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We've decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we’ve posted previously.
Our initial thinking for IE8 involved showing pages requesting "Standards" mode in an IE7's "Standards" mode, and requiring developers to ask for IE8's actual "Standards" mode separately. We made this decision, informed by discussions with some leading web experts, with compatibility at the top of mind.
In light of the Interoperability Principles, as well as feedback from the community, we're choosing differently. Now, IE8 will show pages requesting "Standards" mode in IE8's Standards mode. Developers who want their pages shown using IE8’s "IE7 Standards mode" will need to request that explicitly.
Earlier thread: Microsoft proposes opt-in standards compliance for IE8 [webmasterworld.com]
Related: Microsoft Moves To Greater Interoperability [webmasterworld.com]
This is just too big a "turnaround" - the intranets, hobby sites, client sites etc problem has not gone away.. it will take time to get anyone whose site "breaks" to input the backward switch - and yes I forsee sites breaking UNLESS they make a much slower transition to recommended standards and instead stick to their own. Their blog entry reads, to me anyway, like they intend to stick to their own, though I hope I'm wrong.
The 'why change' section is very strange don't you think? The initial post about super standards mode mentioned that their clients may sue if they used standards by default, but this announcement is all about their 'principles' which are derived from the recent EU ruling.
While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue.
Hopefully it means that we can finally have some SVG and HTML 5 support. The next acid test should use much more than just CSS.
I think there's a danger of that making people ignore warnings in general. Most people don't care if a page adheres to HTML standards, as long as it displays correctly and is secure if necessary. If a browser keeps saying every other page is broken when it apparently works fine, people may assume there's something wrong with the browser.
It's like security apps which lump cookies and viruses into the same "security threats" category and display "thousands of security breaches found!" as the result of a system scan. They send people into a panic at first, but then people realise they're usually just talking about cookies and not viruses, and it makes people stop taking the scan's results seriously.
“IE8 has been significantly enhanced, and was designed with great support for current Internet standards. This is evidenced by the fact that even in its first beta, IE8 correctly renders the popular test known as ‘Acid2,’ which was created by the Web community to promote real-world interoperability,”
Also, I was very suprised by how far along IE8 is. IE7 was done in such a rush and the IE team so small that it took six months for the documentation to catch up. The IE8 documentation is up on MSDN now, today, in line with the first Beta release!
Whitepapers, tutorials, everything - all that is new in IE8.
Unless you are already coding to standards, as we all should be.
There is, in practice, no such thing as "coding to standards" and getting a predictable cross-browser result. There is only "coding to standards as those standards are interpreted/implemented by today's browsers".