Monday 31 January 2011

Gary DiPalma: Hard-Core Application Compatibility Elite helps out

I had the pleasure of spending some time with one of the application compatibility hard-core elite crew from Microsoft's SWAT team.

Meeting Gary is always interesting as he is at the "coal-face"  of many client engagements that are working to migrate to Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8.

From our discussion, Gary provided a number of helpful links to some Microsoft resources that might help with the Internet Explorer compatibility problem space.

Here they are;

Internet Explorer Compatibility Site
Portal site that contains various helpful links regarding Internet Explorer Compatibility

The IE Team’s blog
Contains engineering, troubleshooting and addition information on all things IE.

The Eric Lawrence’s IE Internals Blogs
Eric’s IE internals blog.

From Switch to Target by Eric Meyer
Version Targeting vs. DOCTYPE

Internet Explorer Community Portal

Internet Explorer Community Resources

I would highly recommend Eric Lawrence's blog - Look there  for hints on Internet Explorer 9.

Monday 24 January 2011

Microsoft TechReady 12 - Hope to see you there - Updated!

They say that as you get older the year goes faster, and that certainly seems to be true in my life! It only seems like yesterday that I was presenting at TechReady11 in Seattle and I’m delighted to say that I’ll be presenting again this year at TechReady12. Not only will I be presenting a break out session, I’ll also be hosting a lab session on Application and browser compatibility and AOK.

I feel truly honoured to be asked to present at TechReady for the third year running. It’s a very closed event with  Microsoft’s global internal technology community descending on Seattle to hear, see and learn about the latest developments within the Microsoft portfolio. It’s heavy duty technical so I need to be really on the ball, but a fantastic opportunity to catch up with contacts with whom I’ve been working throughout the year and get an insider’s view of what is coming down the track from Microsoft in the next twelve months. Each year I’m there I get to understand how AOK can fit into the Microsoft strategy and how we can develop the AOK family in order to continually address the needs of the enterprise.

If you’re reading this and happen to be going to TechReady12, let me do a quick plug for my own sessions. 

It would be great to see you there. 

Tuesday 15th Feb, 2011 @ 12.45-14.00
CL1314: It’s an application. But not as we know it!

Thursday 17th Feb, 2011 @12.45 -14.00
CLIIL305 Windows 7/IE8 Application Compatibility –Using ChangeBASE AOK to quickly resolve your customers applications compatibility problems.

I will post daily updates during the event, so watch this space.

Update: We have created a "landing" page at the ChangeBase website: We will keep this site updated with new information and the details of the forthcoming Application Compatibility Lounge.  Watch this space...

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Virtualizing IE6 breaks MS EULA, and other links

Carl is at it again... He collated a number of more amusing links and references this week, and so I thought that I would share them with you.
Operating System News
Microsoft Surface Operating System reaches version 2
A review of Microsoft’s place in various markets
Windows Embedded Automotive 7 (yes that really is an O/S for cars)
Intel’s advert using loads of Windows 7 apps/features

Office News
Free Gartner webinar tomorrow called “Windows 7 and Office 2010: What, Why, When and How?”

Browser News

Partner Technologies
Converter Tech have a new portal-based tool called Click2Fix. I am loving the name and the engine behind this cool solution.

Packaging News
New Sony install has funny error message
Microsoft Attack Surface Analyser examines changes made by installs and their security impact.

Cloud Computing
Scott Adams comments on cloud computing
Lifehacker’s “Top 10 Clever Uses for the Cloud”

Monday 17 January 2011

Internet Explorer: Real World Compatibility Examples

    I was asked last week for some real world examples of some application compatibility issues. Especially, an example of the kinds of compatibility issues that we might experience with Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 8 (IE8).
    Quite amusingly, while I was on the phone with the guy, I was trying to book some parking here in the UK. Specifically, using the NCP car park website, which I have included a screen-shot here;
    I immediately hit the following Microsoft Security error;
    This is quite a simple issue and relates to how a web page uses a mixture of secure objects (HTTPS) and most likely non-secure images (HTTP) or other content. Under Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) this is not an issue as IE6 does not check for secure and non-secure sources.
    And then we see the next issue, is that page does not complete correctly due to scripting errors as demonstrated here;
    And here:
    Luckily our automated application compatibility tool (AOK) can scan, crawl and then capture websites and then report on them for potential application compatibility issues. So, we loaded URL in question ( into an AOK database and ran our AOK Browse-It Internet Explorer compatibility Plugins against the captured results (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and XML tag entries) and then generated some results.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Microsoft Patch Tuesday Report January 2011 by ChangeBASE

Microsoft Patch Tuesday

11 January 2011.

By: Greg Lambert

Application Compatibility Update

With this Microsoft Patch Tuesday update, we see a very small set of updates in comparison to the massive updates from last year’s November and December updates. In total there are 2updates with the following rating; 1 Critical and 1 rated Important.

Given the nature of the changes and updates included in each of these patches, most systems will require a reboot to successfully implement any and all of the patches and updates released in this October Patch Tuesday release cycle.

Here is a sample of the results for one application and a summary of the Patch Tuesday results for one of our AOK Sample databases.

MS11-002: Vulnerability in Microsoft Foundation Classes Could Allow Remote Code Execution.

Testing Summary

MS11-001 Vulnerability in Windows Backup Manager Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2478935)

MS11-002 Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Data Access Components Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2451910)

Security Update Detailed Summary


Tuesday 11 January 2011

AOK and Centrix: Integrating into the Discovery Stream

As you all know, I work for ChangeBase which produces the IP driven application compatibility solution called AOK WorkBench. Apologies for the blatant self-promotion here.

One part of our strategy in expanding our technological capabilities includes building a strong partner channel. Well as part of that channel base strategy, we have now partnered with Centrix. 

Our good marketing people describe Centrix as;

 "a provider of solutions that optimise the way IT infrastructures deliver applications, services and content. Headquartered in Newbury, UK, Centrix Software solutions are designed for enterprise organisations operating large-scale application environments.

Centrix focuses on the inventory and application discovery process which nicely builds an application list, in preparations for some automated application compatibility assessment (hey, that's us).

Centrix has a free tool called WorkSpace Discover that is described "As a software package that can identify hardware and software assets deployed across your IT environment."

You can download a free copy here:

You can also read the absolutely riveting press release here:

You can find out more about Centrix here:


Thursday 6 January 2011

Industry Reading

A colleague of mine (Carl) regularly produces some links to some interesting reading on our industry and technology partners.

I thought that I would share some of these links with you...

Operating Systems News
Microsoft have announced a Windows 8 version for low powered devices.  Sneaky pic here
Google’s Chrome OS now has hardware and its cousin SplashtopOS is doing well
Windows 7 is still thought of as ‘Vista done Right’
Little Big Planet (a game) does a great impression of Windows XP

Microsoft Office News
The Office Genuine Advantage program has been abandoned

Internet Explorer
A zero day vulnerability affecting all versions of IE and a toolkit to try to mitigate it
Microsoft have released an HLML5 Firefox plugin for Windows7 to use its hardware acceleration.
IE9 beta has now had 20 million downloads

Packaging News
A new white paper from Flexera titled Microsoft App-V – What Software Developers Should Know
Penfrops may be a 15 year old problem but its biting .Net 4

And, for a little fun stuff, here is a link how to improve the performance of your application... Remember perception is reality. Follow the New Scientist article on  the psychology of progressbars  

Tuesday 4 January 2011

IE8: Compatibility Views: When and How??

I was asked over the Christmas break about how Internet Explorer 8 displays documents in it's different compatibility modes. As I began to answer the question, I realized that it was not so much a question of how IE displays documents but more of a question of when, or more accurately "under what conditions"

OK, before I go to far, I need to introduce the Internet Explorer compatibility mode. Compatibility mode was introduced with IE8 as a means of displaying websites in number of different ways, depending on the website compatibility requirements.

According to Microsoft, there are three modes which include;

  • Standards mode
  • Quirks Mode
  • Compatibility mode

However, on further research I found that there are actually six modes that IE8 can use to display web-pages;

1) Emulate IE8 mode tells Internet Explorer to use the directive to determine how to render content. Standards mode directives are displayed in Internet Explorer 8 standards mode and quirks mode directives are displayed in IE5 mode. Unlike IE8 mode, Emulate IE8 mode respects the directive.

2) Emulate IE7 mode tells Internet Explorer to use the directive to determine how to render content. Standards mode directives are displayed in Internet Explorer 7 standards mode and quirks mode directives are displayed in IE5 mode. Unlike IE7 mode, Emulate IE7 mode respects the directive. For many Web sites, this is the preferred compatibility mode.

3) IE5 mode renders content as if it were displayed by Internet Explorer 7's quirks mode, which is very similar to the way content was displayed in Internet Explorer 5.

4) IE7 mode renders content as if it were displayed by Internet Explorer 7's standards mode, whether or not the page contains a directive.

5) IE8 mode provides the highest support available for industry standards, including the W3C Cascading Style Sheets Level 2.1 Specification and the W3C Selectors API, and limited support for the W3C Cascading Style Sheets Level 3 Specification (Working Draft).

6) Edge mode tells Internet Explorer to display content in the highest mode available. With Internet Explorer 8, this is equivalent to IE8 mode. If a (hypothetical) future release of Internet Explorer supported a higher compatibility mode, pages set to edge mode would appear in the highest mode supported by that version. Those same pages would still appear in IE8 mode when viewed with Internet Explorer 8.

Whoa! This is just a little complex. And, it gets worse, there are a number of conditions which might override these modes including;
  • There is no X-UA-Compatible HTTP header set by the author.
  • There is no X-UA-Compatible meta tag set by the author.
  • Microsoft has not placed the domain name of the site on a blacklist.
  • An intranet admin has not placed the site on a blacklist.
  • The user has not pressed the Compatibility View button (or otherwise added the domain to a user-specific blacklist).
  • The site is not in the intranet zone.
  • The user has not chosen to display all sites as in IE7.
  • The page is not framed by a Compatibility Mode page.
  • The (IIS) site administrator has chosen to display all pages in a specific mode
So, not quite as simple as I would like. And, as you guessed it, the person didn't like the qualified response to the question, "So, how does IE display a web page?" with the response, "It depends, ...on quite a lot.."

And, here are some references that may help you with your journey in determining how your web pages may be displayed...

Activating Browser Modes with Doctype

Differences between IE8 Compatibility View and IE7