Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh does not support HTML 4

Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh simply does not support all of HTML 4, no matter what Microsoft and its adherents say. (MacNN discussion.) Even my pal and staunch supporter Jeffrey Zeldman of the Web Standards Project is guilty of a significant inconsistency:

If I built a browser that supported <h1> and <p> and nothing else, would Iclaim to support HTML? Of course not. Why do browser makers think they canoffer bits and pieces of a complete standard, and call it “XML support”? They need to be called on this behavior, and that’s what we’re here for.

Except that IE5 leaves out significant features in HTML 4 (and earlier incarnations), including LONGDESC (see Break This Page! for example uses, or this page, or jobsite-usability page), SUMMARY in TABLE, and CITE in BLOCKQUOTE (used in the quotation above: Will your browser give you access to it?), to name several. There’s still no support for LINK metadata, which even ol’ Lynx supports. (iCab does a stunning job of supporting LINK metadata.) These sins are venial, not mortal, but let’s call a spade a spade. IE5 has partial support for HTML 4. By the Web Standards Project’s own norms, that fact should be cause for opprobrium, not praise.

Furthermore, now IE5 isn’t rendering tokens like en dash <–> (that’s &#8211;) and only occasionally renders graphics.

(See also: The Glorious People’s Myth of Standards Compliance.)

Posted on 2000-04-23