Documenting Standards in IE

February 24th, 2010

This post discusses some of the work we’re doing on the IE team to fulfill our commitment to document our support of web standards. A good starting point is Microsoft’s interoperability principles, something we’ve written about here on this blog before, and a principle that’s easy to see in action in our products, like IE8.

The essence of interoperability in this context is that the same web page markup works the same way across different browsers. There are many challenges in getting to this goal. Even with the best intentions, as an industry we are still learning and working through how to do this well. You can look at how different tests run even today in modern browsers (for example here at 19:57). You can look at how standards evolve, like how quickly CSS2 became CSS 2.1, or the process to finish CSS 2.1 and make it a final Recommendation, or what happened between XHTML and HTML5. You can look at the challenge of delivering interoperable products while specifications are under construction (as in the case of 802.11 wireless). There are many challenges, and the web standards process, primarily at the W3C and similar organizations, is an important means to get the different communities involved to a consensus agreement.

The work in developing a public CSS 2.1 test suite and contributing it to the W3C, our recent work on different aspects of HTML5, and the improvements in IE9’s interoperability we showed at PDC are all examples of our principles in action. You can try out some of the tests yourself, in different browsers and on different operating systems.

As part of our commitment to interoperability, we’re going to make more interoperability information available about IE and keep it up-to-date. Today we’re publishing the first pieces of documentation here. These documents are drafts, and are not final. We will post more here on the IE blog about interoperability documentation (e.g. how we engineered creating this documentation, the process for keeping the documentation up to date).

Thanks –
Dean Hachamovitch