Feeds

Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

Hipsters not allowed

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Internet Explorer 8 will feature a user-generated list of "compatible" web sites, after trials found many ordinary surfers and major web sites can't work with Microsoft's next browser.

The browser's planned list will be targeted at users that Microsoft considers not "web savvy". By opting to use the list with IE 8, they'll potentially be able to view their favorite sites and visit major destinations such as the BBC or Facebook without IE 8 scrambling them.

The list will be compiled by Microsoft's own people, and will be based on results from customer feedback and "objective criteria applied to telemetry data as well as product support channels."

Web sites making the list will be global "high-volume sites", and sites "we determine high-volume on a market-by-market basis," Microsoft program manager Scott Dickens blogged.

Furthermore, Microsoft said it will "reach out" to sites on the list and tell them what a horrible experience their users are getting when they use IE 8 to access them. Microsoft will then, thoughtfully, explain how the sites can get off of its list. If a site contacts Microsoft to say it's opting out of the list, Microsoft will then remove it in the next scheduled update.

IE 8, currently in beta, makes it hard to view millions of existing web pages because it's the first version of Microsoft's browser that claims to be fully standards-compliant.

Most web-site and online applications are optimized to old versions of IE. Version 8.0, therefore, introduces a significant breaking change as sites won't display the same way.

Microsoft's tried to negotiate this massive problem by giving IE 8 two ways of viewing sites: default mode, which uses standards such as CSS 2.1 and HTML 5.0, and "compatibility view," which lets users switch over to viewing the site using the old standards-contorted mode.

The IE 8 beta two, released in August, introduced a compatibility-view button that users could turn on and off to view sites.

The problem for Microsoft is this button was too complicated for the vast majority of ordinary users who — understandably — simply want log on and view the internet without any site-by-site button fiddling.

Dickens noted that "large groups" of users have therefore not been clicking into compatibility mode and are consequentially getting the screwed-up page views. He claimed the button was working for "savvy end users" but not the great majority of web users who don't meet Dickens's savviness standards.

In a further blow, many sites have not responded to Microsoft's coaxing that they update their sites to work with IE 8.

Microsoft has asked "hundreds and hundreds" of sites to test whether they work with IE 8's default standards mode, or to add a tag or HTTP header to their site to instruct IE 8 to view the site in compatible-view mode. Dickens specifically cited the BBC, CNN, Facebook, and MySpace as sites with pages that still don't work with IE 8.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.