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Outlook 2007 Chokes on HTML Email Rendering

01.12.2007 @ 6:17 PM in Technology
I suppose there are some very good Microsoft reasons why, but I seem to be below the level of understanding why Microsoft's next release of Outlook (2007, launching in February) will remove Internet Explorer as the rendering engine for html email and replace it with the one in Word 2007. This means goodbye to Outlook being able to correctly display HTML emails formated with divs, floats, custom bullets, and other forms of email-beautifying css. Microsoft released a few docs on Word 2007's CSS support, or lack there of. Here are some of the crippling changes made that will affect Outlook 2007:
  • No support for background images in HTML or CSS
  • No CSS floats, positioning; only tables will work (Come on, now.. Tables?)
  • No animated gif support, only static
  • Flash is not supported, shows up as an "x"
  • Forms are not supported
  • image replacement for bullets will no longer work
  • DHTML is pretty much shot
Microsoft seems to have gone the opposite direction with email. Instead of allowing (or encouraging) email to grow into a new multimedia experience, Outlook 2007 will scramble any attempt at creativity. Only the simplest of HTML layouts will be allowed to pass unscathed. Email designers are now going to be forced to throw out their clean and aesthetic css layouts and pull their old table designs out of the recycle bin. Sure, people have a choice, they can go to Thunderbird or a web-based reader... but what about poor smucks like me that have to use Outlook for work?
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