Microsoft hints at general plan for IE 8

Internet Explorer 8, due within the next 18 months, will keep focus on security, ease of use and include Web development improvements.
Written by Martin LaMonica, Contributor
Microsoft will continue to prioritize security and ease of use in the forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 and will seek to improve Web development with current standards compatibility, according to the company.

At Microsoft's Mix '07 conference in Las Vegas this week, IE platform architect Chris Wilson recapped Microsoft's development priorities in the making of Internet Explorer (IE) 7 and outlined some of its goals for the next version of its browser.

Wilson said Microsoft intends to create a follow-on version, IE 8, within two years of IE 7's release, which came out in October.

The priorities Microsoft set for IE 7, Wilson said, are the same for IE 8: strong security, ease of use and Web development improvements.

"It's clear we have a lot to do with the Web developer platform," he said addressing an audience of mostly Web developers at Mix.

Specifically, he said Microsoft will invest more in layout and adhering to the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.1 specifications. He also said Microsoft wants to make its browser object model more interoperable "to make it easier to work with other browsers and allow more flexible programming patterns."

In addition, he said the Ajax Web programming style needs more client-side application programming interfaces to allow developers to create more powerful applications.

"There's work in the standardization bodies to do local storage and get better security models," Wilson said, adding that Microsoft is working with the W3C on standardizing HTML version 5 and XHTML version 1 and 1.1.

He said adherence to standards is increasingly important to Web site developers but Microsoft is in a "challenging" position as it introduces more standards compliance.

Because previous versions of Internet Explorer strayed from standards, new versions of Internet Explorer, such as IE 7, have caused some Web sites to not work for end users, he said.

"Web development compatibility is really crucial for building applications and...for us to deploy browsers (but) it has to be an evolutionary step," he said, noting that half a billion people use some version of Internet Explorer. "If we say, 'Here is your new browser--it's standards compatible,' we actually disrupt the existing ecosystem and it doesn't actually make it better for anyone."

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