This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5 - HTML with Style | 8 | WebReference

This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5 - HTML with Style | 8

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This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5

By the way, this is not a review of a Web browser

Some times I pity myself. All the other experts on WebReference.com have sexy topics like DHTML, XML and JavaScript, and I'm stuck with boring old HTML and CSS. In these days of buzzwords and hot new tech, it sometimes seems... well, irrelevant. Most people learn HTML from a 10-minute guide and then move on to the good stuff, safe in the knowledge that the BLOCKQUOTE "tag" is used to indent text. Sometimes I feel like a Mormon looking for converts in Berkeley's class of '69.

Then I fire up a browser and start browsing and realize that with only a tiny handful of exceptions, every page I visit is just a text document with a basic logical structure, a couple of links here and there and some careful stylistic touches to make it easy on the eyes. This makes me laugh. What I find so funny is that browser makers are so hell-bent on cornering the budding, tiny, complicated "Internet Application" market when they still haven't come close to getting this "hypertext document over the Internet" thing right.

I recently picked up the August 2000 issue of Wired magazine. While leafing through the two-page spreads in search of the articles I knew had to be in there somewhere, I ran across an ad for Macromedia. The ad went: "'How the (expletive deleted) did they (expletive deleted) do that?' Perhaps the highest praise in the Web industry." It then went on to explain how Macromedia can help you receive said praise.

At the time I was thankful for the fact that I was not drinking milk and my nostrils were unobstructed, because my head would have exploded. Methinks Macromedia needs a new publicist. Perhaps one that realizes that the only people who ever wonder about how the (expletive deleted) you did anything on your Web site are other Web developers, who comprise such a tiny percentage of your audience you could fit them into your server cabinet.

As far as the vast majority of your readers are concerned, the highest praise you could get is "that was the most (expletive deleted) informative thing I've read all day." Among the things you never, ever want to hear are "Why the (expletive deleted) is this taking so (expletive deleted) long to load?" and "This real-time interactive 3D animation with synchronized audio narration is trés cool, but all I wanted was the (expletive deleted) product specs."

I just don't understand why so many Web developers don't get the fact that if you took all the time, money and effort you put into designing a flashy multimedia presentation and use it to provide useful, concise information that is well organized and accessible - however primitive technology you use, you end up on top.

What does all this banter have to do with Internet Explorer 5.5, you ask? The first thing I checked out after I installed IE5.5/Win was this article on MSDN Web Workshop that provides an overview of the new features in version 5.5. Beyond the specific enhancements, I was looking for a hint about where Microsoft is taking Internet Explorer. So, what's the focal point of Internet Explorer development? Well, straight from the horse's mouth, Internet Explorer 5.5 makes great advancements for providing a platform for "application user interface" development. Which is a shame, because I thought it was a Web browser.

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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: August 03, 2000
Revised: August 8, 2000