Disarm IE: My Dev Wishlist for Other Browsers

Dean got me thinking about this
IE has many interesting development features which are well, a bit non-standard.  Well okay, they’re utterly made up with nary a W3C spec in sight.  Among them:

  • DHTML Behaviors
  • Databinding & Data Source Objects
  • CSS Visual Filters
  • CSS Expressions
  • Conditional Comments
  • The “defer” attribute

Here’s what caught my attention about these tools: sure they’re not standards-based, but they’re frickin’ great!

I’ve often said Microsoft overuses the word “innovate,” especially in regards to their own products.  However, compared to other browsers, these technologies genuinely seem innovative, and are the reason I (and many others) have written so many IE-only web apps.  Microsoft didn’t wait on someone else (e.g. the W3C), they just said “devs could use this”, and wrote it.

(My IE-only days are not a confession I’m proud of these days, but it’s true, and those developer-persuasion props are well-deserved.)

Other non-standard features have since been adopted by other browsers, creating de facto standards.  A notable example is Microsoft’s XMLHTTPRequest object which is now so popular thanks to the AJAX fad). 

Fan clubs aside, I love this phenomenon — a great tool is now widely available.  Since I can now count on it, I have more reason to write cross-browser apps. 

So hear this Apple, Konqueror, Mozilla and Opera: please forget your egos, and swipe more dev technology ideas from Microsoft.  Really.

Do it for the children?

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