The Truth Behind Giving IE7 Standards Compliance Updates

I just realized a funny irony about Microsoft competing with Google. See, Google has some really advanced JavaScript when it comes to its Adsense scripts (look to the left of or below this article). If you’ve never thought about this process, here’s your chance. The JavaScript that makes these ad unit boxes must:

  • Scan the page and send the contents to Google for analysis, get the response, and serve an ad accordingly (AJAX)
  • Build an entire block of HTML from scratch (DOM manipulation – very annoying)
  • Fire after the page loads, to ensure all of the content is in place (event handling)
  • Override any CSS or other page altering scripts to ensure people can’t be tricked into clicking (CSS hacking!)
  • Look and function exactly the same in all browsers

Well, the stuff I listed up there involves some of the most annoying aspects of programming in JavaScript (believe me). AJAX, Event handling, DOM manipulation, and CSS pretty much sum up the four pillars of “the most inconsistent things in JavaScript.” Thanks to IE, these tasks are a pain in the ass, when they really shouldn’t be.

Microsoft has to ensure their ads appear in all browsers, especially Firefox (#2 browser). You can’t sell your services to advertisers if it’s known that your ads break, and possibly misfire, when the wrong browser hits it. That means they’re forced to use a standards compliant implementation to do their ads.

This, of course, means they’re taking their own medicine and finding out what a horrible pain it is to support Firefox 1.5, Firefox 2.0, IE5, IE6, IE7, Opera, Safari, etc. It’s mostly a pain because of IE and its inconsistent and buggy support for the established JavaScript and CSS standards.

Maybe this is why they appear to be supporting some standards in IE7. Or, maybe they’re just building in the ones they use. Either way, this explains a lot. 😛