Commentaries on MSIE and CSS/Standards Support

Tristan Nitot and Eric Meyer comment (Tristan : Eric) on the seeming resistance by Microsoft to move MSIE towards a greater degree of W3C Standards support.
As a hack and slash Web developer, the presence of standards is a necessity for me. I can read the W3C description of the <div> tag and it’s child attributes and be able to implement it on my site.
The interesting that is not mentioned in the this is that MSIE lacks support for a number of HTTP-level standards as well. I know that most designers only worry about the screen results, but us Web performance wanks have to worry about the performance repercussions of a new browser release.
The most stunning example of this is continued resistance in some camps to the use of compression, and the utter lack of support for HTTP pipelining in MSIE.
Resistance to compression is a result of broken compression algorithms in older versions of MSIE. If you are actually still using one of these browsers, or an OS that does not support a new version of MSIE, the Web is mostly broken for you anyway, so compression is just another headache.
HTTP Pipelining is supported in all of the browsers…except MSIE. HTTP Pipelining is the ability to request multiple objects simultaneously across the same TCP connection. As most Web objects are small, the immediate impact to Web performance is astounding.
MSIE 6 is a vast improvement over the previous generations that have come out of Redmond. However, it would be interesting to have Microsoft on the side of Web performance as a major provider of server and client software.
Now, if we could only get the Mozilla.org folks to “liberate” the Netscape Enterprise/SunONE Web server code and bring that dinosaur into the modern age, we would all be a happier lot.

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