Mozilla vs. Japan - Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally? - Style Watch | WebReference

Mozilla vs. Japan - Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally? - Style Watch

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Internet Explorer 5.0: With Style, Finally?

Mozilla vs. Japan

The Mozilla Milestone 3 binaries were released about the same time as IE 5.0 release, so I downloaded them and gave them a spin. The ZIP file (yes, it's a ZIP file, and I downloaded it off an FTP site! How incredibly original!) was 2.8 megabytes long, and it contains a lot of stuff that probably won't be in the release version. Granted, it doesn't contain a Java Virtual Machine, but it's still microscopic. It does HTML 4.0 and CSS1 almost perfectly, and it seems that most of CSS2 is there, including fixed positioning. The DOM support is outstanding, reaching all the way to draft Level 2 CSS support. It also does RDF. The thing is fast like nothing else I've ever seen. And this is still a pre-Alpha release.

The guys at aren't rushing things, and rightly so. They're on the right track. I think the rendering engine is about as far along as it can go save for debugging, and now they're working on the crucial interface and peripheral functions. Don't sweat, guys, we'll wait for you. I for one am not going to grow impatient when I know that I'm going to get the first ever spec-compliant browser with all the capabilities I need. Take all year, take more. We'll wait.

What's an author to do?

So, the question is, what do we do about Internet Explorer 5.0? Do we rush to find the new hacks and methods, edit all our pages to take advantage of the wonderful features and plaster them with "best viewed with IE5" logos? I beg to differ.

My advice: do nothing. The changes in IE5 are so minor you probably won't even notice them. And with the installation problems and general "not-much-of-an-upgrade-is-it-now?" attitude flowing around you can bet that deployment of the browser will be slower than a turtle taking a pit stop. Until Microsoft manages to bundle it with the next OS release, you can bet that most people won't bother with Internet Explorer 5.0, and first reactions from the industry show that authors are already moaning that they're not going to bother with creating yet another version of their pages for the new hack.

In the mean time, stay up to date with the W3C and the new stuff coming out from there, because you can bet it's going to be in Navigator 5.0. And no matter what your skill level or experience is, hop over to and lend a hand. It's good to know you're part of something worthwhile.

Internet Explorer 5.0, from the HTML and CSS author's point of view, is a minor bug-fixing patch for IE4, except for the fact you need to download the whole thing from scratch (or at least you can try to download it). Thankfully it has a compatibility feature which lets you run IE4 concurrently, so if you're itchy and you haven't done so already, download it for entertainment value, if you have the stomach for the download process. Style Watch officially gives Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Release Version, the complete Thumbs Down Treatment.

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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou and

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