[NPL] WSP Finds Problems With IE 5.0
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[NPL] WSP Finds Problems With IE 5.0

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Chris Carrico
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WSP RELEASES LIST OF INTERNET EXPLORER'S
TOP 10 PROBLEMS WITH KEY WEB STANDARD

Los Angeles, CA - November 4, 1998 - With the launch of The Web Standards
Project's "IE Top 10 CSS Problems" (http://www.webstandards.org/ie/), WSP
today revealed continuing flaws in Microsoft's support for the Cascading
Style Sheets standard, and challenged the company to improve its browser's
handling of the crucial standard.

Created in response to a challenge from Microsoft, the "IE Top 10 CSS
Problems" was developed by WSP's "CSS Samurai," an ad hoc committee of
Cascading Style Sheets experts. The list vividly demonstrates how far the
Redmond company must go if it intends to claim superior web standards
support in its upcoming release of the Internet Explorer 5.0 browser.

WSP's "CSS Samurai" group includes Invited Experts to the World Wide Web
Consortium and contributors to the CSS standard. This W3C-created standard
gives developers precise control over the appearance of Web pages. However,
the document at (http://www.webstandards.org/ie/) reveals that many
critical features of CSS-1 remain either incorrectly implemented;
implemented for only an undocumented selection of eligible HTML elements;
or entirely neglected in Microsoft's browser.

"While we commend Microsoft for leading the way in implementing Cascading
Style Sheets, first in Internet Explorer 3.0, unfortunately there've been
significant parts of the standard that have been neglected or incorrectly
implemented in their browser up to now," said George Olsen, WSP Project
Leader and Design Director/Web Architect at 2-Lane Media
(http://www.2lm.com) in Los Angeles.

"We realize the next version of Internet Explorer is still in beta and hope
that these problems will be fixed by the final release so that Explorer
will be 100 percent compliant with CSS-1 -- especially since Microsoft has
been spending development time adding non-standard extensions to CSS in
their beta releases so far," he said.

Last week, in response to a WSP lobbying campaign, Netscape said its
Navigator 5.0 will include software intended to make the browser 100
percent compliant with CSS-1 and will also support parts of the CSS-2
standard.

The current browser bugs and omissions in CSS-1 can render pages impossible
to read and make it nearly impossible for developers to use CSS-1 without
workarounds, said Todd Fahrner, leader of WSP's "CSS Samurai" committee and
Design Technologist for San Francisco-based Studio Verso
(http://www.verso.com).

"Now that Netscape shows every sign of achieving 100 percent CSS-1
conformance in its 5.0 browser, we challenge Microsoft to keep pace in both
its Windows and Macintosh offerings, to evacuate rendering issues once and
for all from the browser-war battlefield," Fahrner said.

Many of the specific problems that Internet Explorer needs to address
involve laying out elements of a Web page and handling styles correctly.

Areas that need to be addressed for Internet Explorer to fully support
CSS-1 include:

* Proper handling of CSS-1's Web page layout features, so that Web
developers no longer need to work around the problem by using HTML tables
or other inappropriate code for layout.

* Fixing problems that prevent CSS-1 typographic styles from working
properly within HTML tables -- a problem that's particularly frustrating to
Web developers because they've had to use HTML tables as a workaround to
the previously mentioned CSS-1 layout problems.

* Supporting the ability to switch stylesheets, which would redefine the
appearance of a Web page to fit the needs of particular users (for example,
those needing high-contrast colors to help them read) or the needs of
particular platforms (such as changing a page so that it works better on a
television- or PDA-based browser).

These examples are the first of a series of WSP standards-compliance
reviews to provide feedback on interim releases of major browsers. WSP is
also working with The Open Group http://www.opengroup.org, which is
developing a full test suite for CSS-1, expected to be completed in a few
months.

About The Web Standards Project:
WSP is an international coalition of Web developers and Web experts who are
urging browser makers to fully support Cascading Style Sheet Level 1
(CSS-1), the Document Object Model (DOM) and XML in their browsers. Its
effort to bring attention to the existing and potential problems involved
with browser incompatibility does not mean that WSP is opposed to
innovations by browser manufacturers. The coalition merely urges browser
manufacturers to use open standards for enhancements and support existing
ones before adding new features.

 
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