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When IE gave us beautiful, fast touch interactions, and nobody cared (paulbakaus.com)
236 points by robin_reala on Mar 13, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 142 comments

I think the reason nobody seems to care about IE today isn't that it is a terrible browser, as in the past, but that it doesn't run on Mac OS or GNU/Linux. There are certainly people doing development on Windows, but more (at least of people who would use features like this) doing so on other platforms. Until IE is cross-platform, many developers will continue to ignore it because they have no reasonable way of using it and getting to know it.

I don't know about other people, but as an early web developer who worked in an all-Microsoft shop, learning about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish literally caused me nausea and I quit my job and became an open source developer very soon after and never looked back. There was something so entirely... wrong about that approach. And the browser that was involved with it. And the company that even conceived of it. I still harbor plenty of anti-MS anger as a result (well that, and having to do IE compatibility for many years!)

(I admit that also reading the books "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and "Hackers & Painters" influenced me a lot!)

>Literally caused me nausea

This is off topic but seriously? You actually felt like you were going to vomit due to a business tactic?

I am a really opinionated/principled developer who cares deeply about my work.

I quit my last job because I could tell my boss had perverse incentives that he wouldn't admit to. I knew the codebase needed a refactor desperately and he insisted I work on something else (because he was leaving and didn't want to rock the boat). I can't work under those conditions. Turns out I was right... After I left, he announced he was leaving... right after his RSU's vested.

I am a developer like you, but I feel that it is my moral responsibility to let an employer feel the pain of bad code.

When customers start to leave because they hate the way things work, that's when the business bow downs to a refactor.

Dude you know YOU will take the heat in that case. NOT your boss. This is why I had to quit. If I can't stand behind my damn work and you not get out of my damn way, I'm leaving.

And if you've never clashed with your boss over ideological or philosophical issues (either productively or destructively), then I dare say you may not care very much about your work. (Or maybe, not far enough along in a career to have enough to say about it yet. I've been doing this for 18 years. I think that if you get to the point I got, where you care more about your work than your next paycheck... that that is a good thing.)

There were actually MANY times when I clashed productively with this guy. I respected him and he respected me. In fact I know that in the final battle we were both simply acting rationally. The directions were just completely at odds. And that is why I harbor no grudge or ill will towards that guy. Hell I'd probably have a beer with him still. I bet you that guy still respects me. It was just time to go.

But if you are the developer it's your fault, not the boss fault. This is why many leave before it bites them.

I don't know about nausea but if that doesn't cause some kind of anger or disgust you've got problems.

I wouldn't say "problems"... just different motivations.

We can start an entire conversation about how some people care more about their careers than their paychecks and about how some people don't, and about how still OTHER people can't even afford to care more about their careers than their paychecks.

I don't judge. I just know how _I_ felt.

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

I don't mind people going faster or slower than me as long as they're in the right lane.

Work and life purpose, not far from marriage and family in the hierarchy of things, depending on your beliefs.

It doesn't seem too unbelievable. I often feel physical symptoms from emotions, and judging from idioms (butterflys in the stomach, etc) it's not unusual.

That a business tactic based not on making a better product but instead hurting the market would shock someone unused to such matters seems perfectly reasonable. To feel you were supporting that would just make it worse.

While the parent post was probably referring to this figuratively, when we think of something repulsive we actually activate the same part of the limbic system in brain that we use to feel repulsed when we smell something rotten. In a way, our frontal cortex is hijacking the legacy "run away from smelly stuff" system instead of recreating it from scratch. This also extends to other systems as well: when someone is "hungry for success" they are using the same part of the brain that makes you hungry for food.

I was going to revisit use of that word but going back... yeah, it was seriously at least a little like that. I started to dread going into work. I perhaps wasn't full-on going to retch, but it was definitely inducing.

It was also my first job out of college and I was wet behind the ears and perhaps not aware that the real world can be a cold and harsh place.

They didn't say it figuratively caused them nausea, so...

Didn't you know? In the 21st century, the word 'literally' means figuratively. If he meant to mean literally, he would have said... well, I honestly don't know how to indicate that something is to be interpreted literally rather than figuratively now. What a world.

If only there was someone to restore balance to the universe ...



Ideology's a hell of a drug.

Do you have stats to back up the premise that more developers (or those that would use features like this) are on non-Windows platforms? Windows still has roughly 90% of the total desktop + laptop market. I find it hard to believe it doesn't still have a majority of such developers.

GNU/Linux is ~2% of the market.


I have no doubt that developers are a much larger proportion of Linux users (approaching 100%) than they are of Windows users. I suspect that may also be true for OS X users. But there's simply a huge, huge number of Windows users and consequently, a huge, huge number of Windows-based developers. Not necessarily bound up in the Microsoft ecosystem (.NET and the like), but developing on Windows.

But HNers, who are bound up with a tight-knit community that consists mostly of open source software, Github etc., quite naturally assume that they are representative. (Sidenote: Git and Github also have minority version-control market share. I would not be surprised if the biggest version control out there was no version control at all.)

In reality, I would be shocked if Linux/OS X-primary developers constituted more than one-third of total developers. Unfortunately, accurate statistics are hard to come by.

Not scientific, but I don't think I've ever been to a "tech" event and seen more than 25% Windows machines (granted, I'm not a .NET developer). Windows has 90% of the market, but what percentage of the developer (especially web developer) market does it have? And within that market, what percentage of the Windows users are working on what amount of legacy apps or apps that can't use new browser features because they must support older versions of IE ( like "enterprise" stuff)? Those are the important numbers.

Try a games developer event instead, even some Macs will be running Windows.

But there again, games developers aren't going to care about an cool new IE feature either unless they're building games that run exclusively or primarily on IE, which I suspect is a very small market.

It's not that "nobody runs Windows", it's that "relatively few people who would find snazzy new IE features useful" run Windows.

I am not going to speculate on this because Windows developers are invisible to me, but I wlll say 90% market share probably does not map too well to the actual humans. Just think of the number of blue screens of death you see on public displays in all walks of life. Millions upon millions of Windows units are being sold not just for corporate workstations but for all manner of utility systems that don't even represent a single human. I can't really think of a better proxy though, given the weird parallel worlds that Windows and Open Source developers inhabit.

The subject article is about scrolling on mobile though. Almost nobody uses IE on mobile devices.

And that includes the author of the article. The blogpost does not render correctly on IE 11: part of the content is obscured by an overlay with links and social buttons.

The parent's comment is about developers and the platforms they work on (which is why the parent didn't refer to Android or iOS, but rather Win/Mac/Linux).

This is the point issue: "but that it doesn't run on Mac OS or GNU/Linux"

The parent is arguing that IE needs to be cross platform for Mac OS and GNU/Linux. I'm curious if there is data to support that as IE's biggest issue.

Total market share is not useful in this context, since contributions to innovation are not evenly distributed among the global set of computer systems.

The parent is talking about developers, and especially those that might use the features in question.

What I'm seeking to clarify from the parent, is the data to support the premise that Windows, despite having upwards of 90% of the market share of the environment being discussed, somehow has a small share of developers compared to eg GNU/Linux (which has 2% of said market share among users). I'm skeptical of that extreme ratio falling so much between usage share and developer share, that it supports the parents position that IE's big problem is that it needs to be cross-platform.

It would be very interesting to see the stats for OS taken from say github user agent here. I'm guessing OSX and Linux are somewhat better represented than in general. But then getting clear stats on development machine for smartphone apps in general seems pretty tough.

The parent comment made me curious about it. How far the numbers slide toward Mac / Linux when it comes to developers vs general usage (I think they obviously slide quite a bit, but how much). I can't seem to find very sound, up to date numbers on what platforms developers work on. I wouldn't be surprised if Mac and Linux each have four times the developer share that they do of general usage share on those same platforms (desktop / laptop).

I don't think 90% percent people are using IE

Nobody was implying it does. The parent referred to Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux and developers using those platforms, with the premise being that IE needs to be cross-platform because so many more developers are using non-Windows platforms.

Which was not at all what adventured was saying.

They were responding to glesica's assertion that the reason nobody cares about IE is that it isn't cross-platform. To counter this assertion, adventured said that 90% of the desktop/laptop market uses Windows, so it seems unreasonable that the majority of people would not have access to IE as a reason for not using it.

Adventured was not suggesting that 90% of people are using IE; they were suggesting the exact opposite and asking why that is, because glesica's reasoning seems intuitively flawed.

Very few people know this. People in my all Windows firm believe that OSX is everywhere because everyone in coffee shops is using it and same on TV, and I tell them its only them lol

I hope I don't put oil in the fire, but OS X is more close to any Linux ( since it's unix based ) than Windows is going to be, which makes a great difference for any developer.

I can benefit all available *nix tools in it's native state ( not run by cygwin ).

I doubt there is statistics for this, but in my mind OS X is the most popular OS that people are doing web-development on.

Although I like what Microsoft are doing lately with TypeScript and many more additions to open source community, it is really hard for me to imagine a switch.

> I can benefit all available nix tools in it's native state ( not run by cygwin )

Like you say, it's incredibly difficult to pull any solid numbers for this - Github isn't even close to representative, web server hosting is skewed by domain parking, pretty much any statistic you can come up with to support any side, at least that I can think of, is going to have major problems.

But Windows-based developers have an entirely different workflow that completely obviates the need for Linux tools. Sometimes the workflow is different enough so you genuinely don't need it - the average ASP.NET developer probably doesn't have any need for them. Sometimes the developer just doesn't know any better - and you see that kind on all systems. Sometimes they've developed a PowerShell proficiency or something that lets them use analogous tools in an analogous ways. But this just isn't an argument. It's effectively saying, "well, if you do web development like I do, you need *nix." Well, of course! :) For most of them, it would be equally unimaginable to switch. I think there's very few like me, who have actively done and enjoyed both professionally.

There are, of course, exceptions: I think we can all agree that almost all ASP.NET developers are on Windows and almost all Ruby developers are on OS X or maybe Linux. Most of the amateurs are certainly on Windows - I don't mean that in a disparaging way, I just mean the people just starting out and putting together very simple, possibly static webpages, or playing around with whatever their CMS has set up for them. Then you have all the enterprisey web development, likely mostly internal sites, with somewhat less of a skew, but still probably majority Windows. For the professional, public-facing sort of stuff, I expect its a lot closer to 50/50. Of course, just like you say, it's very hard to demonstrate anything and anecdote-by-anecdote and gut-feeling doesn't really say much.

I work and develop on Windows. Go, javascript / typescript and Scala, mostly. I can tell you: every development tool you can think of runs just fine on Windows. Natively:

* bash

* all the GNU tools (grep, less, ...)

* vim

* emacs

* npm

* all the npm tools (gulp, grunt, &c; everything installable through npm)

* gcc

* make

* IntelliJ

* ssh (command line or putty)

It's all here. Without cygwin. The only problem I ever have is performance of the FS on many small files. That's just terrible.

"Just fine" might be overstating it a little. For example, I've often hit path length limits with npm. But definitely better than most people seem to expect.

Having the tools is one thing, having an OS that you spend 60%+ of your waking hours on which is a pleasure to use and makes you happy is another.

I'd just run a *nix VM.

If your corporate policy even allowed that. :P

No nvm though, bizarrely.

>GNU/Linux is ~2% of the market.

but Android/Linux is ~50%, and Windows/IE on a phone is 2%.

I don't know where the confusion is coming from in this thread. I'm not sure if I should keep clarifying or not at this point.

The parent is talking about developers, and arguing that IE's biggest problem is that it's not cross-platform, and that it needs to be on Mac OS and GNU/Linux because far more developers use those now vs Windows.

My question is: is that true, that IE's biggest problem is the need to be on Mac OS and Linux (emphasis that we're not talking about iOS and Android); and is it true that far more developers (and particularly those relevant to this) are on non-Windows platforms now vs on Windows.

I think it's important to consider that desktops and laptops now make up a minority of personal computers on the internet. Including smartphones and tablets MS OS share is closer to 15%.

Which is why I specifically said desktop + laptop. The parent was clearly referring to developer work occurring on Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux.

I'm willing to wager the radical majority of developer work occurs not on a smartphone, but on a desktop or laptop. Whether we're talking coding, design or otherwise. Even the work for smartphone software occurs almost entirely off of a smartphone (with the phone mostly used for testing).

The reason nobody cares about IE today is that it has a far lower market share. On desktop far more people are using Chrome, and it's nowhere to be seen on mobile, given that it's tied to the Windows Phone platform, which is usually a rounding error in usage numbers.

I don't think Mac OS/Linux has a huge impact here. And as for the inability to test IE, try modern.ie - free Windows VMs with different IE versions. It's not that difficult.

> It's not that difficult.

I know that testing on IE is possible, but there's more to it than that. If I'm just going to test my stuff on IE every now and then to make sure it works, I'm not going to focus on, or experiment with cool new features the IE teams adds, because the only time I use the browser is when I boot up my IE testing VM.

If IE ran natively on Mac and/or Linux, for instance, I would spend a lot more time actually using it, not just clicking around my app to make sure it isn't broken before a release.

Depends where you get your stats. According to Net Market Share, IE is still the majority desktop browser, with just under 60% usage: http://www.netmarketshare.com/

> Depends where you get your stats

It's usually advisable for people get them from analytics tools on their own sites rather than looking at global stats. For example, IE stats from my Google Analytics account covering multiple different industries, company sizes, and types of sites and applications range from 6.78% to 13.19%, and I've seen similar numbers on every project I've worked on for at least 4 or 5 years.

This is called confirmation bias. There are plenty of markets where IE retains > 80%. Many of us have chosen to avoid those markets, but they're out there.

It's about 99% of "people who have no idea how to install a new browser", so that kind of skews those numbers.

It certainly skews the cause of those numbers, but not the end result, which is that a huge number of people still use IE.

> It's not that difficult.

It is bloody difficult.

Last time I tried using the VMs, the license expired after 3 months, and the VMs didn't work well under VirtualBox/Linux.

Touch support in particular is completely crappy. MSPointer events in IE10, with horrid corner case bugs. Changed to pointer events (no prefix) in IE11, with different bugs. Windows Phone 8.1 update to IE11 supports iOS style ontouchstart events.

Pinch zoom is different from page zoom, and pinch zoom doesn't act the same as iOS/android.

I hate Microsoft's bullshit touch support.

Oh, and about 0.1% (measured) of our users are using IE with touch... What a waste of my time.

And thank god for that. IE continues to remain the least security-conscious browser out there.

I'm almost certain that's the reason why Apple ported Safari to Windows. I doubt that they were actually trying to take market share from IE or Firefox, I think they just wanted to give Windows-based web developers an easy way to test their websites in WebKit. Now that Webkit is all but ubiquitous, Safari on Windows is no longer necessary.

Apple released Safari for Windows less than three weeks before the iPhone went on sale. As you may recall, the first iPhone didn't allow third party native apps and instead used web apps with shortcuts on the home screen. Safari for Windows was most probably mainly meant as a Webkit based browser for developers.

I don't think it was about web apps at all. Web apps where just an interim thing while they were working on getting the SDK ready. I think the reason for Safari on Windows was to make sure that normal websites work on the iPhone.

Safari still uses WebKit, but Chrome has been using a WebKit fork called Blink since version 28.

The person you are responding to doesn't say anything about Chrome. WebKit can be built on Windows and Linux and there are browsers that use WebKit that support Windows and Linux.

It might be relevant to the assertion that WebKit is ubiquitous though, since the most popular browser using WebKit on Windows is Chrome, if say Safari on Windows gets less support because "there are other WebKit browsers," that it's not even the same WebKit in Chrome, but actually a fork.

It's possible the person didn't say anything about Chrome, or since all of the direct responses reference Chrome, it's also possible the parent comment was edited.

Yeah, I know. "Ubiquitous" is a bit exaggerated. But now there's enough WebKit users out there that developers can't afford to ignore them; especially on mobile, so the strategic importance of Safari for Windows is diminished.

Chrome differs substantially from Safari in rendering though.

This is the same mistake everyοne makes.

Just because a browser uses Webkit doesn't mean it uses the same version.

I already had to track down CSS rendering issues across Webkit implementations.

Also the JavaScript engine is not the same. Once we had sequence of Ajax calls failing in Safari, but working properly in Chrome.

Worse yet, the latest versions of IE don't even work on all the "supported" versions of windows. Its no wonder that its lost a lot of market share. Microsoft has basically told its users "upgrade to the latest windows, or use another browser".

Its a really dumb move, because the percentage of people who upgrade windows to get a newer IE is probably close to 0%. Worse yet, it encourages people to use a competitors product, so when they do eventually upgrade its likely those users will install chrome/firefox/etc and continue to use it.

Majority of my family uses either Safari or IE. I would hazard this is not atypical. Any developer that is ignoring those is actually fairly anti-customer. Pretty much period.

Couching this in difficulties on the developers part is not a long term viable complaint.

You can design to work on IE without designing to optimize for IE. As long as IE remains a single-platform browser, its standards extensions will remain a mostly-ignored niche.

This is really what I was trying to get at. I used to work for a company that made a web app that needed to run on Windows and IE (it was very "enterprise").

The developers were virtually 100% Mac and Linux users. I don't think there was a single developer who actually used IE for anything other than testing features before code was merged. We definitely were not going to use IE-specific features, no matter how cool they were, because almost no one could actually run IE except in a crappy VM.

Just because they're your family, doesn't make them typical users. http://gs.statcounter.com/

Chrome is more widely used than IE.

Chrome may be more widely used, but you are still ignoring at least a fifth of the market.

Yeah and I have no moral responsibility to support them.

There might be more gold on the ocean floor than all the gold we have ever mined, but we will never get that gold because its too uneconomical for us to get.

Same goes here, the 5th of the market is a non-consumer market for us. Those days are gone where every computer with a browser was a potential consumer.

At this point we have to ask the question, if you are still using IE, what business assumptions can we make about you, and are you really worth the cost spent to go after you?

I never claimed this as a moral thing. Apologies if it felt that way.

Though, I will say you have not asked that last question. At least not in a meaningful. Otherwise, you would not be dominated by the larger fish in the ocean that do go after these customers.

> Couching this in difficulties on the developers part is not a long term viable complaint.

Maybe if IE was the only browser available on Windows, but it isn't.

"Developers, developers, developers, developers." - Steve Ballmer

Do you not care that much about your family? I've moved everyone I know and ever helped with the computers to Chrome. Why would you leave them on IE?!

I'd personally pick firefox, actually. Though, I have tried with them and they just don't care. More, I can't blame them. IE does the job well enough.

Also, I admit I do prefer a non-monoculture in the browser landscape.

I wonder whether anybody would install IE on Mac OS or GNU/Linux if it would be available. I do not think so.

Once upon a time, IE was the best browser available on Mac -- mostly due to being actually quite good. If that quality would return, I can see some people switching. Maybe not the "rockstar Ruby/Go developers", but a lot of the people who just need their $1k facebook machines.

As for Linux, well, I don't think you'll go far there with proprietary programs. But let's assume a .NET like open source initiative. I'd give IE the application a pretty small market share then, but see no problem at all with programs using the rendering engine, i.e. a common "libIE" dependency.

(And, of course, if it actually is the same engine as on Windows, testing alone would guarantee a lot of installations)

IE on Mac was a completely different beast to IE on Windows; it had separate rendering[1] and Javascript engines. There was an IE for Unix[2] which shared the Trident engine, but it never got significant traction.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasman_%28layout_engine%29 [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_for_UNIX

There was a brief moment in time where IE 5 for Mac had the best CSS support of any browser on any platform (IE on Windows was a completely different engine). However part of being on the bleeding edge was that when development stagnated it had the weirdest bugs that we had to deal with for years.

> Once upon a time, IE was the best browser available on Mac -- mostly due to being actually quite good.

Huh, really. When was this then? I remember from during my veteran days of the browser wars (2005-2008 or so), IE for Mac was the only browser that PPK (of the Quirksmode.org compatibility tables) actually outright dismissed and at some point stopped testing for. If I remember correctly, his words were "bug-ridden crash-prone piece of trash".

>mostly due to being actually quite good

While I wouldn't generally praise (any of) the browsers of that time, Macs really didn't have much competition at that time when it came to web browsers.

In the mid 90's, before Linux had gained any traction in corporate environments, IE was available for some flavours of Unix such as Solaris and HP-UX. In the Solaris shop I was working at the time, I remember we had a great laughs at the slogan they were using: "Bringing the internet to Unix". I don't believe it was particularly popular and it dissapeared quietly a few years later:


That is laughably ballsy. Bringing coal to Newcastle, as they used to say.

Hey Michelangelo, sign up for my art class and I'll show you how it's done.

I would. I installed IE7 thought wine. Partly because masochism, partly because if I could make my website look good in IE7 running through wine then it would look good on any browser.

I would, if only for testing. I regularly cycle browsers to gain familiarity with them.

I'm regularly using IE for testing with VirtualBox and images from Microsoft's official site [1]. Though I doubt there is a possibility to do the other way around with Safari on Windows.

[1] http://modern.ie/

i was using this to run application loader on windows...https://atlas.hashicorp.com/jhcook/boxes/osx-yosemite-10.10

MS provides a free IE Testing virtual machines that have all IE versions available. There are definitely ways for Linux/MacOS devs to test IE in their environment so that's not true all. Although, I've gotten so sick of IE quirks that at this point, I test against Firefox/Chrome and just assume that the newer IE's will work.

Until IE is cross-platform again.

It's worth pointing out that Microsoft primarily invented this for HTML5 Windows 8 apps (along with some interesting, if incredibly underbaked, JavaScript view libraries to go along with it). That is why the APIs here might seem like way-too-high-level abstractions - they were trying to encapsulate the UX features Windows 8 had, like scroll snapping within item grids.

It was nice, and necessary, to use there because it made it relatively easy to make HTML5 apps that looked and felt like a native counterpart on the same platform. I don't know if they would have fit in on the general web, but it was cool to see them take a crack at nicer touch scrolling in CSS.

That certainly explains why the standardization process went nowhere. Ie. It was a UI feature largely specific to a single platform's native UI paradigm, and at that a platform with a minor marketshare.

Regardless, this is a great example of how innovation should happen. That is browser vendors try out new things, and those experiments that succeed become standardized. In this case it sounds like this experiment is a step forward, but not quite reusable enough to support standardization across platforms.

OP here. I actually agree, and that seems to be Google#s stance right now, from what I've heard (I work for Google but wasn't involved in the technical work on this feature so far). We might need an API that is slightly more low level but achieves the same. My point was that we need this functionality, and no other API offers it, so I took anything I could get :)

I've worked with -ms-scroll-snap-points. It's very limited and an anti-pattern for separation of concerns. You're putting logic of how scrolling should behave in CSS. It's becoming very difficult to do more than just simple logic with this. I've tried updating -ms-scroll-snap-points property on the fly but it didn't work that well.

We need better scroll APIs for sure, but in DOM JavaScript API not in CSS

I'm curious on why logic of how scrolling should behave should not be in CSS. If the concerns are DOM = Data and CSS = presentation. JS would be Dynamic on either of those.

That is, if you can statically state your scroll points, it would seem that CSS would make sense for that.

> We need better scroll APIs for sure, but in DOM JavaScript API not in CSS

If it's in CSS, the browser can fundamentally optimize it better. DOM APIs have to run on the JS thread ("main thread") and contend with GC pauses, image decoding (in some browsers), layout (in all mainstream browsers), painting (in most browsers) and so forth. However, if it's in CSS, it can be proxied out to the compositor thread, which runs very little. This makes a huge difference in responsiveness.

It's nothing new. Scrolling behavior logic has been in CSS since forever with all of the different overflow properties.

Firefox is shipping the standardized features without prefixes: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=945584

It's kind of ironic that this article praises IE, yet the article itself doesn't display properly in IE. The main article content is covered by the current projects. Works fine in Chrome though.

Exactly my thoughts, so you don't have to look hard in order to understand why nobody cares. Not even the author really cares.

OP here. Thanks for the bug report! I'll fix. It's true, haven't used IE in the while, but that wasn't the point of the article. I care deeply about the web as a whole, and all of its evolution.

...aaand it's fixed. Was a stupid recent spelling mistake.

The phrase "once bitten, twice shy" comes to mind, except instead of "once", more like "a million bazillion times".

You mean like how entire industries were created after being bitten by IE's XMLHttpRequest?

No, that only happened once. He's talking about the "million bazillion times" they ignored standards in favor of proprietary APIs which resulted in much pain and suffering for both developers and consumers alike.


Which Microsoft, in classic Microsoft fashion, completely failed to recognize the significance of. XMLHttpRequest was used only by Outlook Web Access (the kludgey old MS Exchange webmail client), and never took off until Google saw the potential in it and used it in Google Maps.

Just as the article says, I'd never heard of this. Looking at the example, the CSS seems rather unwieldy:

  -ms-scroll-chaining: chained;
  -ms-overflow-style: none;
  -ms-content-zooming: zoom;
  -ms-scroll-rails: none;
  -ms-content-zoom-limit-min: 100%;
  -ms-content-zoom-limit-max: 500%;
  -ms-scroll-snap-type: proximity;
  -ms-scroll-snap-points-x: snapList(100%, 200%, 300%, 400%, 500%);
  -ms-overflow-style: none;
I don't really know if any of that stuff actually belongs in CSS as the majority of people see it (and `snapList` certainly doesn't feel like CSS to me).

This is hardly the worst of what some of the new "standard" CSS3 properties looks like. Those MS properties actually look sane in comparison to recent CSS3 properties.

For example…?

Ironically, that web page doesn't render properly in IE.

(The right side of the article text is overlaid by the "Current Projects" sidebar.)

Amusing. It does, however, kick over to a proper layout when the width is narrower. I had originally read this article on my Windows Phone and it rendered just fine. It also renders fine in desktop IE if you make the window narrow.

I use IE11 almost exclusively these days when I'm on Windows, and this part of why. But ironically, this article doesn't even work on it. (and zooming doesn't fix the issue)


Thanks for letting me know! Will fix.

I wish we had PointerEvents as well!

And NullPointerException while we're at it - if we're going to mix random stuff in CSS properties, why not go all the way ?

I know it's on the web, and has to work on tons of browsers, thousands of devices, but "15-20fps" have never been acceptable figure in console game development.

Hell even 30fps is not acceptable for some games (fighting, racing, first person shooters).

So having 60fps in the browser is incredible!

Part of the problem that IE has had for a long time, and that the CSS this article discusses is a continuation of, is that IE sits in its own world as far as CSS standards go. It sure sounds like the great tool for carousels that this article discusses is still IE-specific. That means you can't use it on any other browser, which effectively means it's DOA from the get go.

Yet both Apple and Google do this, frequently, and fewer people complain.

It might be annoying that this happens today but bear in mind that MS brought this onto itself by ignoring everyone but Windows users for year after year. Our way or the highway.

Now that they have finally repented they will still need to reap what they have sown. At least that seems to be a valid principle elsewhere. :-)

(Note that I say this as someone who is currently very close to be a fanboy of "new Microsoft")

the windows browser on MS Surface Pro is also good, fast responsive, and the only one with that quality of behavior on a touch device.

I wouldn't go quite that far, MS touch has been hell with some pseudo states as hovers often require holding a finger down as it treats a mouse hover and touch hover the same in IE10.

Its unexpected when Android and iOS both freeze on the hover state.

To be fair, IE gave us non-beautiful, non-fast interactions for .... how long?

It's as if reputation matters.

It's almost like the web was never designed as an application platform and it's performing like a document presentation system with applications shoehorned into it.

This is incredibly perceptive and true. It is odd to see how many people are trying to make the web do odd things like running applications in browsers. The constant testing that put people off writing cross-platform applications all those years ago is now multiplied significantly with all the testing they need to do on different browsers under different OSes, or even the same browsers but different versions on the same OSes. It's daft.

Don't just downvote because you like the web as an application platform. I am serious. The exact reason that these specific extensions being discussed are not standard now, along with dozens of others that would make application development much easier, is because providing an application platform is explicitly not the goal of HTML, CSS, or the web in general.

I do think that interactive documents are a very useful tool and that HTML and CSS get us there; but I totally agree that HTML and CSS do not make good applications. The web is for documents.

Now if only there were a way to make applications that were delivered in the same fashion as documents, but not constrained by the same poor decisions.

A pet peeve: The author sets his story "many years ago at Zynga." "Many years ago" speaks to me of long years past; like, decades—surely at least a decade. But Zynga was founded relatively recently, in 2007. Why do people in the tech industry tend to talk about what is really a few years ago as if it were ancient eons past? Is the author simply so young that < 8 years seems like "many years" to him?

This might have to do with the accelerating human perception of time. Can't 5 years really feel like eons? If the author were 25, that would be a significant chunk of life, and I'm hoping you're not intending to imply that all 25 year olds should be dismissed out of hand.

But it's interesting -- people who have worked in tech during M$FT's heyday probably do want to dismiss this argument without consideration. Is the real story here that peoples' unconscious attitudinal memory is long enough that some companies' prior actions can never be forgiven?

I'm probably older than the average age here, but 2007 certainly seems a long time ago to me. Especially in technology. No iPhones, no Android, no tablets (that anybody used, anyway), no always-on high-speed internet everywhere, no multi-core CPUs (ok, we had some two-cores), no Twitter (yes, it was going then, but who was using it?). No music streaming.

Seems like a simpler age.

Fwiw, there was definitely music streaming. Internet-streaming royalties were even a political issue as far back as the late '90s, when the DMCA contained a controversial internet-only royalty structure different from traditional radio. Post-dot-com-crash, there was then a renewed burst of launches and acquisitions in the mid-2000s. One of the bigger streaming services of the era was Last.fm, founded in 2002, and acquired by CBS for ~$300m in 2007.

> No music streaming.

Really? Shoutcast was created in 1998, Digitally Imported has been around since 1999. I wrote a hacky thing to stream di.fm to my Nokia 3650 over the air in 2004 (the downloadable real media app could stream mp3, but not handle shoutcast data, so I had to strip it out; plus the achievable bandwidth was less than the lowest bitrate stream, so I had to downsample).

It's just you. Most people would agree 6-7 years counts as "many" in this industry.

It's not just him. "Many" means "a large number" not "it feels like it has been awhile because of the pace of change." Zynga has not been around "many" years, by definition. Even worse, that project was actually completed some time in 2011. I think we can agree that 3-4 years is not "many".

But the worst part of that sentence is the change in tense. ;)

Given how fast things tend to move in the industry, and how a person can be doing very different things now than they were a few short years ago, I think one can forgive the author for perceiving the peak Zynga years as longer than it actually may be.

It's remarkable to look at where I was 8 years ago compared to now, regardless of age really.

OP here. It was 4-5 years ago and feels like an eternity. You're right though, "a few" would make more sense! Corrected :)

I hate you guys sometimes.

Please don't post comments like this, even when another comment is annoying.

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