Simmons Consulting, the Website of Toby Simmons

Outlook 2007 rendering engine time warp


In the most recent version of Office, Microsoft changed the rendering engine for HTML e-mail. As an HTML e-mail publisher, we worked for weeks designing the newsletter for Arkansas Online to adhere to XHTML 1.1 strict standards. It looks beautiful when viewed using nearly any current mail application — even across platforms — Thunderbird (Firefox) on Windows, Thunderbird (Firefox) on OS X, Apple Mail on OS X, Entourage on OS X, even Outlook 2003 on Windows, all display the message nearly exactly the same. It is an excellent example of cross-platform, cross-browser beauty.

Enter Outlook 2007. Microsoft decided to use the crippled rendering engine that was built into Word instead of using Internet Explorer for their mail application. This is apparently so that messages that are created in Word (using the crippled rendering engine to compose it) will look the same when rendered by the recipient (provided they are running Outlook 2007 with the same crippled rendering engine!) The biggest problem with this thinking is that they are now using a rendering engine that wasn’t even complete back in the mid 1990s!

Well, here is my example of an e-mail mis-rendered … please listen to the developers, Microsoft! This is a bad, bad idea. /wp-content/uploads/2007/06/outlook2007.html