Mixed Impressions

Published 11 years, 11 months ago

Actually, I shamelessly used that title simply because it’s a little play on words.  By and large, my impressions of Mix 06 and what I’ve seen here are positive.  This isn’t my last word on everything going on here, but I wanted to share.  Enjoy!

  • You can drag-rearrange tabs in Firefox just by click-and-dragging the tabs.  Seriously, I had no idea.  Thanks to Dan Short for setting me straight on that score.

  • In his keynote, Bill Gates said “we need microformats”, which I didn’t even know was on his radar.  For more about that, head on over to microformats.org.

  • Microsoft is coming out with a new Windows-only Web design tool called Expression.  It’s pretty slick, with features like visually illustrating margins and padding in the design view and what seemed like smart management of styles.  Unfortunately, I had a little trouble following what it was doing, mostly because I saw it presented in a talk and didn’t have hands-on time.

    Basically, Expression seems to be FrontPage done right, with a relentless focus on standards-oriented design principles. It has its own rendering engine for the design view, and the whole thing was built from the ground up, which means it isn’t trapped by legacy rendering concerns, but it made several of us wonder why that isn’t what they use in IE7.

    I also had trouble mentally distinguishing it from other visual Web design environments like Dreamweaver, but that’s probably because I don’t use a visual design environment.  BBEdit 4-evah, baby!

    Speaking of which, there are no plans to port Expression to the Mac.  Whether that’s good or bad probably  depends on your worldview.  Look for public betas of Expression somewhere in the June 2006 time frame.

  • It was publicly stated that the current build of the IE7 beta available from Microsoft is rendering-behavior complete.  In other words, the only changes to IE7 from now until it goes final will be fixes to security holes, crash bugs, and browser chrome/UI stuff.  Whatever its CSS support does or doesn’t do, that’s how the final version is expected to behave.

    Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

I’ll take a few minutes on that last point.  A little while ago, I said that designers should remain calm and not hack their sites to fix them in the IE7 beta because it was a moving target.  That is no longer the case.  It’s now time to start testing sites in the IE7 beta and identifying any layout problems that may occur.  (And there will be problems.  No browser is perfect.)

I’ll be doing this as soon as I can, and I encourage everyone who can to do the same.  Here’s the other key point: IE7 is scheduled to go final in the second half of 2006 (I couldn’t get anything more specific), so we have a calm period of at least three months in which to find out how things stand before IE7 goes final.  This isn’t an accidental circumstance, either.  The IE team has deliberately done this in order to give Web developers time to figure out what’s coming and how to deal with it.

This is entirely in keeping with the new spirit of the IE team, which has impressed me again and again at this conference.  Once upon a time, upgrades to standards support were blocked by the cry “We have customers!”, which was maddening both because it impeded progress and because it was true, as I wrote back in 1998.  The usual counter-argument was that Web designers and developers are customers, too.  We just weren’t (often) treated that way.

Now we are considered customers of the IE team—not the only ones, but important ones.  Not every decision will go our way (even if we had a single “way”, which of course we don’t) but our needs and concerns will be considered.  As further proof besides the “grace period” built into the IE7 timeline, the IE team is creating tools and resources meant to make it easier to update sites for IE7.

I’ll have a good deal more to say about all this in the near future, but those are the big points in my head right now.  I expect to hear Dave‘s, Andy‘s, and Molly‘s takes on all this, and hopefully others will add their thoughts as well.


  1. Yup, it’s exactly a moment to start testing/fixing.
    Thanks for the appeal.

  2. Regarding BBEdit — I too was a die in the wool devotee for a decade (literally), but I gave it up for Textmate — have you tried it yet?

  3. The weird thing about “no plans to port Expression to the Mac” is that the original Expression was a Mac-only application which Microsoft bought out a couple of years ago. They made it available as a free, unsupported download for a while but once they got the first Windows version out, the Mac one vanished without a trace.

    I appreciate that the current release of Expression (which is more like a suite of apps and heavily geared towards MS-only technologies like XAML) has a lot more to it than the original, which was “merely” a powerful vector graphics application, but it’s a shame that they don’t offer the free Mac app any more. I still use it from time to time; it’s a great application.

  4. Why don’t you link to the fantastic photo of you:
    http://flickr.com/photos/andallthatmalarkey/115916287/

  5. Why? You just did.

    (I didn’t know it was up when I posted. I plan to link to it in a future post.)

  6. Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview

    Live from Mix06, Eric Meyer announces the arrival the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview: Eric has always been the voice of reason during the release cycle of IE7 and encouraged people not to panic about any changes until the…

  7. […] IE 7 is now rendering-behavior complete. Get up on it. XP Boots on Intel Macs fairly easily, […]

  8. […] « XForms : la recommandation IE7 D’après Eric Meyer, il est temps de commencer à tester nos site […]

  9. Expression as demonstrated in that session is only one of three products: the codenames are always clearer. The Expression Web Designer was called Quartz and it’s been written in WinFX to look remarkably like FrontPage (sorry, SharePoint Designer 2007) but I guess avoid the bad reputation. No-one outside MS has had hands on time wth it yet – it’s not even widely available inside Microsoft. They’ve been writing it in WinFX as WinFX has been being written – which must be an interesting coding experience. WinFX would be a complete rewrite to port to Mac, just as Adobe is finding it time-consuming to take the Cocoa-based Lightroom and redo it in WinFX. Sparkle is the SAML/WPF designer; you’re building for Windows in it so less need for a Mac version. Acrylic, the image editor/designer tool is the one that was bought in and the only one with a Mac heritage.

  10. I briefly tested IE7 in 2 of the sites I’ve built recently and they worked perfectly! One used a conditional comment which I had already set to IE7 or earlier, the other used Dean Edwards’ IE7 Script and a couple of * html hacks for IE6 and earlier only. So, in one site, the all the hacks are still applied because of the conditional comment. In the other, very few are still applied.

    My personal site still significantly degrades in IE7, so it seems display: table-*; still isn’t supported. It’s also good to see they fixed some of the CSS bugs I’d reported to them.

    It’s good to see they do support abbr, but there’s still quite a few disappointments with HTML, such as its limited of support for label and lack of support for q (same as IE6).

  11. So how do I install IE7?
    I can’t get it installed on my computer.

  12. In the old article that you link to, your name is linked to mailto:mailtoeric@…com was this an error? Good old legacy content.

  13. […] 230;poco a poco). Ya están apareciendo los primeros comentarios: Dave Shea Dan Cederholm […]

  14. […] soft’s MIX06 and the latest IE 7 “rendering complete” beta: Eric Meyer: Mixed Impressions Malarkey: MIX06: Viva Las […]

  15. Eric,
    Can you run IE7 Beta 2 side by side with IE6 now? I know you had said previously thst you couldn’t. I can’t afford to uninstall IE6 just to run IE7 as I need to support IE6 as well.

    Also, is there a PC Version of something similar to BBEdit you’d recommend? at work we’re trying to move away from FrontPage and the whole FPSE so we’re evaluating all kinds of applications. Are there any others you’d recommend?

  16. It was publicly stated that the current build of the IE7 beta available from Microsoft is rendering-behavior complete. In other words, the only changes to IE7 from now until it goes final will be fixes to security holes, crash bugs, and browser chrome/UI stuff. Whatever its CSS support does or doesn”t do, that”s how the final version is expected to behave.

    That’s not correct. Refering to a CSS requst, Al Billings wrote on http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/03/20/555703.aspx:

    Bugs will be fixed. Beta 2 isn’t even out yet and we have a final release later.

    “Layout Complete” means we expect no more changes to the platform for layout except for bug fixes.

  17. I’m glad to hear about Microsoft’s interest in web standards and the updates to ie7. Its good to hear Expression’s just not vaporWare.

  18. As far as I can tell, things are muchly improved with IE7. However, while introducing IE7 is a motion in the right direction, it does not eradicate IE 6 from my browser checklist. What I fail to understand is why MS refuses to fix the problems that exist with IE6, because I think IE6 is going to be with us for quite some time in the future. The bottom line is, MS has just added yet another browser I have to deal with.

  19. […] !) Eric Meyer, one of the smartest people I have ever known, is at Mix 06 and has recorded some impressions, the most designer-relevant of which concern how much more CSS w […]

  20. […] some other recent public failings, should send Microsoft reeling in embarrassment. →IE 7 will see no further rendering improvements before ship.→Windows Vista w […]

  21. […] t…

    Mix 06 and IE7: Beta 2

    From an article written by Eric Meyer the new IE7 from Microsoft just had it’s next […]

  22. […]

    IE7’s Render Engine Reportedly Complete

    from Eric Meyer’s blog: It was publicly stated that the current build of the IE […]

  23. Actually, Beta 2 is now out, as of March 20th: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx

    That”s not correct. Refering to a CSS requst, Al Billings wrote on http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/03/20/555703.aspx:… Beta 2 isn”t even out yet … [/blockquote]

  24. “Look for public betas of Expression somewhere in the June 2006 time frame.”

    Actually, it appears that public betas of Expression Graphic Designer and Expression Interactive Designer are now available:

    http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/graphic_designer/gd_free_trial.aspx
    http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/interactive_designer/id_free_trial.aspx

    Unfortunately, there’s no public beta of the Expression Web Designer edition.

  25. Actually, Beta 2 is now out, as of March 20th: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx

    No, it isn’t. It’s the second Beta 2 Preview.

  26. > Daniel Lemire wrote in to say…
    > As far as I can tell, things are muchly improved with IE7. However,
    > while introducing IE7 is a motion in the right direction, it does not
    > eradicate IE 6 from my browser checklist. What I fail to understand is
    > why MS refuses to fix the problems that exist with IE6

    They have. It’s called IE7.

    Imagine having two versions of IE6 – how on earth would hack management work? Why do you think upgrading from IE6 to IE7 isn’t “fix[ing] the problems that exist with IE6”?

    > The bottom line is, MS has just added yet another browser I have to
    > deal with.

    So would you rather they just made everyone stick with IE6 for ever?

  27. > Basically, Expression seems to be FrontPage done right, with a
    > relentless focus on standards-oriented design principles.

    I’ve just checked out the three videos about Standards/CSS at
    http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/demos.mspx?v=expression_vision
    [click on the ‘web designer’ tab]

    It looks *incredibly* impressive to me. I hope they release a demo we Windows users can try soon.

  28. Jeff – You should try Notepad++, its a pretty nice code editor with multiple language support(.asp, .php, .html….), column collapsing and tabbed browsing. And its free. Bonus. go here

    PS, dont let the scary web page design fool you, its a nice text editor.

  29. I’m unable to watch the demo videos, both in the embedded players (tried Firefox and IE7) and WMPlayer 10 directly: http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/wd_standards.wvx
    It says “Windows Media Player cannot play the file. If the file is located on the Internet, connect to the Internet.”

    I”ve just checked out the three videos about Standards/CSS at
    http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/demos.mspx?v=expression_vision
    [click on the “web designer” tab]

    It looks *incredibly* impressive to me. I hope they release a demo we Windows users can try soon.

  30. […] no longer a moving target March 23rd, 2006 Posted by d@vid Mixed Impressions from Eric Meyer (via Jeffrey Zeldman Presents): A little whil […]

  31. […] ies of unexpected breaks Mix 06 in Las Vegas just finished. Zeldman turned it down but Eric Meyer attended and had some interesting impressions. How much more work wil […]

  32. You can have IE7 working at the same time as IE6 – just unpack the contents of the downloaded EXE to a directory with an unzipping program, and create a blank text file called “iexplore.exe.local” in that directory – you can then run IE7 from that directory without interfering with IE6 – at least in theory, I haven’t tried it yet.

  33. Speaking about Expression, didn’t Microsoft just announce that their new graphics tools were going to be available on the Mac? This might include Expression (again). I still have the last version of Expression built for the Mac, and it’s one of the best vector tools I’ve ever used. The only thing that it lacked was a really good intuitive GUI, but judging by the screenshots I’ve seen, Microsoft did little to improve that.

  34. Any word on the level of DOM standards support in IE7?

  35. Dear erik, just a quick question for u…and for all of Mac Webdesigner

    – There will be a Mac Version of Internet Explorer 7, is in the plan of the Microsoft’s big bosses?

    As u see a very little question ;-)

    Keep up the cool work man, u are che chosen one! ;-)

    Bye from Rome!

    Heloym

  36. DOM level support is still stuck in 1998 for IE7. In the meantime, all other browsers are fairly up to date.

  37. Yeah … DOM support didn’t change at all. They focused on CSS in the first place. On the JS side, XMLHttpRequest is the only new thing.

    There will be a Mac Version of Internet Explorer 7, is in the plan of the Microsoft”s big bosses?

    No. In fact, IE was renamed to Windows Internet Explorer.

  38. Is it really time to start testing/fixing for IE7? Even Windows Live Mail doesn’t like right on IE7 and that’s their own product… I’m confused. Or do I need to upgrade IE7?

  39. […] ay tables, generated content to name a few) we would have liked to do for IE7 but based on your requests to have some lead time to test your pages we need to lock it down n […]

  40. […] plorer 7 viene fuerte Al parecer la próxima versión de Internet Explorer tiene […]

  41. is it possible to have a filter for banners in IE7?

  42. […] own now to be able to ship IE7.” Now, here is where I get a bit confused. Eric Meyer postedthat: “It was publicly stated that the current build of the IE7 beta […]

  43. […] found some more interesting reviews from the community: Mike Chambers, Robert Reinhardt, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman, who chose not to attend but post […]

  44. […] s, only work for Windows (confirmed) and create pages that only work in Internet Explorer. Eric Meyer seems to think that it might actually have potential as Microsoft&#821 […]

  45. Holy crap — you can drag tabs in Firefox? How did I not see that?

  46. […] n Light Strong, Simple Silences Mix 06 took place last week, and Eric Meyer was there to record his thoughts. Among the new devel […]

  47. For those of you wondering how can you test both IE6 and IE7 in the same machine, this link is for you:

    http://mi6.ais.ucla.edu/devbriefs/running-multiple-browsers-on-a-single-workstation

  48. […] oration, which are all free throughout the Beta. Eric Meyer talked about another Microsoft project as well and was very impressed […]

  49. […] t Explorer for Windows. One of my main reasons for writing this post is the advent of the rendering-behavior complete version of the IE 7 beta. This means it is time to s […]

  50. […] view FAQ).

    Earlier this year, Eric Meyer commented about the web design software in his Mixed Impressions post about his experience at MixO6:

    Microsoft is coming out […]

  51. […] Microformats é uma palavra que está chegando agora no Brasil e ainda encontra resistência entre muitos desenvolvedores. As discussões sobre a real aplicação destas especificações começaram a acontecer recentemente por aqui.Microformats é uma especificação criada por Tantek Çelik, chefe de tecnologia do Technorati, membro do Web Standards Project e especialista da W3C Cascading Style Sheet. O mesmo cara que criou o infame Box Model Hack. O outro cara é o Eric Meyer, o famoso guru do CSS que dispensa maiores apresentações. São eles que começaram a falar sobre isso lá fora. […]

  52. […] Microsoft is accepting the first 5,000 applicants  for the Expression Web Designer April 2006 CTP closed testing.  If you’re having doubts about the app Eric Meyer has called it “FrontPage done right, with a relentless focus on standards-oriented design principles” after seeing a demo at Mix 06.  (To be fair to Eric, he is still a BBEdit guy.)  You can also check out the the March 2006 CTP at the Expression homepage.  Looks like Dreamweaver has some real competition. […]

  53. […] we in elk geval wel onze bestaande sites gaan testen. (De officiële versie van IE7 laat volgens Eric Meyer nog wel zo”n maand of drie op zich wachten.) Ik neem aan dat er voor sites die in quirksmode […]

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