It must have been some kind of event for me to break my blogging silence.
I read about the IE 8 beta (and I’ll test it for myself as soon as I prep a fresh virtual machine…). Key features include support for the WAI-ARIA spec, and Acid2 compliance. Chris Wilson apparently also said during his talk today at Mix that they’re aiming for full support for CSS 2.1.
Okay, guys. You win. I’m impressed. There, I said it. I said something nice about Microsoft. I even did it on my Tablet PC, running Vista, just for good measure.
I was one of many who groaned at IE 7 when it caused a new round of conditional comment breakage, and when its own issues started to pinch authors into making more tweaks just to keep standards-based development working. Back then, I saw it as a small step forward for a team that had just been reassembled. I hoped for big things to come after – big, positive things – but so far, if the bits resemble the hype, let me be the first to welcome Microsoft back to the standards-based web.
There have been almost too many battles to name in the web standards arena over the last several years, and there are still some that make me itch. The <canvas> element springs to mind. But the thought of every major vendor finally supporting HTML 4.01 and CSS 2.1 has left me almost giddy, and ARIA support in all the major browsing platforms just puts me over the top. I think it can now be said that the standardistas have finally got what they wanted: a stable contract with browsers that what they code is what the user will get.
What next? Oh, I don’t know. How about we gather up everybody still designing web sites in 2008 using layout tables, font tags, and the like, and run them out of town on a rail? Who’s with me?