Sunday, April 22, 2007

Four steps to a better IE

Not much, but they sure as hell need to start somewhere.

Recently, the Chris Wilson of the IE team posted about What to Expect from IE at MIX07? and a flood of supportive comments followed.

Actually, a scattered assortment of fucking Firefox! and No, IE! wet slaps ensued. A scarce assortment of people still reading the blog chimed in with speculation about what pathetic "enhancements" and mandatory bug fixes the IE team might or might not pull out of their asses this time around. A meager 21 comments, mostly from a few assorted commenters, mostly quoting each other for no other reason than to say Wrong! and No! Right!.

Microsoft, you have a fucking huge market share. You own it. You have more developer muscle, marketing power, and better standing with businesses (from a market prespective, not opinion - even Microsoft-only shops still fucking hate Microsoft). How do you manage to so consistently fuck yourself?

Allow me to extend my opinion on the matter (what a fucking shock, I know):

You need to break some shit. Not in the ways that you broke IE before, but you need to break the shit that hacks revolve around.

Step 1: Pull that "Mozilla/4.0" the fuck out of the User-Agent string. If any ancient code still references that, it probably doesn't work at this point anyway. Nobody uses it, nobody thinks IE has anything to do with Mozilla, and if they do they deserve to have their shit broken. Having that in your User-Agent string wastes a dozen bytes per request (not counting "compatible" and the parentheses around the actually true part of the string). How many users do you support? 500 million? How many IE requests get made per user each day, on average? Maybe 1,000, if we stay extremely conservative. Even rounding down a few times, this useless little string that every page of every web application on every server simply ignores takes up (continuing to admit that I just made these low estimations up on the spot) somewhere around a trillion bytes of bandwidth each day. Most servers log User-Agent strings, and this shit just piles up. So yank it the fuck out!

Step 2: Make IE's DOM support work. I understand that IE has a lot of shit code in it, and the architecture for this file manager cum web browser basically hard-coded entirely too much shit all over the place, making this difficult to pull off. Fuck it. Write a new browser from scratch if you need to do it that way. Shit, you should have written a new one for Vista, but I suppose that would have caused more delays only to get pulled from the OS in the end anyway... Back to DOM support, if people can't bother to write decent markup, screw them. Do you think anyone will really notice if somebody's piece of shit MySpace page renders a little differently? Or whether Mom'n'Pop online stores will notice that the margins and padding on their block elements look a little off? Most of these idiots can't spell, let alone use CSS, so fuck them and the world will applaud you.

Step 3: Pull your heads out of your asses (or your boss' ass, whichever) and realize that nobody gives a shit about ActiveX but you. Drop it from IE. Make a standalone ActiveX player if you get all weepy and sentimental, but that shit has brought you nothing but trouble. Maybe then you can keep your JavaScript (not "JScript" you fuckers, but JavaScript) at least closely behind the rest of the browsers out there.

Step 4: Start active development on IE. There, I said it. Every other major browser posts about their CSS3 work in-progress, or <event-source> support, or detailing exactly the parts of the SVG specificition they support and how far they have to go. And you guys post things like We’ve gathered input from customers for the next version of IE through formal research like user studies and surveys, and also at conferences, comments on the IE blog, and direct emails from you; we will continue to listen at MIX07. that make you sound like a bunch of fucking spineless politicians. And by the way, if you read that sentence in IE, just pretend that IE supports the "q" tag that has existed for fucking years that IE still doesn't support, but does in fact surround that inline quote.

As I said: not much, but they sure as hell need to start somewhere.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous tono said...

I agree with EVERY single word.

7:02 AM  
Blogger The Hater said...

You had damn well better agree. I fucking hate IE (in case that slipped past unnoticed), but if I can't wipe the fucker off every computer, everywhere, then I can at least point out some of the obvious shit they can do to make it suck just a little less.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I totally agree with you, I despise IE. My car is plastered with Firefox bumper stickers and I do all my development on it with the Web Developer Toolbar (I will name my first child after whoever made that) and Firebug (second child's name). IE is just too bad for words. The proprietary code, the complete lack of any debugging features (the basic, built-in Javascript Console in Firefox is infinitely better than all of IE), the lack of standards... it crushes me to have spent 4 hours getting something to work in FF and then open it in IE and 25% of it works, and you have no idea why the rest doesn't work. Then you have to spend 8 more hours trying to figure IE out. I work for the Billy Graham Evangslistic Association in the Internet department, and I deal with these issues all day. We need to continue to educate people about why FF is better. And don't be too discouraged: FF is now up to about 12% of browsers, and its use is climbing. It was 10% last year. FF will one day take over.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I totally agree with you, I despise IE. My car is plastered with Firefox bumper stickers and I do all my development on it with the Web Developer Toolbar (I will name my first child after whoever made that) and Firebug (second child's name). IE is just too bad for words. The proprietary code, the complete lack of any debugging features (the basic, built-in Javascript Console in Firefox is infinitely better than all of IE), the lack of standards... it crushes me to have spent 4 hours getting something to work in FF and then open it in IE and 25% of it works, and you have no idea why the rest doesn't work. Then you have to spend 8 more hours trying to figure IE out. I work for the Billy Graham Evangslistic Association in the Internet department, and I deal with these issues all day. We need to continue to educate people about why FF is better. And don't be too discouraged: FF is now up to about 12% of browsers, and its use is climbing. It was 10% last year. FF will one day take over.

8:17 AM  
Blogger The Hater said...

Mark:

Your kids will not have very exciting names, but your SO probably won't throw your ass out for doing so (or know your inspiration if you just don't explain it):

Web Developer: Chris
Firebug: Joe

6:32 PM  
Anonymous emil said...

I think microsoft should do this if they have any sense of anything:
1. discontinue IE - yes, the serie has a very bad reputation and seems to be a dinosaur which refuses to die, and
2. start a new browser from scratch - take a good look at that page htpp://w3.org with all the text (yes I know you haven't bothered to read it all) and make a standard compatible browser, so
3. instead of trying to block other browsers with stuff that only is supported by IE (which noone really uses), like activeX and <marquee>, make a browser that don't have too wait until firefox has got so much market share before you introduce the same feature (tabs, rss), just because you think you don't have to listen to the users just because you're microsoft, and last
4. remove that integration between windows and IE, make it able for us to remove that crappy browser

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've had it with IE personally. Now that mozilla has the upper hand on any technical site that I've seen. And since mine is as well, I have put all customers on notice that IE is experimental. My company no longer supports it and if somebody goes to our site and something doesn't look right... Well... Thats their own fault for using IE. I'm not hacking for it anymore. Mosiac can kiss my ass and anybody else who uses it can kiss my ass too.

MS can keep on burying their own browser for all I care. Its no longer the developers fault that they can't keep up.

4:40 AM  
Anonymous matt --webdeveloper said...

you are my hero

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck IE,
just spend 2 days trying to get something to render in IE that renders perfectly in ffox and Opera. (Dare I mention the word whitespace?)
Piss off microsoft, the day is coming very close that all my sites will say "Please use a proper browser" if accessed by IE.
I've just about had it.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IE sucks balls

4:58 AM  

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