Earlier this week, I was asked to make a short video that would be shown during a round table discussion on a hot topic: HTML5 vs. proprietary rich internet app technologies, such as Flash and Silverlight. My video was supposed to take the “RIAs complement HTML” side of the debate, while someone else would produce a video taking the “HTML5 trumps RIAs” side.
My own personal belief is that HTML5 – actually the stack of HTML5, CSS3 and Java/ECMAScript – has closed the interactivity gap between the web and desktop apps and will continue to close it. However, for the time being, there are still cases where HTML5 just can’t cut it – for various reasons, such as performance, browser compatibility or designer-friendliness – and that’s where RIAs shine. Hence I found it rather easy to put together an amusing little video titled HTML5 and RIAs: Friends with Benefits (5:47, YouTube).
I did the production work on Tuesday afternoon and evening using the following tools:
It wasn’t that long ago that an early version of Internet Explorer 9 – we called it Platform Preview 1 – was announced at MIX10 Conference back in mid-March. If you missed it, here’s MIX10’s Day 2 keynote session, in which the Internet Explorer team’s supreme Kahuna, Dean Hachamovitch, made the announcement (it’s the first part of the keynote, so you don’t have to watch or scan through the entire two hours):
While the Acid3 test isn’t the holy grail – some of its tests don’t mesh with the HTML5 standard as it is right now, others are still “under construction” – more compliance with HTML5 typically means a higher Acid3 score. IE9 Platform Preview 2 currently scores 68 out of a possible 100, which is an improvement over Platform Preview 1’s score of 55, and leaps and bounds ahead of IE8’s scores for 20.
People Issue #1: Standards
Another part of the “Same Markup” approach is working within the various standards groups defining the web experience. Among other things, we’ve been doing things like:
Take IE9 Platform Preview 2 for a Spin!
You can download Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 right now. As with Platform Preview 1, it coexists with Internet Explorer 8, and it’s a very thin wrapper around the engine, meaning that it’s really for developer and designer testing rather than general browsing. The UI elements you’d expect in a browser, such as the address bar (you open sites using File –> Open…), nor are the security features such as Protected Mode, SmartScreen filter and XSS scripting filter.
Platform Preview 2 installs right over Platform Preview 1; you don’t have to uninstall Platform Preview 1 before installing Platform Preview 2.
This would be a very good time to remind you, the Gentle Reader, that Global Nerdy is my personal tech blog and that the opinions expressed within are mine and mine alone. They are not necessarily those of my employer, Microsoft Canada, nor its parent company, Microsoft Corporation, nor or any other Sith Lords, Stormtroopers, Family Guy monkeys or any other agents of evil in the employ of said organization.
And here’s the same HTML email, with the same properly-formatted HTML, as rendered by the current version, Outlook 2007. It uses Word as the rendering engine, and Word will be the rendering engine for the upcoming Outlook 2010:
I understand why the empire wants Word-Outlook interoperability, which is why Word was chosen to be the HTML rendering engine for Outlook. But Word’s HTML renderer isn’t standards-compliant, which is why Outlook renders HTML in such a janky way. Outlook relies on old tricks such as using HTML tables for layout and other non-recommended ways of building web pages. IE8 plays by the rules, why doesn’t Outlook?
In my opinion, this is wrong. It runs counter to the spirit of interoperability, the embrace of open source and the following of standards that has accompanied the “sea change” within Microsoft (and it’s this sea change that help solidify my decision to join the company). I believe that it is in both Microsoft’s and the industry’s best interests for The Empire to be more standards-compliant.
(Besides, I just came back from presenting at a “Building Accessible Web Sites” conference where I told the audience to write compliant HTML. Damn right I’m going to push for everyone – Microsoft included – to do just that!)