MTS07 - IE7 and Web Tools

Pete LePage, Product Manager of WebTools in IE. His job is to make sure the web developers have a good tool to use.

He’s got three slides, then the “Beat Up Pete” session where we get to ask questions. First one up I hope - When do IE drop it’s own engine and start implementing on top of Gecko?

They’ve got 500 million IE users worldwide and they’re worried about changes affecting them. ie.Next is the tool - IE8 or whatever comes next. They are starting to plan it now.


Things people want to see in the next IE:

  • improved support for media formats (vorbis, etc.)
  • Cavnas object
  • Extensions that are easier to work with (think XPI)
  • Inline search/search-as-you-type

Got the answer I expected on removing Trident from IE. “If you replace rendering, what about javascript; then javascript, what next?” It’s too coupled with the Windows experience to start pulling it out. I understand it from a company control standpoint, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily one I agree with.

Update: One point I didn’t make which actually didn’t occur to me until after I started thinking on the “why” of dropping Gecko in the back-end. The whole hindsight’s 20/20, etc. Anyhow, the point is that the actual rendering is the one thing we can’t programmatically handle. Javascript we can and have overcome, but CSS can’t be handled without ugly hacks that might or might not work in ie.Next.

Gecko might not be the answer, but having a third-party rendering engine that can be used by anyone without licensing/IP concerns would be extremely useful to developers.