreasonable? Can Microsoft be excused for doing such a lousy job? Is implementing all of these specifications so difficult? Why don't we ask the competition?

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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou and

Created: April 7, 1999
Revised: Apr 30, 1999