So, Dean, the guy who runs the Internet Explorer team, invited me out to lunch today. It's not every day that you get invited out to lunch by the guy who runs the team that makes software that hundreds of millions of people use.
What did I learn?
First. There +IS+ an Internet Explorer team.
Second. They are working feverishly on fixing security, including the latest issue where a URL can spoof another site. Many team members were called off of their Christmas vacations to work on this issue. It's proving to be difficult, more on that in a second.
Third. The team's top priority is fixing security. Windows XP Service Pack 2 will deliver a ton of protection against spyware and other things.
Fourth. The team is looking to work with community members to improve Internet Explorer. That means blogs. That means taking harsh feedback. That means having a dialog about the future that's frank and as open as possible.
Fifth. I asked about features, but was asked to not blog about that part of the meeting. They are interested in hearing about what's important to do, though, and they read this, and other, blogs and are seeing all the feedback you give them.
Now, about the darn security fixes. These are tough. Tougher than it might seem on the outside. Why? Because Internet Explorer's engine is used in several different OS's. Dozens of different languages. Thousands of different applications. Changing one line of code in the inards of Windows means potentially breaking a large number of applications. That's unacceptable to the team. So, when they change things, they need to do it in a way that doesn't break things for customers.
I'm going to work with Dean to give everyone a more intimate look inside the IE team, but that'll take more time than just meeting for lunch and writing up a blog entry.
So, the door is open. What do you want from the Internet Explorer team? Keep in mind, when having a conversation with you, I'll be asking you to think like a Microsoft executive. Why? Because that'll get you to see some of the realities of deciding on feature sets for future versions. Dean's team really has a tough job, and I didn't appreciate it until he ran me through some of the implications of changing one minor little feature.
Thanks Dean for an interesting lunch. I hope to have many conversations with you and your team, both here on the blog, and in person in the future. [The Scobleizer]