After just recently writing a post on CSS3.info which praises the CSS Working Group for their interaction with and communication to the web development community, now I have to write one castigating Microsoft for doing the opposite.
As former Microsoft (and now Mozilla) employee Al Billings explains, the Internet Explorer team went some way to mending burnt bridges when they opened up their lines of communication and engaged the community during the development of IE7; most of that good work has been undone since then, however, as they’ve gone more or less silent about new developments on their blog since launch.
We have no idea what they are classing as important for their next release; no idea whether it’s worth investing our time in SVG, Microformats, or any other new standard. I understand if they don’t want to release details of any new browser functions they might be working on, but an occasional Alpha of the updated Trident engine would be more than welcome.
I don’t think it’s good enough that the maker of the browser with the largest market share should be keeping the people whose jobs depend on it in the dark. The conversation with the community should have continued after the launch of IE7, and should be ongoing. As Al Billings summed up:
Engagement is not something that you do for a year and then turn off for another year before repeating. It is a regular process of communication and openness.