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IE 8 will actually follow standards

IE 8 will actually follow standards

It's taken them eight versions, but Microsoft has finally realised that standards exist for a reason.

In a bold move – and one that is as likely to earn it almost as many enemies as friends – Microsoft has announced that the next version of its flagship browser Internet Explorer, IE 8, will render pages in a way that actually follows the standards set out by the W3C.

Yes, I thought that might come as a shock. Go make yourself a cup of tea. I'll wait.

For years Microsoft has completely failed to follow industry standards that it didn't create, and nowhere has that been more obvious than in Internet Explorer. Thanks to IE shipping by default with every Microsoft OS under the sun, the pseudo-standards implemented in the browser have become a thorn in the sides of companies who produce browsers that do follow the standards properly. I'm sure that if you've ever tried to convince a family member to switch to Opera or Firefox you've heard the refrain “but <favourite website> only works in Internet Explorer.” That's usually a result of the web 'designer' using some Microsoft-kludge that isn't part of any of the HTML specs and, as a result, can't be found in standards-compliant browsers.

The software giant seems to have finally noticed the path of destruction this has left on the now fractured web, and is finally doing something to repair the damage: although it can't go back in time and un-invent the broken aspects of Internet Explorer, it can make them harder to use in the future. Accordingly, IE8 will default to rendering pages in a strict standards-compliant mode. In other words, in the same way as Opera – by far the best browser when it comes to sticking rigidly to the edicts of the W3C – has being doing since day one.

The up side is that this will hopefully stop any future web developers from creating pages that only work properly in Internet Explorer, which has to be good news for fans of alternative browsers. The down side is that pages that “only work in Internet Explorer” now won't even work in that.

To counter this roadblock to un-bollixing the web, Microsoft is going to implement a compatibility mode that renders pages in the same way as IE 7 would – complete with broken un-standards. The mode will be triggered either by the user demanding it, or more usually by the presence of a tag within pages that require it. This should hopefully act as a stop-gap measure while the world recovers from the shock of a Microsoft browser that actually does things right and give time for pages which relied on Microsoft's somewhat scatty HTML implementation to be tidied and made to work with any browser you care to name.

Do you think Microsoft has finally seen the light, or is this just a way to keep the EU sweet ahead of yet another anti-trust proceeding? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

22 Comments

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HourBeforeDawn 5th March 2008, 08:56 Quote
well I suppose this could be a nice change but Im still a FF user at heart so ya.... not a real issue with me, although has anyone been using FF3beta, personally Im not liking some of the changes that has taken place but thats for another thread so umm ya.....
proxess 5th March 2008, 09:16 Quote
this is probably only because they now have that silverthingy which is multiplatform multibrowser to clutter up teh tubes instead of activeX which was just erm... a hole in the tubes.
yakyb 5th March 2008, 10:02 Quote
opera is awesome

nuff said!
steveo_mcg 5th March 2008, 10:04 Quote
/watches pigs fly past window..
Jamie 5th March 2008, 10:25 Quote
I'll believe it when I no longer have to write specific css for IE.
Bauul 5th March 2008, 10:52 Quote
They've done this to help their own business and make people like them again, it isn't charity, but whatever the reason it's hopefully a good result.
Aankhen 5th March 2008, 11:00 Quote
Microsoft++ # this. is. AWESOME.

BTW, your article is somewhat misleading. Microsoft said a while back that they're working on a whole new engine for IE8 that will have excellent standards compliance. However, they also said recently that while there'd be this great new engine, by default, pages would be rendered as if by IE7 in order to avoid "breaking the Web". In order to render pages with the IE8 engine, Web developers would have to opt in using certain HTTP headers (or, failing that, `meta` tags).

The IEBlog entry linked to represents a step forward because now IE8 will render pages using the new engine by default, and require Web developers to specifically ask for IE7 rendering if they want it. This quote from QuirksBlog is very appropriate:
Quote:
Microsoft has decided to put the interests of web standards above the interests of the Intranets of its corporate clients.

[…]

Nonetheless, the IE team has done exactly what many standards-aware web developers wanted: it has put the onus on non-standardistas. If you want IE7 behaviour, fine, but you have to take action. If you just want standards and progressive enhancement, do nothing.

Isn't that something? The IE team is listening.
Oh, and IE8 won't "reject" broken pages, it will simply render them as befits their brokenness.
naokaji 5th March 2008, 11:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
opera is awesome

QFT
Xtrafresh 5th March 2008, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
this is probably only because they now have that silverthingy which is multiplatform multibrowser to clutter up teh tubes instead of activeX which was just erm... a hole in the tubes.
lmfao

To the article:
I totally understand this move by the IE team has shaken you up a bit. But is it absolutely nessicary to keep ridiculing M$ through the entire article? I'd like to have seen some part of 'sarcasm-free' facts, so we can all start pointing and laughing at M$ again with some factual knowledge. At least for me it's the reason i read these articles.

It sure was an entertaining read though :D
UncertainGod 5th March 2008, 12:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aankhen

BTW, your article is somewhat misleading. Microsoft said a while back that they're working on a whole new engine for IE8 that will have excellent standards compliance. However, they also said recently that while there'd be this great new engine, by default, pages would be rendered as if by IE7 in order to avoid "breaking the Web". In order to render pages with the IE8 engine, Web developers would have to opt in using certain HTTP headers (or, failing that, `meta` tags).

They have changed there mind on that, now by default the app will run the IE8 standard engine unless told otherwise by the page.
Millusdk 5th March 2008, 12:26 Quote
This is great news.
Aankhen 5th March 2008, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncertainGod
They have changed there mind on that, now by default the app will run the IE8 standard engine unless told otherwise by the page.
Please read the rest of my post. :)
DXR_13KE 5th March 2008, 14:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
/watches pigs fly past window..

and hell froze over.... again....
Andy Mc 5th March 2008, 19:26 Quote
Pictures or it didn't happen.....just about sums this up for me, I'll believe it when i see it.




Is it me or was that a flying toaster that just went past the windows?
Aterius Gmork 5th March 2008, 19:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
I'll believe it when I no longer have to write specific css for IE.

+1

Awesome news.
cpemma 5th March 2008, 20:31 Quote
"IE8 will hopefully follow standards."

Accuracy & Precision are ar watchwords.
quack 5th March 2008, 22:04 Quote
I'm posting this message from IE8. :)

If you want to try it out, download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/readiness/Install.htm - but be warned, IT'S BUGGY AS HELL!!


Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
specofdust 5th March 2008, 22:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
opera is awesome

nuff said!

Exactly. No need to use the rest when you've got th....
cpemma 5th March 2008, 22:35 Quote
As we're all so very keen on sticking to standards, maybe forum software should reject all ungrammatical posts. Direct misuse of 'your', 'there', etc, to the trash.

Or do I detect hypocrisy? ;)
Glider 6th March 2008, 08:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
but be warned, IT'S BUGGY AS HELL!!
Oh, it's already in RC status? ;)
HourBeforeDawn 6th March 2008, 08:29 Quote
well I tried to install the beta to this but it appears that it wont install if you have Vista SP1 Beta installed lol it says it cant work with it, yup thats a good sign =p
Woodstock 6th March 2008, 09:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
I'm posting this message from IE8. :)

If you want to try it out, download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/readiness/Install.htm - but be warned, IT'S BUGGY AS HELL!!


Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)

so no different to ie7 then
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