A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for any Microsoft development team to hold webchats with all-comers. It seems that they are attempting to take some things from the open development model. Interesting, though, how the old way of doing things shows through – the chat was run by a “Product Manager on the Communities team”.
Most of it seems to be hedging about the “standards support”, “transparent PNG” and “improved security” questions, and batting off feature requests to make IE more like Firefox. However, there are a few interesting points:
Q: what factors weigh into the IE teams’ considerations for new fixes and features for upcoming versions? Popular demand is one thing but I’m interested to know what else goes into the decision-making
A: Obviously, security has recently become a top consideration when considering the features we add and how they’re implemented.
(Emphasis mine.) Enough said.
Q: How much progress has been made on the patch [for the shell: protocol issue]? Is it going to be 1 week or a month… How close are you?
A: Sorry, I can’t offer specifics. Please understand that there are a lot of super complex issues… briefly, we have to make sure that we protect against variants of the exploit not just the immediate exploit. We need to make sure that the fixes don’t regress other functionality and “break” parts of the web for consumers, corporations, or developers. We have to support over 400+ IE, OS, and language combinations and make sure they are all of good quality. Of course, the team works around the clock to make this happen as quickly as possible.
The comparison with how simple and quick this issue was to fix in Mozilla is instructive. OK, we don’t have such a large backwards compatibility problem – but this is a rod Microsoft made for their own back by implementing shell: in the first place.
Jana_MS : Regarding someone’s post about Robert Scoble using FireFox, I just emailed him and here is his response “I do use Firefox and have said so on my blog. But only 40% of the time. I still like IE better.”
Looks like Scoble’s coming under some internal pressure and being forced to backtrack…
Q: What is yout opinion for webpages that say “Only viewable with IE”, isn’t that discrimination? Isn’t information supposed to be for all?
A: These statements are a decision made solely by the web designer. You are certainly free to complain to the webmaster when you see such a message.
Now there’s a quote for the Tech Evangelism team to show around. “Microsoft suggests complaining about sites which are IE-only.”
Q: Will there be interim updates of IE between now and Longhorn, means updates that fix outstanding issues, incl stuff like CSS2 and PNG transparency?
A: Hi Tom, At this stage we can’t make any commitments. The timeframe for Longhorn does not actually give us very much time to undertake a great amount of work especially given teh amount of testing we need to undertake to ensure a quality release that does not break the internet or many intranets and web applications.
Good news for us. Even the IE shipping with Longhorn (several years off) won’t be much better than the current one. By that stage, we’ll be out of sight.