IE 7 Beta 2 Should Give More CSS 2 Support, Insiders Say

A Microsoft programmer promises more support for CSS 2; one blogger says Microsoft will have to change its model to succeed. (

Web designers greeted the release of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 1 with heated criticism when they learned it would not include full support for the CSS 2 standard.

Since the Beta 1 release, however, the program manager for Internet Explorer, Chris Wilson, has made the unprecedented move of promising at least partial Cascading Style Sheet 2 support in the Beta 2 version.

Still, other sources say Microsoft will not move toward the pending CSS 2.1 or CSS 3 standards.

"Beta 1 of IE 7.0 was released to bloodshed," said Molly Holzschlag, a Web designer and author as well as maintainer of a Weblog at

A former contractor at Microsoft, her public support of the companys efforts has drawn fire from other blogging Web designers.

Holzschlag is also a member of the Web Standards Project, which has also made public its support for the development of IE 7.0.

"Beta 1 has very little in the way of improving standards support," Holzschlag said; she reiterated Wilsons statement that Microsoft had focused on security features for that build.

Holzschlag said that standards support was a target for the second beta of IE 7.0. Wilson also said that "this will be better in Beta 2" on his blog.

Holzschlag said she was surprised to see this information made public, as the week prior to Wilsons posting, she had been told that this part of the IE 7.0 roadmap was confidential.

"There are two major things that Microsoft needs to do with IE that ares not in any build," Holzschlag said.

First, she said, that it needs to repair "a lot of things that have partial or poor implementation."

Second, she said, Microsoft needs to implement some standard CSS 2.0 features such as CSS selectors, fixed positions and other items.

Dori Smith, an author and speaker on Web programming and also a member of the Web Standards Project, said the importance of CSS compliance "goes back to what the WSP was saying seven years ago."

She said that Web-standard features offer "so much potential, but you cant take advantage of them unless everyone [developers of Web browsers] are on board."

"IE for Windows is the 800-pound gorilla," Smith said, referring to the importance of being able to present coherent Web pages to people browsing on Windows-based PCs and using Internet Explorer, which is built in.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about reaction to Microsofts CSS plans for IE.

Due to current versions of Internet Explorer not fully supporting standards including CSS 2, Web developers often have to rely on hacks to make pages appear correctly in that browser; these hacks often break compatibility with more standards-friendly browsers.

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