Microsoft has used the launch of its new HTML5 Lab website to provide what it calls "a stable foundation" for developers working with Internet Explorer 9. The company says that coders can use the site in as a foundation-level resource in the knowledge that their sites will continue to work with build updates.
Given this so-called "stability", Microsoft is also open about the fact that specifications presented here are unstable and will therefore be likely to change.
"Developer code and web pages based on these specifications will break and will have to be re-written. Use these prototypes only to experiment with new HTML5 features and not for production code," warns the site.
Using the HTML5 Labs site as a portal for Microsoft prototypes of early and unstable web standard specifications (from standards bodies such as the W3C and the IETF), the company hopes that the site is used to "share and have informed discussions with developer communities," resulting in (we hope) a better implementation experience for all users.
According to Microsoft's publicity statement on the launch of the site, "As the web is evolving faster than ever before the challenge of interoperability is growing with HTML5. A critical challenge for developers in this new environment is to ensure that developers are writing to stable specifications that will continue to work. Unlike some other browsers, Internet Explorer 9 takes a site-ready approach to HTML5, ensuring that developers can use the capabilities of HTML5 today without worrying about what is stable and unstable. This gives developers confidence that their sites will continue to work in the future."
The Microsoft Interoperability Strategy Team runs the site itself -- and its raison d'etre (if you will) is to guard against the possibility of specifications being implemented too early (as if often the case), so that developers are at risk of creating sites that appear inconsistently across browsers, requiring additional development cycles.
Microsoft meanwhile insists (somewhat unsurprisingly) that Internet Explorer 9 is eliminating gaps and offering the best browser to start with for writing standard-compliant code. To try and convince us that this is indeed the case, the company's Interoperability Bridges & Labs Centre will also publish prototype implementations for unstable specifications where significant change is expected.