IE7 CSS and Fixes Detailed; No Acid2

While Microsoft admits few CSS bugs were fixed for Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1, which shipped to testers and MSDN subscribers last week, developers have shed some light on what to expect in Beta 2 and the final release. IE7 will not, however, pass the Acid2 CSS standards test published by the Web Standards Project.

In a posting to the IEBlog, IE7 lead Chris Wilson said that security will be the top priority of the new browser. Following that, the team will work to remove the "biggest causes of difficulty for Web developers."

"To that end, we’ve dug through a lot of sites detailing IE bugs that cause pain for web developers, like PositionIsEverything and Quirksmode, and categorized and investigated those issues," Wilson said.

"We've taken feedback from you directly (yes, we do read the responses to our blog posts) on what bugs affect you the most and what features you'd most like to see, and we've planned out what we can and can't do in IE7."

Among those fixes on the "can" list include CSS 2.1 selector support and fixed positioning, alpha channel support for PNG images, a fix for width:auto and 1 pixel border style, along with numerous others.

"I want to be clear that our intent is to build a platform that fully complies with the appropriate web standards, in particular CSS 2 ( 2.1, once it’s been Recommended)," Wilson added.

But IE7 will not pass the Acid2 test, Wilson admitted, despite the test quickly becoming a benchmark for a browser's standards compliance. Apple's Safari Web browser recently passed the test and Opera has been making progress with recent updates to version 8.

Firefox does not yet pass the test, but the Mozilla Foundation says its browser will in the near future.

"I'll go ahead and relieve the suspense by saying we will not pass this test when IE7 ships," Wilson wrote. "The original Acid Test tested only the CSS 1 box model, and actually became part of the W3C CSS1 Test Suite since it was a fairly narrow test – but the Acid 2 Test covers a wide set of functionality and standards, not just from CSS2.1 and HTML 4.01, selected by the authors as a "wish list" of features they'd like to have."

Still, Web Standards Project members seemed upbeat about Microsoft's progress and the group is working closely with Redmond on the next Internet Explorer release. "Three cheers for transparency! Three cheers for openness! Three cheers for standards in IE7!," wrote project member Chris Kaminski.

"We fully recognize that IE is behind the game today in CSS support," said Wilson.

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