So I got a comment from someone complaining that my embedded video gadget doesn't work when embedding MSN SoapBox video from Internet Explorer 7. So I tried embedding his video on my Windows Live Space [not there now because it starts with a video of Adolf Hitler] and it worked using the same version of IE.

I was stumped for a second until I remembered a recent blog posting by Alex Russell entitled The Virtual Life: IE At Arms Length where he wrote

IE isn’t built like Mozilla or any other browser. It really is down into the core of the OS because many of its behaviors are determined by the available versions of other components. Take, for example, the networking and javascript stacks. These are the cause of some very critical deployment-time bugs, but their behavior is determined by the versions of winsock and the Windows Scripting Host that are installed in the host OS, not the “IE version”. This means that if you’re not running the same version and patch-level of Windows, you’re not running the same browser that your users are, and if you’re not running the same browser, you can’t debug the problem or come up with a workaround. To accurately debug issues, you need to be able to step through OS revs, not just rendering engine+browser chrome updates. And as if that’s not enough, major Microsoft partners maintain their own IE builds. Getting reports of a problem that only shows up on Dells? There’s a reason for that. In cases like this, there’s really not much to be done short of buying a POS dell, but we can at least cover most of the rest of the strangeness we see in the wild with virtualization.

So it looks like I have to figure out what operating system and patches the user has installed.


If this keeps up I'm going to start missing doing C++ development.