IE8 to implement parts of HTML 5

David Worthington
March 7, 2008 —  (Page 1 of 2)
LAS VEGAS — The HTML 5 specification may be years away from completion, but that did not stop Microsoft from selectively implementing parts of it in Internet Explorer (IE) 8.

Chris Wilson, platform architect of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft, said today at MIX08 that Microsoft had written four features from the current draft of HTML 5 into the browser, in an effort to improve the way it handles Web 2.0 applications.

Beta 1 of IE8 implements cross-document messaging, a client-side storage API, network connection awareness and a window location hash meant to place Web applications into the browser's back/forward stack. For example, a mapping application will no longer revert back to its default position when a user hits the back button.

Wilson explained that Microsoft communicated with other browser developers before it began implementing HTML 5 to determine which features had a high level of confidence. Betas of Mozilla Firefox 3 also implement the location hash.

“It is always a challenge [to work] with standards when producing a browser. You can wait until the standard is done, but you cannot tell [whether] you are writing it right until you implement it,” said Wilson. He added that Microsoft would work with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to put the “W3C stamp” on some expected behaviors that can be incorporated into with Web browsers before the specification is finalized.

When asked about Microsoft’s contingency plans should the W3C change the features’ behaviors or eliminate them outright, Wilson said that the browser's version-targeting capability would provide developers with a workaround.

Version targeting refers to the browser's three rendering modes: the default which supports W3C standards in the same way as IE7, a “full standards” mode that has already passed the Web Standards Project’s Acid2 test, and a “quirks mode” that maintains compatibility with earlier editions of the browser.

HTML 5 transcends HTML's markup language roots in a big way. The first public working draft specification, published Jan. 22, introduces APIs for audio, graphics and video, interactive document editing, and the maintenance of persistent client-side data storage. It tops 500 pages, and one can expect that the final version will be even thicker.

Related Search Term(s): Microsoft, IE8, Silverlight, HTML 5

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