Why is the Microsoft HTML Engine an embedded module at all?

It occurred to me sometime in the night that someone should really spread the word about the power of modular programming at Microsoft. Maybe even talk about web services. Okay, I know the folks are Microsoft are actually really great people and are definitely smart. (I still think they need a few more hunchbacks, though.) But really, why are there two HTML rendering engines at all? And, why are they embedded in applications? Why isn’t there one rendering engine?

It seems like basic (no pun intended) software design. But, then, I’m definitely a hunchback.


3 thoughts on “Why is the Microsoft HTML Engine an embedded module at all?

  1. cough, cough …. someone spring cleaning all the cobwebs away ;)

    I think the reasoning is Word has its own markup that is not part of html: such as reviewing marks etc, which they like to preserve. They also want you to be able to edit, not just view. Now although you can edit via IE (or mshtml), you’d have to bypass that to have Word’s tracking and formatting. Given they alreayd have a layout rendering engine and an editing engine, it’s probably a lot simpler to add parsing of html into that, rather than try to hook an engine that doesn’t understand Word’s extra tags, especially when you consider they need to support pasting of html into a non html document.

  2. Hi, Bill-

    It’s not the cobwebs so much as the dust bunnies. Damn shedding cats. ;-) Anyway, nope, I don’t buy it. Yes, Word clearly has to do a lot more than just render HTML, but if they’ve embedded rendering HTML in with a bunch of code that also does other stuff, then, we’re looking at an excellent opportunity to refactor. They could have, should have an engine that knows how to render HTML. Subclasses can handle extra special cases for rendering in Word, Outlook, Excel, or Visio for that matter.

  3. Okay, let me give you an example. This is a simple word docuemtn saved in html. I’ve trimmed all the style info.

    This is word Word html

    Not sure if that comes through there or not, but what it actually is is a sentence “This is Word html”. But it also contains info that I changed the “word” to “Word” (as in editing track changes. Now how word renders that is dependant on whether or nto it has show changes or not: IE has no idea of that. So the page layout IE does is goign to be completely different.

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