Speaking with an accent XP System Restore and drive thrashing with backups

Håkon Wium Lie, the original proposer of CSS, answers questions from Slashdotters about the origins of the language, why it’s not progressing as fast as web designers would like, and why he lies about the pronunciation of his first name.

If you have even a passing interest in CSS, this is a good read. Of particular interest is the answer to the question:

> by Dolda2000

> If you were allowed (perhaps by court order, which wouldn’t be
> unthinkable) to force Microsoft to do one (1) change in Internet
> Explorer, what would that be?
I would force them to support one (1) single web page before shipping IE7, namely Acid2. By using a tiny amount of resources to get Acid2 right, Microsoft can save web designers and users endless amounts of frustration in the future. It would also be an honorable thing to do.

However, in answer to another question further down, he tells us why this dream scenario will never happen:

It’s quite clear that Microsoft has the resources and talent to support CSS2 fully in IE and that plenty of people have reminded them why this is important. So, why don’t they do it? The fundamental reason, I believe, is that standards don’t benefit monopolists. Accepted, well-functioning, standards lower the barrier of entry to a market, and is therefore a threat to a monopolist.

From that perspective, it makes sense to leave CSS2 half-implemented. You can claim support (and many journalists will believe you), and you also ensure that no-one can use the unimplemented (or worse: buggily implemented) features of the standard. The only way to change the equation is to remind Microsoft how embarrassing it is to offer a sub-standard browser. And to use better browsers.

So there you have it. IE7 might help a little – and frankly it would be a relief just to be able to use the years-old child and attribute selectors, even if we have to wait a few more years before IE7’s penetration is such before it’s safe – but IE as a browser is going to drag its feet because MS doesn’t want the web to compete with Windows as a platform. So we as web developers must continue to use ASP.NET 2.0 with Firefox, Firebug, the Web Developer Toolbar, CSSVista, and all the other nifty little tools which are growing into the space which MS steadfastly refuses to occupy. And all the while, we must embarrass MS into some semblance of standards compliance.

Just think about for a moment though – as an ASP.NET web developer, wouldn’t you love to be able to ditch the “code for Firefox, fix for IE” mentality, and have a fully integrated AJAX IDE where you could debug your JavaScript in an integrated manner in Visual Studio and not have to worry about a separate browser for CSS? Wouldn’t it be nice if Visual Studio was your CSS IDE and you could see your changes live and be certain that your layout would render the same in any browser?

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