Round Two – IE8 Backflip, Hell Just Froze Over


Microsoft told us via a very careful explanation from the standards representatives working with them (Eric Meyer et al) that Internet Explorer 8 would have a switch (meta tag) that would have to be in place to render the new features (including JavaScript improvements), otherwise the rendering engine would be fixed at Internet Explorer 7 levels. In other words to render IE8 as IE8 you have to have the metatag switch.

This was primarily in response to the IE6 to IE7 compatibility backlash by the corporate sector; as IE7 broke a lot of Intranet applications. We all bitched and grumbled, Jeremy Keith got up on his soapbox. But basically we all go on with it, understanding (but not liking) Microsoft’s positioning. That was in the past.

This morning we get the backflip. So now the word is:

We’ve decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can.

So this means by default IE8 will move forward with the rendering as an improved standards compliant browser. The implications of this are outstanding.

If Microsoft does stick to this decision it will vindicate what myself and my fellow standardista have been practising for years is all worth the pain, tears and late nights. It will shake out the cowboys in this industry once and for all.

Let’s Opt-Out

Now this begs the question. What of the corporate sector that berated Microsoft over it’s broken Intranet applications running on IE6. I can’t see them being happy with the move. Are they now going to lobby Microsoft to change back. Or is Microsoft going to allow a “Opt-Out” meta tag, that renders the browser at the stated level in the metatag. This would make a lot of sense to me. Want a page rendered as IE6 drop in the IE6 attribute on the tag and IE8 becomes IE6 as a rendering engine. Inserting one line of code into a dynamic application can’t be that hard for the corporate sector can it?

Are you as stunned as me with the backflip!

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  1. Giddy with geekjoy! Such an amazing turnabout.

  2. If MS play it right, they can actually make themselves into the heros for the big bad intranets/corporates.

    People with broken sites: “argh! you broke it!”
    MS: “no, you broke it; but here’s the one-line fix anyway.”

    It’s an easy enough fix for those sites that need it. Particularly since it can be done with server headers.

  3. This is great news.

    IE8 rendering as IE6, while high on a the wish list of some the big corporate networks and creators of those finance and HR systems is unlikely to happen:

    1. Microsoft have steered clear of any mention of IE6 when talking about IE8.
    2. Microsoft would have to admit they got it wrong with IE7.

    IE6 appears to be dead and buried as far as Microsoft are concerned, just nobody has told the the big corporate networks and purveyors of those big finance and HR systems.

    At work for the first time ever we now have equal number of visitors using IE7 and IE6

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