What Would You Ask the IE9 Team if you had the Chance?

Since starting at Microsoft, I’ve been regularly approached by developers who want answers to the future of Internet Explorer and I totally get it. They’re genuinely interested in what they’ll need to think about when building future web applications and want a heads up. The Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 has done a lot to get us more info and that’s a great start.

The hard part for me is that I don’t work with the IE team. I’m part of a different team in a different organization and on top of that, I’m a remote employee. So getting opportunities to chat with the brains behind IE are hard to come by.

But I’m VERY interested in what’s happening with IE because as a web developer, I also want the heads up so I can plan accordingly. And as the client-web community PM at Microsoft, I want to do my best to help you guys get solid information that will make building web applications much easier.

So I’d like to ask you, the community, a direct question:

What Would You Ask the IE9 Team if you had the Chance?

I want to know what’s on your mind, whether it’s CSS transforms or HTML5 Geolocation support or offline storage (anything), so I can understand what’s important to the community and try to get that feedback back to the IE team.

Now, let me make something extremely clear.

I am making absolutely no guarantee that I will even be able to get time with the IE team or that I will be able to provide any type of feedback.

I’m very new to Microsoft and I’m still learning the ropes, but I’m willing to give it a try and help lend a voice to the developer community.

So please post your questions in the comment section of this post. Please keep it constructive. Any flame bait will get trashed immediately.

Rey Bango


    • I have been wondering this myself although I would be sad to see opera go.

    • Opera has just as many, if not more, proprietary extensions doesn’t implement the specifications completely. Wouldn’t be a real improvement, IMHO.

  1. “Any change that it will be possible to use Silverlight development experience for accessing the HTML 5 canvas?”

  2. what browser do you/they use for their daily internet browsing activities?
    what browser they use for development? (meaning the preferred browser in terms of its developer tools)

    oh, and the ever popular when will IE9 be released?

  3. Would you be willing to patch IE6 via a service pack to enable sites to opt in to use IE9’s trident to render pages.

    • If they used Webkit/V8 for the main engine they could spend most of their effort on making the browser backwards compatible for their enterprise customers (ie focus on their own particular expertise) and let the community deal with the big picture. They would keep their customers happy, make developers happy for once and probably radically cut their costs.

  4. i would like ie9 to have VS2010 like MEF plugin model, so we get more sorts of plugins from the community.
    bookmark sync (or mite be create some standard open api’s)
    download manager that can pause and resume (and if others want, must be allowed to install other download managers)
    installation of multiple versions of IE. especially for devs to test.

    and might have a licenese agreement where, MS has the right to upgrade the browser via windows update automatically once its too old like IE6.

  5. How about full support for html5 and css3
    and of course …. a javascript debugger like Firebug OMG that would be cool. OK I know that would be a plug in but Javascript and IE … it’s like Apple and Flash :-)

    • When you say full support, can you clarify that? None of the other browsers currently have full support for either spec so list out some of the things that you feel are really important compared to what others have implemented.

      • Rey, could you please ask the IE9 team if they’ll implement the File API, support for event.dataTransfer.setDragImage and if they have plans to allow desktop to browser drag and drop.

        Also, why not do a mash-up of what Kyle Simpson suggests and what Google did with their wonderful Chrome Frame plugin and make the IE6-IE8 renderers and JS-engines available as plugins for users of old corporate intranets?

    • Martin, download & install the IE9 platform preview and press F12. I think you’ll like what you see.


    That’s about it really.

  7. i would ask the IE9 team to deliver an automatic update that will kill IE6.. and happily also kill IE7.. oh and canvas is a must

  8. Will IE9 potentially have an Auto-Update feature totally independent of Windows Update, so that users can get IE9 updates more frequently? Or even if it is tied to Windows Update, should we expect to see updates with the frequency or regularity we see with other browsers such as Firefox and Opera, so we do not have wait 2+ years for a potential rendering engine or UI bug to be fixed in IE10?

  9. While the preview runs fine by itself, will the final release of IE9 allow me to keep IE8 on my machine? Running a VM just to test an older version of a browser is _not_ a solution, but unfortunately, IE has never had (if I remember right) an _offiically_ supported way to run N versions on one OS. This is a real pain in the rear for web developers.

    • Using IE9’s developer tools you can simulate the rendering engine of IE 5.5 – 9, so I doubt that it will be necessary to have both installed. Currently you can only simulate IE7 – 8 in IE8.

  10. There’s the obvious HTML5 hitlist, in no particular order:

    – Offline appcache
    – Canvas
    – Workers
    – Sockets
    – Web forms


    – JavaScript support – what level should we expect, i.e. .forEach going to make an appearance? (or is in that in IE8?)
    – HTMLElement objects – would be great to extend these, IE9 doesn’t currently expose these objects (or prev1 didn’t).

    I’d love to see a gauge of each of those and whether they’re on the radar and possibly how far away.

    I think equally as important is the release cycle schedule. They’ve done well to keep to their promise of two months in and we’ve got IE9prev2 – are the rest on track? Do they have an eye on IE10, 11, etc? Will we see yearly releases, etc? These are important factors that help us push the upgrade from “older browsers” to the newer, more secure browsers.

    I absolutely respect their efforts so far in IE9, and the SVG support is very exciting, particularly with libraries like Raphäel out there. You asked, so I’m asking ;-)

  11. There are two major areas of concern: IE6 and IE9.

    Malte’s suggestion of a IE9Frame for IE6 is a great idea. I’ll second that.

    What do you risk from open-sourcing the IE9 codebase?
    Can we see a roadmap of what you’re looking to implement and by when?
    Have you considered an version update mechanism similar to that of Chrome’s?

  12. Their opinion of Google’s NativeClient, if they would switch to it before improving ActiveX or Microsoft Xax


    NPAPI – new plugin API
    Canvas and WebGL support
    Whether they’ll be bundling Flash and Silverlight into IE9 like Chrome is doing
    Update system – automagic and invisible like Chrome’s or nagging, with restarts, etc..

  13. Why is it so wrong in adopting WebKit and be part of their team ?
    Most of us want bundling Silverlight with ie9, as Chrome will do with Flash, can you do this or will it open the doors to anti-competitive bullcrap that IE bundled with Windows got long ago?

  14. Will it be able to install next to IE8?

    Also can an update for IE6/7/8 be released allowing developers to add a meta tag that would force them to render with IE9 CSS/JS/etc support?

  15. If you have text on any type of image/video background, and want it to be readable, you NEED NEED NEED text-shadow.

    We’re not just talking subtitles to videos…

    This is completely vital for any type of HTML5 game / application where the interface is not constrained in colored boxes.

    Please support text-shadow!

  16. My only request / question would be that the IE team stays in close communication with the web developer community and since they only ship one version a year, that it’s solid and has been thoroughly tested by the webdev community before shipping.

    I think they are headed in the right direction, however I am not always so trusting.. just last week was an epic facepalm by the IE team.. not a good way to gain trust of the webdev community.


  17. From what I have heard second-hand is that there are different development teams inside Microsoft that develop different versions of IE for different platforms. For example, there’s one team that works on the browser on the Zune and another that works on IE9. There might be others, but I’m not sure.

    Further, it seems that each team is working on its own code version for IE. The Zune team deployed a version of IE6 based on a code base that was outdated by more than 5 years. Meanwhile, the other team is working on IE9.

    There seems to be very little communication between internal teams that are more or less working on the same project.

    I would like to ask, when will Microsoft settle on making one version of their browser for both desktop and mobile? The first example I can refer to is Safari. Safari on the desktop and on the iPhone are based on the same rendering and javascript engines. The UI layer is different, depending on the platform its deployed to, but the stuff underneath is unified.

    With the exception of Mozilla and Microsoft, all the popular browsers these days are using Webkit. Improvements from various venders are routinely pulled in. The rendering of pages is made mostly universal between Webkit-based browsers. Meanwhile, each vendor is iterating fiercely with javascript engines and css extensions. I love the gpu enhanced CSS animations in Safari, even though Chrome doesn’t support all of them.

    I doubt that Microsoft would ever adopt Webkit. I’m not even sure if its a good idea. But at least internally, it would be very, very useful if there was only one browser that Microsoft developed. Have the core team working on the DOM and javascript engines, then share that code between various sub projects like desktop IE and mobile IE.

    If this strategy was adopted, then I can easily imagine Microsoft releasing browsers for Android, iPhone, and Mac OS. If they are fast, render properly, and really compete against the other vendors then its only good for everyone.

  18. canvas,
    css3 gradients (and not these lousy filters that turn off font-smoothing),
    perhaps box-shadow (same way mozilla and webkit do),
    multiple backgrounds

  19. IE9 team: IE9 is looking to be a big step forward in standards support and compliance, and it now looks like the newest version of all major browsers will provide strong HTML5 support. Unfortunately, IE6, 7 and 8, which do not support HTML5, will likely remain in widespread use for years to come, and the widespread adoption of HTML5 will be complicated or possibly even postponed until these users of those older browsers can view HTML5 content properly.

    Once IE9 is completed, why not provide high-priority updates to older browsers that adds IE9’s rendering engine next to their standard engines, for use on pages with the HTML5 doctype? This would offer a painless transition for individuals afraid of or uninterested in major upgrades and for corporate environments with software reliant on these older rendering engines, and could push forward the viable adoption of HTML5 by years.

  20. Add IE9 engine to 6,7,8 and allow sites to choose, If can’t eliminate older version.

  21. I’d really like to see:
    – CSS 3 Transforms & Transitions.
    – An MEF style plugin framework.
    – Frequent Chrome-esque auto updating, or at least through Windows Update.
    – Updates would provide additional support for technologies like HTML5 & CSS3, if
    it’s there it works.

    My questions would be:
    – What are the IE team’s priorities?
    – Who are they targeting?
    – What restrictions are imposed on them from above?

  22. Website speed is very important. Would the team build in native JPEG2000 support in addition to the JPEG-XR support that’s been announced?

    Being able to offer a better looking site to IE9 users for the same page size, or a smaller page size for the same quality would benefit everyone far more than a few more percentage increases in JavaScript performance.

    • It seems that the CSS3 Media Queries might address along with the sub-pixel text positioning. Is that what you’re referring to?

  23. Personally, I’m less concerned with any single feature from the Webapps/HTML5 spec, or a CSS3 module being implemented. I think others have given lots of great suggestions (*cough* canvas *cough*) that the IE team will eventually (hopefully?) implement in the coming versions.

    What I would most like to see is a more open and ongoing bug tracking system, akin to what the Gecko and Webkit projects and Opera have. It seems to me that the IE team is only interested in feedback in very short periods of time, just before a release. For example, I found a bug in IE8’s querySelectorAll implementation a few months back and had a hell of a time trying to report it. I eventually gave up. Here’s some spammy forum that scraped the mailing list conversation: http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/microsoft-public-internetexplorer-general/471117-bug-ie8s-queryselectorall-implementation.html

    Furthermore, I’d like to see the IE team pay closer attention to the specs. For example, just yesterday (May 13th 2010), the IE Team blogged about their CSS3 Selector Module support–which is awesome–including the ::selection pseudo-selector. However, ::selection has been temporarily removed from the spec. They’re even showing a screenshot of text that is not in the current spec. (Navigate to http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-selectors/, section 7.3 and note that the section is intentionally blank.) It’d be nice to get things right the first time, or release experimental implementations with the -ms- prefix, rather than push out an implementation that very well might change.

    (now that feedback is back “on” for IE, i’ll try once more to report the QSA bug again, as the IE9 previews indeed fail my test page: http://miketaylr.com/test/ie8qsa.html)

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