Developer news roundup: Microsoft's HTML5 strategy with Internet Explorer

Justin James highlights the latest developer news, which includes stories about PHP 5.3.8, OAuth API, application connectivity challenges, and more.

Internet Explorer (rightfully) has a bad reputation when it comes to Web standards. And while Microsoft has promised more standards compliance, and IE7, IE8, and IE9 all made improvements in that direction, many people have been disappointed with IE9's lack of HTML5 support compared to contemporary browsers.

The latest issue of MSDN Magazine has a good article about Microsoft's HTML5 roadmap. In the article, Brandon Satrom explains Microsoft is only supporting the parts of HTML5 that are locked down and unchanging. That makes sense. But because Internet Explorer gets released on a once a year basis now compared to six weeks for Firefox or Chrome, Microsoft's "wait and see" approach puts it on the tail end of HTML5 adoption.

HTML5 uptake is a chicken/egg situation. If Microsoft waits for W3C standards to settle and for developers to start using it before they build it in, and developers are waiting for Internet Explorer support before they use it, it will be a long time before we see Internet Explorer supporting a lot of HTML5. I agree with Microsoft's position of not releasing support for features until the W3C specs for them are pretty locked down. I disagree with Microsoft's once-a-year release plan for Internet Explorer, even if that is a lot faster than in the past years and provides more stability than the breakneck paces of Chrome and Firefox.

What's needed is a mid-range position, in which Microsoft keeps the major Internet Explorer releases yearly, but pushes out HTML5-related updates every one to three months as the spec settles. This will go a long way to keeping Internet Explorer current with the HTML5 progress and speeding HTML5 adoption.

Language/library updates

Newest browsers break ASP.NET

The ASP.NET browser definitions never anticipated the pace of browser development. As a result, they don't properly identify the latest browser versions, and downgrade the code produced by ASP.NET pages. Scott Hanselman tells you what to do to fix this.

Avoid PHP 5.3.7, use PHP 5.3.8

First, PHP 5.3.7 was released. Then, it was announced that you should not upgrade to 5.3.7, and instead wait for 5.3.8 (which was subsequently released).

Silverlight 5 RC

The first release candidate of Silverlight 5 is now out. Of course, the question is "how relevant is Silverlight?"

Apigee makes OAuth easier for major services

Apigee created an easy-to-use API for performing OAuth authentication against a number of major Web services and applications. This is great news, because my experience with OAuth has been fairly unpleasant to the point where I try to shy away from services that use it.

PTVS brings improved Python support for Visual Studio

Microsoft released the open source Python Tools for Visual Studio set of tools. It supports more than just IronPython, and allows developers to debug and refactor Python code.

WebWorks 2.1 SDK released

RIM released an updated WebWorks SDK for its phones, the new version is 2.1.

Tools and products

eXo Cloud IDE

eXo released an IDE for developing applications for deployment to Platform-as-a-Service clouds. The new IDE is cloud based, and it can release to CloudBees, Heroku, Red Hat OpenShift, and Amazon Elastic Beanstalk.

Engine Yard adds PHP

Engine Yard, known for its Ruby on Rails cloud platform, has acquired Orchestra, giving them PHP capabilities as well.

SnapLogic connects with FinancialForce

SnapLogic has partnered with FinancialForce to make it easier for developers to link their applications with the FinancialForce tools.

Postgres Enterprise Manager

If you work with Postgres databases, the newly released Postgres Enterprise Manager has been released to help you develop against, manage, and tune your Postgres databases.

NuGet 1.5

NuGet 1.5 is now available, with a raft of new features, bug fixes, and upgrades.

Editorial and commentary

Application connectivity challenges

SnapLogic released a whitepaper showing the kinds of challenges that developers and IT organizations face with application connectivity for 2011. It's definitely an interesting read.

Tips and tricks

Debugging PHP in NetBeans

Ondrej Brejla has an article on the NetBeans site showing off the latest tools and techniques for debugging PHP in the NetBeans IDE.

Transforming XML config files for deployment

Scott Hanselman wrote an introduction to the SlowCheetah tool. It allows you to transform XML configuration files, which is great for ensuring that you can bring the latest version of a configuration from development to staging to production without trampling critical values.


CodeRage 6

Embarcadero's annual online conference is headed into its sixth year. CodeRage 6 will be held October 17 - 21.