I was having a pretty good Wednesday. The normal cooler winter weather had rolled into Charleston with a large high pressure system affecting much of the east coast, and I had just picked up a cup of coffee. It was then I received a chat from the fabulous Jackson Latka with simply a URL to SitePoint’s WebTech blog. Pretty good Wednesday no more.
SitePoint contributor Kevin Yank authored a post titled, “Microsoft Breaks HTML Email Rendering in Outlook 2007.” I didn’t even get past the opening paragraph before I started having heart palpitations. You may recall an article I penned last November on the topic of formatting XHTML emails for today’s myriad mail clients.
If support for web standards in browsers is improving slowly, then support in email clients is moving at a glacial pace.
Microsoft has officially decided to drop the IE-based rendering support from Office Outlook 2007 in favor of… you guessed it, Word. Great Scott!
I wouldn’t categorize myself as a Microsoft hater, but this decision ranks up there on the Top 10 Most Moronic Moves Ever Made While Trying to Win Over Web Developers list. For the first time in years, Microsoft releases an update to their highly used web browsing client which is significantly more supporting of web standards than previous versions. Yet, Redmond opted to use Word’s far superior web page rendering engine in Outlook. I am, of course, being as sarcastic as I’ve ever been.
The news, as bad as it is, is not the end of HTML emails in Outlook. We’ll have to redesign them to be thinner, with less emphasis on appearance and more on getting back to plain-and-simple content.
Unless Microsoft does the old switchero, with the impending release of the consumer version of the Office 2007 System, expect to redesign your HTML email templates in favor a much less instead of what IE7 offers — much more.