Are rounded corners THAT hard to implement?

So Microsoft has just announced their first (and probably only) release candidate of Internet Explorer 8. For those in the not-know, release candidates fit somewhere between betas and final releases, most often leaning closer to the final release. It's a last chance to make sure there's nothing seriously wrong before actually releasing the product.

IE8's supposed to add a bunch of new features, while not changing the actual interface much at all. If you look at the list of new features for IE8, it's pretty much a smattering of a bunch of little cool things -- no real direction, just a bunch of little cool things. They have web snippets, some new accessibility events, a safe JSON parser, etc. etc. I'm fine with all that, I'd actually really love for every browser to get a JSON parser and improved accessibility. My beef is what they don't have.

Rounded corners.

Most other major browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) have support for those friendly little curves on the edges of your layout boxes. Microsoft, however, has said they're basically not expanding their CSS support at all, just sticking with the CSS 2.1 that they already complies with. I guess they did say it's "high on the wish list" and to expect it in the next version, but my complaint is, how hard is it really to implement rounded corners? I mean, they could seriously have had one intern working on it for a few months and he probably could have managed rounded corners in CSS.

What's the big deal, you may ask. Who cares about rounded corners anyway? Well. If you were to ask a web designer, what's the most-awkwardly-hacked-on layout feature in today's web pages, they'd almost definitely say it's rounded corners. There are so many "workarounds" for the rounded corner problem it's not even funny. Most of them use tables and CSS -- insert cringe here -- to get around the problem, but that's like using toothpaste to fill the holes in your walls. It technically works, but it's really not the right tool for the job. Not to mention how much it can bork with accessibility and semantic meaning.

Anyway, everyone knows that anywhere from 30-90% of a web site's users are on IE, so until Microsoft implements rounded corners we're stuck in nastyland. I'm a little frustrated with Microsoft over this one, actually. They had the opportunity to save thousands of web sites from code nastification currently happening in the name of aesthetics, and they just didn't bother. I seriously doubt it would have taken THAT much effort, and even an unfinished implementation (say, we only do up to 10 pixel rounding, for example) would have been good enough for me. Honestly, you shouldn't have to make a table or write twenty lines of CSS (or both) just to get some non-square navigation tabs at the top of your page.


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