IE8 to follow web standards by default
Walk the line
Microsoft is to develop IE8 so that it follows web standards by default and will retain a controversial mode switching proposal.
Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch conceded that the move is a change from what Microsoft had previously said and prompted (at least in part) by a desire to avoid regulatory and legal problems.
In a post on Microsoft's IE development blog, Hachamovitch said: "We've decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we've posted previously.
"IE8’s default is a demonstration of [Microsoft's] interoperability principles in action. While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue," he added.
Although not explicitly stated, it is reasonable to conclude that Opera's recent complaint to the EU as well as anti-trust fines informed Microsoft's volte-face. Whether the move will help Microsoft skirt regulatory problems is open for debate.
Modern browsers (including IE, Firefox, Safari, and Opera) sport multiple content-rendering modes – including ones supporting strict interpretation of certain web standards as well as quirks modes needed to offer compatibility with pages that pre-date modern standards.
MS is now going to use IE8 standard as default. Developers who want their pages shown using IE8’s “IE7 Standards mode” will need to request that using a meta tag. This mode switching approach has been criticised by rival developers, such as Opera.
Microsoft's legacy of not sticking to web standards as closely as, for example, Opera, in the past has left it with more problems than other developers in sticking to standards.
For example, the transition from IE6 to IE7 was complicated by pages that rendered well in IE6 standard mode but not IE7 standard mode. Microsoft expects similar problems with the move to IE8, but has changed its approach to solving the problems.
IE8 will have three rendering modes: one that reflects Microsoft's implementation of current web standards, an IE7 standards mode, and a third based on rendering methods dating back to the early web. The IE8 standards mode will now be applied by default. Previously, the IE7 standards mode would have been preferred.
IE8 will include an IE7 standards mode as well as a "purer" IE8 standards mode so that developers can still select it as an option.
"This facility would be helpful as the web moves gradually from the large quantity of legacy content authored around IE7's behaviors to a new era of much more interoperable and web standards compliant browsers," Hachamovitch explains. ®
IE8 - Vista
I don't know why everyone thinks IE8 is Vista only. I'm running the Beta on XP Pro now.
And I don't know what Patrick O'Reilly has done either, but it works pretty well. Time for a virus scan eh? Obviously a few minor problems, (The Reg's very own CSS doesn't render quite right in it) but nothing of any major concern.
I have had it crash a couple of times when trying some complicated (badly made) sites, but unlinke all the others it can and does recover itself, including where you were in all your tabs.
The IE7 compatibility mode does also seem to run everything fine.
If you have coded your site sloppily, it works great. I've checked over my entire site and it renders it all perfectly well.
This seems like exactly what people have been whinging about wanting for years. I don't see the problem with it.
Can't please some people eh?
Sloppy amateur code?
@one of other of the Anonymous Cowards on this subject.
"Perhaps we should be focusing on the amateur web developers out there writing slop HTML and CSS"
Perhaps you should consider the number of pages written by supposedly professional web developers that have serious flaws in them that make so many amateur sites look wonderful. Actually, I find that corporate sites tend to be bigger offenders when it comes to interoperability than any amateur.
The Paris angle? Well, we *are* talking about Microsoft, aren't we?
I tried this Beta last night and it's the buggiest and most unstable piece of software I've ever used.
Not to mention the fact that it only passed 14 of the 100 ACID 3 tests.
I see long late nights ahead in Redmond.