Microsoft’s Commitment to Web Standards

Molly interviewed Bill Gates on Microsoft’s commitment to web standards. Today, Roger added his comments in his article: Bill Gates on Web standards: Huh?.

In a brief discussion about web standards, Bill seems to interpret web standards as ws*, xml, etc. He does not really mention html, xhtml, css or similar approaches, which is why he probably does not follow Molly’s point to sceptics of Microsofts commitment to webstandards.


I’m just saying there are a lot of skeptics still out there.

Bill Gates:

How can they be skeptical? I guess if your job is to be skeptical, you’d hate to be out of a job!

Roger Johansson follows up on his blog:

No, Bill, that is not why people are skeptical. They are skeptical because they find it hard to believe that the richest company in the world can’t afford to make a Web browser whose Web standards support matches that of browsers created by non-profit organisations, open source projects, and one man bands.

With the release of IE 7, I think that Microsoft has actually showed that it’s browser team is very comitted to pushing web standards to a better level. But there is another issue that — in my opinion — is more important because it affects the hordes of developers using Microsoft technology.

My biggest concern, therefore, is not the browser, but the Microsoft developer tools and their lack of focus on webstandards.

Microsoft tools lack support of web standards

The biggest issue is not IE’s commitment to webstandards, but Microsoft and it’s developer tools’ commitment to webstandards

And no, recent support for xhtml validation does not make your tools entirely focused on webstandards.

I have seen recent books bought by colleagues at work, where every piece of HTML is table based layouts, FONT tags, all capital tags, etc.

So there might be a commitment on the strategic level, but it’s very badly executed. I’d really appreciate if you post a comment with any examples you stumble upon.

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6 Responses to “Microsoft’s Commitment to Web Standards”

  1. Mads Says:

    I have always thought IE7 to be one step forward for Microsoft’s commitment to web standards.

    Then I read this:

    Three words: One step back.

  2. Hartvig Says:

    I think the discussion is very relevant, but using the interview with Bill Gates is a silly. How could you except Bill Gates to know about html, css etc. He’s the chairman of the board (yes, of the worlds biggest software company, but imagine how many technologies he should know of then!). Try to ask Steve Jobs about Web standards or Larry Eliasson about sql – I think it would be just as embarrasing.

    And MS Tools *is* much improved. Visual Studio 2003 was a catastrophe, but 2005 is a giant improvement. It actually generates proper code, uses code view as default (2003 used design view so a lot of people never looked at the code – yikes!) and it does generate valid xhtml out of the box. ASP.NET can even run in a mode where non compliant pages will return a server error, which is very neat for testing.

    And Microsoft does a lot to push this. Scott Guthrie (respossible for .net tools) and he’s team is doing a lot to improve and just as much in listning to critisism through their blogs and improved controls etc. A huge problem is the developer legacy in the MS consultancy world. MS has actually changed a lot, but there’s a huge bunch of MS consultants (I guess you can recognize some colleagues here) who used to do Visual Basic stuff and now does web apps. Some of them are writing books – and judging from that angle, boy, being a good software developer doesn’t means understanding web standards.

    Don’t mix this with IE team etc. I also think they’re aware that IE7 wasn’t good enough in some areas (and have been quite open about what they would support and not through blogs). They’ve also begun IE8 already, thank good.

    It seems like the whole web standard movement are so focused on having an “enemy”, that they don’t see the shift that’s actually happening inside Microsoft. Anyone who just follows a couple of MS blogs wouldn’t doubt.

    (I’ll cross post this one on 457 too – I actually started there :-))

  3. Hartvig Says:

    @Mads: There’s actually rumours that Microsoft was forced to remove IE as a default renderer, because of the anti-trust case:

    In a year to come, this will probably hit Apple (forcing them to stop shipping iTunes with OSX) and make the iPod experience a bit more cluncky and the beautiful integration between iApps less integrated.

    Again, everyone likes to see Microsoft as a stupid, cynical, fucked up company – but they’ve changed a lot the past years, and are one of the most open companies in the world. With a huge dominance they has to follow some rules that causes huge irritations for some of us. The html e-mail issue might be one of them :-(

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