Posted by: lsinrc | January 23, 2008

Microsoft Release Some Details on IE8

As we in South Dakota schools discovered with the release of Internet Explorer 7 (e.g. Infinite Campus incompatibilities), being prepared for future browser releases can make life smoother for everyone. PCWorld reports on a Microsoft posting that provided some details of plans for IE8:

PC World – Microsoft Stresses Backward Compatibility for IE8

Microsoft Corp. hopes to balance backward compatibility with Web standards in Internet Explorer (IE) 8 by enabling a new, optional “super standards” mode in the browser, a company official said Monday.

Some Web developers immediately criticized the decision, while others applauded the move.

Chris Wilson, a platform architect on Microsoft’s IE team, spelled out the new mode in a long post to the group’s blog on Monday, the first time that Microsoft has gotten specific about how it will make IE8 comply more with standards.

The new mode, which Wilson said would be turned on by inserting a single “meta” element, will be in addition to the existing “quirks mode” that debuted in IE6 and the “standards mode” unveiled with IE7.

“We believe this approach has the best blend of allowing Web developers to easily write code to interoperable Web standards while not causing compatibility problems with current content,” said Wilson. “We also think this approach allows developers to opt in to standards behavior on their own schedule and as it makes sense to them, instead of forcing developers into a responsive mode when a new version of IE has different behavior on their current pages.”

Several times in his post, Wilson stressed the importance of maintaining backward compatibility with existing sites and applications, even at the expense of standards…As usual with posts on the IE blog, Wilson’s attracted scores of comments from users and developers. Some saw the new mode as a mistake. “I want to code to standards, not browser versions,” said Blaise Kal. “The ideal Web is a Web where you don’t have to think about differences between browsers, because there are none. Now Microsoft is moving away from that ideal by introducing another rendering trigger”…A sizable number of those leaving comments, however, agreed with Wilson. “I think the meta tag is a good solution. It lets your old code and pages continue working, while you can embrace the standards for new development,” said George Jones.

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