Stuck Inside of IE with the Browser Blues Again

Microsoft is moving into Macromedia and Adobe territory with a set of new products aimed at web designers and illustrators. Preview versions of Microsoft’s Expression Interactive Designer (for web application development) and Expression Graphic Designer (for creating web graphics) are available for download.

According to Microsoft, as reported by Martin LaMonica of CNET News.com in Microsoft offers early peek at designer tools, the company wants to simplify the coordination between software developers who write code and the graphics art people who create the visual elements.

Designer is a visual tool for designing the look of an application — it generates code in the Microsoft-specific XAML markup language for the Windows Presentation Foundation (a.k.a. “Avalon”) subsystem in Vista. Many web developers are suspicious that XAML is another way of locking people into using Internet Explorer (IE). Here’s one succinct view, from Dave Shea of mezzoblue:

The past couple of years of IE security problems have raised a lot of awareness about browser lock-in, and the problems that tying your application into a specific browser/operating system can later cause. Like ActiveX, in-browser XAML/Avalon appears to be a method of continuing that trend.

Some question whether XAML is really appropriate for web applications when it is clearly a language that ties into WinFX and the presentation subsystem. Others question whether web development in XAML will really work with other browsers. I question Microsoft’s intentions on maintaining interoperability since it has clearly begun a pattern of control as far back as 2000 in regards to XML by seeking and receiving a patent on it’s XML. More recently Microsoft shrugged off the standard OpenDocument format to push its own “enhanced” XML format.

Designing for standards, rather than for IE, pays off in many ways — including adapting applications to other browsers. While XAML provides a rich experience if you’re on Windows and developing for Windows (you have everything you need to build a Windows app), XAML isn’t intended to replace HTML. While it’s a web language, it’s about platform. A developer has to decide whether an XAML application is appropriate, or whether Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) programming technologies are more appropriate. Microsoft’s new tools will most likely lock you into using XAML and IE.

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Stuck Inside of IE with the Browser Blues Again — 3 Comments

  1. good to know.
    i like watching what moves microsoft makes in the web arena so i know what to avoid with clients. Ive been sticking a finger to microsoft for so many years now it seems natural!….

  2. I typically use the free Firefox browser whenever I encounter a site that is designed for IE6. Of course this won’t work if the site requires you to turn on ActiveX controls (which are dangerous).

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