During MIX 07, Internet Explorer platform architect Chris Wilson asked a developer why he would want data URL support in Internet Explorer. The answer given was “bullets and backgrounds.” And if Microsoft doesn’t change the way IE8 handles data URLs, that’s all data URLs will be good for!
Microsoft has chosen to make data URLs unnavigable and (from what I can tell) restricted to non-HTML data only, destroying the versatility of this technology. I can’t, for example, use a data URI to construct a complex web page on the fly (mostly because IE8 also imposes a 2 kilobyte URL limit). Likewise, I can’t paste the data URI of an image into the address bar and display it. The only reason given for these draconian restrictions is some illusive security threat that no other browser vendor can see.
The truly infuriating thing, though, is the size restriction placed on data URLs: the maximum is 32 kilobytes. Take this test case I wrote, for example:Both the image and background render perfectly in browsers that aren’t Internet Explorer, but only the smaller background image will render in IE8. This excruciatingly low limit serves no purpose other than to prevent the embedding of images larger than 32 kilobytes, and create a disconnect between data URI-capable browsers. I hope Microsoft will rethink its implementation of data URIs before IE8 goes gold, because this is just ridiculous.
Labels: Web Development