Microsoft's smiley browser face turns sour

Doubts about IE on Acid

IE7

Microsoft's latest idea for tackling Internet Explorer's lack of web standards compliance in the up-coming IE 8 has attracted a barrage of criticism.

Chris Wilson, Microsoft's IE platform architect, and chief IE bullet taker, has explained how Microsoft intends to overcome standards and backwards compatibility problems by using a version switch.

Rather than change the IE architecture, Microsoft is putting the onus on developers to include a meta element on every web page to identify the appropriate rendering engine. Simple, huh?

So simple, the Web Standards Project supports the idea and has gone as far as to suggest this should be extended to other browsers.

That's an idea, though, that's been rejected by both Safari and Mozilla, for various reasons, chiefly: they already enjoy a high-degree of compliance with web standards.

Opera dryly welcomed Microsoft's belated recognition of standards. However, Opera's Anne van Kesteren joined Google HTML 5 spec author Ian Hixie in criticizing Microsoft's move for making web development even more complicated that it already is.

Developers in the broader community have also reacted negatively to what they see as Microsoft side-stepping its responsibility to comply with web standards.

Doubts, meanwhile, have been raised about IE 8's ability to pass the Acid 2 rendering test - an indication of a browser's standards compliance. Håkon Wiem Lie, chief technology officer at Opera, said he belives Microsoft could find a way to get around genuine Acid 2 support in the final IE 8 release.®

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