Bizarre. Microsoft has hamstrung web standards in Outlook 2007, which is due out soon. Instead of using Internet Explorer to render web content, the new version of Outlook will be using Word 2007 which supports a subset of the HTML and CSS standards. Better go get the Outlook 2007 HTML and CSS Validator and start checking any system that sends e-mail to see what you are in for.
What perplexes me is why doesn’t Microsoft use Internet Explorer for rendering in all their products? Why develop, maintain and support two renders?
I’m sure Microsoft will play the security card, but what that says to me is “We don’t trust the security features in Internet Explorer enough to use in Outlook.” Hmmm. Not the message I’d want to send.
Call me old fashioned, but this is contrary to some basic principles to good software design and product development.
For example – code reuse. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Especially when web content is embedded and/or accessible from practically every application today. The web is as much a part of a user’s platform as the operating system is. More-so as services continue to be the norm. There should be one render for all their applications.
And how about making easier for people to do their jobs. Not harder. You never want to increase the amount of time it takes for people to get the same results. Unfortunately this move makes anyone’s job who communicates information via e-mail using HTML much harder. At least twice the work. This is in addition to the amount of work to check all the legacy communication systems to make sure they’re not affected. Any that are will need to be retooled.
From my experience, you never want to take features away. Add functionality as you release not take it away.
Why should you care if Outlook 2007 guts the HTML and CSS standards how it sees fit? It’s only e-mail after all, right?
Right. E-mail – still the killer app of the Internet. The primary way for connecting to your internal and external clients. Not only does it affect the communication, marketing and sales folks, but it also impacts everyone else. Analytics, KPI events, pipeline updates, technical support communication and so on are pushed automatically to Inboxes. This is information that is used to run the business and touches everyone from the C-suite on down.
This means that any system that sends e-mails needs to be checked.