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IE4.0 and W3C Standards -Reply

From: Mary Morris <marym@Finesse.COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 08:32:53 -0800
Message-Id: <199703051632.IAA25071@thyme>
To: www-style@w3.org, www-talk@w3.org, scotti@microsoft.com, erik@shell.inch.com, jwilde@wipg.com
Scott said:

> An article was recently written by CRN (Computer Reseller News) that
> incorrectly stated that Microsoft is working on a proprietary superset
> of HTML 3.2 that will ship in Internet Explorer 4.0.

> All new features being introduced in Internet Explorer 4.0 are under
> discussion with the W3C. Dynamic HTML is Microsoft's IMPLEMENTATION of
> W3C's emerging work. 

Jeff replied:

> I find this very hard to believe.  Microsoft always has a way of redefining
> the standards. ala sendmail wannabe exchange.

Erik responded:

> Microsoft is the champion of all Internet protocols, including Active-X, 
> Winsock 2.0, and WINS.

First and foremost, I think that many people here are spliting hairs.
I think that CRN would have been accurate in saying that IE was working
on a "superset" of HTML 3.2 since some of the things probably aren't
included in the HTML 3.2 standard (ie dynamic HTML is something on its

However, I do believe that Microsoft endevors to adhere to the letter
of standards, while failing to live up to the spirit of the Internet
itself. Erik the "unofficial" spokesperson made that point in his
comment that Active-X, Winsock and WINS were "Internet Standards".
While these items may be based upon Internet Standards, they fail to
meet the philosophy of the Internet - namely platform transparency,
reasonable security in a very large domain, and modularity.

Active-X expects users to decide their own security level via accepting
or rejecting certificates from often unknown parties. This is poor
security and fails to allow the user to modularly select the type of 
access to grant to foreign items. The model of the Internet is modular
control - not all or nothing.

Overall, Microsoft does good work on what they do complete. The 
current works are developed to common standards unlike earlier 
endevors such as Blackbird in its first incarnation. However, they
should be working much harder to strategically align themselves
with the Internet paradigm, if they want people to change their
perspective of the giant.

Mary E. S. Morris
Received on Wednesday, 5 March 1997 11:32:00 UTC

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