Podcast interview of the IE Team, Topics generated from Community

Covering the IE Release Party
I was just discussing how we had a great time at the Microsoft IE party. Martin McKeay (Industry Security Expert, he has a career blog, security podcast series and a blog on ComputerWorld) and I had the opportunity to interview the product team and community For me as a Web Strategist/Manager, understanding the tools that vehicles and tools that users will use to access your website is important.

Community Driven Research
In an effort to represent the community we polled questions from the community on my blog and Martin’s. We asked developers, IT managers, designers, security experts and the average web user to field questions for us to ask the team. Of course, we added in a few key questions we thought would add to the conversation.

Listen to the Podcast
Big big thanks to Martin for all his pro gear and cutting the file, he’s really become a podcasting guru as I’ve gotten to know him. His notes are available here.


Questions from the Community
We weren’t able to ask all of the questions, but here’s what came from the community. Listen to the Podcast to hear all the details from the IE team. Please note that questions may have been asked in a different order depending on who we had on the show.

“Ask them why I should give up FireFox.” (IT Consultant, Dennis McDonald)

“This is one of the most talked about and questioned aspects of the browser, how is Microsoft improving security for this release? What safeguards does IE7 have in place to prevent malicious RSS feed?” (Most asked this question such as CD-Man on Martin’s blog)

“The only thing that I would question is why do all the buttons consist of unlabeled icons (as of the beta…not sure about now). It makes for a frustrating experience as the icons aren’t intuitive. It looks like they were trying to save on localization costs. Also what’s up with “shortcut” instead of hyperlink? If its a shortcut, what’s the long cut?” (Software Engineer, San Jose)

“How does IE make Microsoft money, and if it doesn’t, why does Microsoft spend so much on it? Strategy. Why are they still in the browser biz?” (Martin)

“Will IE 7 be pushed to the enterprise?” There are numerous concerns from contacts about Microsoft forcing the browser as an auto install”. (Paraphrased, Enterprise IT Strategist, Neville Byford).

“There are some major applications that are not compatible, what are the plans to correct, apparently some Groove features do not work (A Microsoft product) as a concern”. (Paraphrased, Enterprise IT, Neville Byford)

“Can IE 6 and 7 co-exist for migration, having an ‘and’ option is better than an ‘one or the other’.” Good points from a Web Developer/Design test perspective.” (Web Developer, Brian Stephens)

“With all the features coming in this release of IE7, could this be a chief feedreader player?, or could offer a host of features that could replace such social tools like delicious?” (Jeremiah)

“When is the timeline for IE8 to come out? Is Microsoft going to wait for another browser to push them again?” (Martin and Jeremiah)

“What were the lessons learned in IE7?” (Martin)

“Now with the major release, what will you do next?” (Martin)

“Ask them how they’re dealing with backward CSS compatability. For example, what about sites that use IE-only CSS hacks (universal selector, etc.) to work around bugs that are fixed in IE7, causing the hacks to mess up the layout.” (Web Designer, Meredith Dodge)

“The refresh button put back on the left side of URL bar. I’ve used IE7 for some time now and am amazed at how many sites aren’t compliant with it at this late date – what is the plan to help accelerate that process?” (Mobile Technology Thought Leader, David Dalka)

Show Notes
Thanks to all the great submissions above, we were able to record the podcast, I’ve jotted down some quick show notes. We structured the questeions determined by role. This felt very natural way to engage, bottom driven questions by the community made a lot of sense.

  • Welcome by Martin and Jeremiah
  • Gary Schare Director of Product Management
    • The browser is the most common used application, this is where the modern individual lives, Microsoft cares about this experience.
    • Will it be an application?
      • The experience is likely the webpage that they’re on, the browser helps the experience
    • Projections on IE8?
      • Too early to tell what to call it, but looking at product features now. Recognize need to analyze security,
  • Chris Wilson, Platform Architect (going forward)
    • Will call temporarily call it IE Next until a formal name is applied.
    • Security Features in IE vs Vista
    • Some features will be available in both.
    • RSS Feeds Security could be an issue
      • Sanitize the RSS feed before it hits the browser
    • What will he be focusing on in future?
      • Will be working on next version, already starting to focus.
    • What’s coming in IE next?
      • No comments yet, however openness will be important. Working with web developer
  • Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of the IE 7 team
    • The partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft
    • Why should I switch from Firefox
      • Browsers are a personal choice, choice is important, many options for windows.
    • Questions about the IE7 Push
      • Will be available as a high security update, it’s an optional update, although the version is pre-downloaded. There is a blocker available for automatic updates.
    • Side by Side running of IE7 and IE6
      • You can run both together by using virtualization software.
    • How is IE7 working with CSS standards and compliances?
      • The most standards compliant version ever produced. See the IE7 blog to learn more.
      • Check out the web developer tool bar and online resources on the wiki on Channel 9.
    • Questions about Groove and ability to run on IE7
      • Some earlier beta versions issues, however it’s going to be resolved.
    • Questions about iconology.
      • Buttons were configured due to research
    • IE7 toolbar, compliancy issues
      • 5 betas were released over the past months, Dave personally did many Technorati searches to find compatibility issue sites. They issued a toolkit. Looked at financial services websites to do research. Community needs to help identify and educate websites to evolve to latest standards
  • Gerald Si, Chief of Staff for Chief Product Officer (Yahoo Liason)
    • Helped the IE team with the partnership.
    • The standard customization package provides two install versions around IE7 some focused on Yahoo as the homepage and a second portal select.
    • Opportunities for Yahoo, and strengths in the partnership
    • Strong partnership between Yahoo and IE for about 18 months. Many Yahoo sites are compliant with IE7.
  • John Obeto II, event guest,
    • Security and Interface is improved. It’s available at no cost. One word of caution to deselect the auto download. Favorite feature is the tabs and quicktabs. Recommend to upgrade
  • Niall Kennedy, Web Guru (Former Technorati and Microsoft Employee)
    • Upgrade Release cycle matches given consumer base
    • Niall likes the open search integration built into the chrome, search is second most thing used after email.
      • RSS chicklet will light up, folks will understand how to subscribe.
    • How does this affect your life?
    • Uses a Mac, but sees the impact for a dominant IE world.
    • Firefox 2.0 is coming next week
    • They happen to be ready, and will be adding ‘places’ in Firefox 3, and looking at Javascript upgrades. Built in spell check and tab bootup features.
  • http://www.ddmcd.com Dennis D. McDonald

    Jeremiah, when I click on the link to this posting from the link that shows up in my own Technorati list of links to my own site, the Technorati link takes me to a blank page on your site, not to this post. Odd.
    - Dennis

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Hmm, I changed the title of the post, I wonder if that has something to do with it.

  • http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue David Dalka

    Hmm, looks like fun, I didn’t get an invite!

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Heh, would you have flown in from Chicago?

  • irate engineer

    Ok I finally got the audio to work. It doesn’t play at first in IE6′s media center thing; I have to skip forward a little bit and click play/pause a few times and then it starts (maybe this is fixed in IE7, hah). You guys did a good job, you kept the questions rolling and the interviewees sounded pretty excited to talk with you guys. I was waiting for you to drop a question like “I am a forum wH0r3 with elite adobe skillz. How will IE7 enhance the experience of pwning noobs with scandelous photochops?” Then you’d get an answer about tabbed browsing and RSS feeds like a broken record. Ok M$, we get it, you figured out how to hack some firefox features, gj! try innovating some of your own. “Good day for the web” puke! Like they’re doing us all a favor, wow they’re so noble!

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    irate engineer

    dude, funny stuff. stop hating though ;)

    so what feature would you reccomend they add that would put them over the top in a feature comparsion with FF?

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  • irate engineer

    “so what feature would you reccomend they add that would put them over the top in a feature comparsion with FF?”

    I’ve never been a fan of tabbed browsing. I’m a multi-window guy. I have dozens of windows up all the time, and I like to see at least a part of all of them at the same time. It would be nice to be able to manage all browser windows at once. How about new functions to minimize all browsers, close all browsers, etc. And while you’re at it add Opera’s session management feature (allows setting of multiple home pages in multiple windows/tabs).

    The only other features I think IE needs aren’t “over the top” features, just stuff it needs to be less annoying:

    1) get rid of modal dialogs, i.e. app-created popup windows that unnecessarily take all focus. E.g. the Organize Favorites window…what if I want to cut and paste something from the current page to use in my bookmark name? Too bad says Bill, go grab the string from anywhere but the current window.
    2) seriously, it aint “shortcut”, its “hyperlink”
    3) If the browser supports a technology, it should be referred to in its actual name. No mention of javascript anywhere, wtf is active scripting?

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Some of these multi window features are available in Mac OS systems. Nothing is preventing you from opening different instances of a browser.

    I suspect the majority of IE users can relate to “shortcut” over “hyperlink” (Still to this day, yes)

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