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IE 8 to support Standards Mode out of the Box - Yay!

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Microsoft announced today on the IE Blog that IE 8 will run in high standards mode by default, which is a complete about face from the previous position that was going to require special meta-tag headers to force the browser to run this way. This is an unexpected, but very welcome turn of events and brings some hope that we'll in our lifetime will have a version of IE that is compliant with the remainder of the browser world.

This change won't come without some pain to most Web developers and not without some hollering and screaming by people who still have sites and pages that are running depending on some of IE's quirks especially in pre 7.0 versions. It's no surprise to find many sites have pages - probably buried deep in the hierarchy stack of the site - that were designed 10 years ago with little or no thought towards Web standards. I know I have now nearly 15 years worth of content on my site and there's quite a bit of it is just plain horrid. When IE 7 rolled around I spent a bit of time going through my site to clean up *some* of the content and move it forward to XHTML 1.1 provisional and it's a process I'm still working on. It's an ongoing process although thankfully I've never been using hacks explicitly nor were my childish designs ever critical enough to actually break horribly across browser versions. Which isn't to say there isn't some buggered up content on the site (no emails please <g>).

The real advantage though of going with the most standard compliant implementation possible is of course that it brings the major browsers more on par, so that there will hopefully be less special case coding/layout that needs to occur for each browser. Traditionally adjusting code to get IE to do the right thing has been the hardest part in layout and even more so for client scripting. If it weren't for JavaScript libraries to take the sting out of some of this pain I think'd have shot myself in the head by now <g>...

It's really good to see that Microsoft has listened to the feedback in this debate and has decided to go with what I think is the sensible solution of supporting standards to the full extent possible. It's going to be short term pain, but as we move forward with ever more complex HTML based applications having a standard browser model is key and the sooner this happens in consistency the better. The sooner we get the pain point over with the better. There's no point in dragging the inevitable out and only polluting the browser compatibility list even more. Right off! One yank...

In these days of automated browser updates getting the latest version browsers to a large percentage of users is ever so much quicker that hopefully compliancy will take hold relatively quickly...

And pigs will fly out of my butt soon... <g>

Posted in HTML  Windows  

The Voices of Reason


Ran Davidovitz
March 04, 2008

# re: IE 8 to support Standards Mode out of the Box - Yay!

I fully gree that microsoft did a good thing listening to the community,
Something that make me crazy - 1 blog writes something about IE8 and few minutes later all the blogs write the same :).
We need an option to filter already seen subjects (blog wise).

In our current project it will be the first time that we are going to target not only IE, but i guess now that IE is more than compatible (after going through the ACID2 test - http://davidovitz.blogspot.com/2007/12/acid2-test-current-status-and-ie-8.html) it will be a simpler job <YeRight />

Rick Strahl
March 04, 2008

# re: IE 8 to support Standards Mode out of the Box - Yay!

@Ran - true on the republishing. I rarely republish news items, but that one really struck my eye because it's something that's really near and dear to me and something I deal with on a daily basis.

I'm sure that now we probably get a whole new set of compliance issues, but my hope is that at least we're headed down a more compliant path for the future.

Ran Davidovitz
March 08, 2008

# re: IE 8 to support Standards Mode out of the Box - Yay!

Do you know if there is any site that contain measures of how much work needed for making sites work the right way in IE8?
We just now got a requirement to test our sites with it.

Rick Strahl
March 08, 2008

# re: IE 8 to support Standards Mode out of the Box - Yay!

@Ran - given that Microsoft just released Beta 1 I doubt there are a lot of resources available just yet. Also keep in mind that things will be buggy with Beta 1 - there are a few things that definitely are broken and that's to be expected with this sort of preview. There's not a lot of sense at this point to try make things work with IE 8 exactly given that things likely will change and stabalize.

Some of the behavioral changes I'm seeing have to do with page load timing of script code which is acutally breaking a few of my own pages that work fine in every other browser.

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