Layout Complete Announced at MIX06

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Layout Complete Announced at MIX06

Thursday, March 23rd and I am sitting in the airport heading home from MIX06. It was a great conference with very good customer interactions. Also hanging out with Eric, Molly, Andy, Tantek and Dave was a lot of fun.

Yesterday, I had my talk, “Making your site look great in IE7”. Even though the title implied that the talk was only on IE7 the real focus was on making standard based designs great on IE7 and other browsers. To prove that I ran the audience to a CSSZenGarden inspired demo, and showed it on IE7, Firefox and Opera. I say CSSZenGarden-inspired, since the real goal of this demo was to push the envelope of standard based design using only the fixed HTML (the images you see on the page are actually background images to not change the semantics of the HTML) provided by CSSZenGarden and CSS (no script involved).  

Demo Page

In my demo, I highlighted three features:

Fixed positioning

The whole chrome in the window was fixed positioning. This gave me the advantage to build a frame like layout without the heavy lifting of frames. You also see the curtain like visual effects that you can easily achieve this way in addition to having a fixed place for the menus (the preview images of other CSSZenGarden designs).

Alpha transparent PNGs

The next feature I showed of was cool fading effects you can achieve through alpha transparent PNGs on scrolling the page. I expect that the visual richness on the web will drastically change once IE7 ships. I am really looking forward to see what the design community can pull off with this feature.

Transparency Demonstration 

:hover on all elements

Last but not least, I demoed the rich capabilities of :hover on all elements. Since you are not suppose to change the markup of a CSSZenGarden design, we used :hover on divs to enable a live preview of CSSZenGarden designs. I can imagine that with this feature you are able to build very rich dynamic effects completely without touching javascript.

Hover Demonstration

In addition to the ZenTek demo, I was also showing the audience how we prioritized our work for IE7, what benefits are in the product for web devs (fixes and features) and what the community can do to prepare for IE7 (common form of breaks we see and what tools we have made available to help in the updating process).

I was also happy to announce that we are now layout complete with the release of the MIX build – we don’t plan to add more layout features or drastically change layout behavior. This gives web developers a chance to test and prepare your pages for Vista Beta2 and the final release of IE7.  There are still bugs and missing features (display tables, generated content to name a few) we would have liked to do for IE7 but based on your requests to have some lead time to test your pages we need to lock it down now to be able to ship IE7. The good news is that we are in the progress of building up a public bug database where you can submit your issues, track their progress and see when we internally fix an issue – Al is going to post about this soon.  Your participation will help us greatly to improve IE and also help us to prioritize what bugs to fix for the next releases.

 - Markus Mielke

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