Internet Explorer 8 passes Acid2

The IEBlog announced today (or is that yesterday by now?) that internal IE8 builds now pass the Acid2 test.

This is certainly a promising development in these times of antitrust complaints and "wars" over standards. Acid2 only tests a smaller portion of certain standards, so it will be interesting to see the first public release of IE8 and how far along it is when it comes to open standards.

In any case, congratulations to the IE team, and I hope this is only a tiny first step in the process of turning IE into a standards compliant browser.

Our Web Opener, David, has written a longer piece with his thoughts on this interesting development. Needless to say, he's a happy camper.

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34 thoughts on “Internet Explorer 8 passes Acid2

  1. Whooops! It seems like they work on their browser all the time. They just don't babble about it unnecessarily…Personally I think IE is about as Standards Compliant™ as Opera. Both support only a subset of W3C non-obligatory-recommendations, both have bugs in the implementations, and both have some nonstandard extensions to the supported languages.It would be cool if MS would rise the number of the IE team employees to 1000 and release a new major version every 6 months. I guess this would make Opera strategists very happy. After all 5 years of not improving its own product, which made IE uncool, feature-obsolete, slow and unsecure comparing to the competition is a terrible "anti-competitive practice". But I'm afraid in the effect the market share of IE would rise to 98% again. And maybe this is what will happen, we will see.

  2. Anonymous writes:

    "Whooops! It seems like they work on their browser all the time. They just don't babble about it unnecessarily…"No one said that they don't work on their browser. The question is whether it will be standards-compliant or not. Acid2 is a promising development but that's all it is. It shows that they care about PR at least."Personally I think IE is about as Standards Compliant™ as Opera."Based on what?"Both support only a subset of W3C non-obligatory-recommendations, both have bugs in the implementations"Do you don't think Opera supports a larger subset and has fewer bugs?

  3. No one said that they don't work on their browser. The question is whether it will be standards-compliant or not. Acid2 is a promising development but that's all it is. It shows that they care about PR at least.

    Whatever they do, it will never be enough for some of their competitors and some M$ haters… When Opera and Mozilla released first Acid2-compliant versions (and Firefox is still in beta!) it was considered a great achievement, but for IE it's just a "promising development but that's all it is". Some double standards?

    Based on what?

    Based on what I wrote…

    Do you don't think Opera supports a larger subset and has fewer bugs?

    And where is a document which defines a minimal subset of "Web standards" to be called a "Standard Compliant Browser *fanfares*"? Because I don't know any, it seems like Opera gave the title to itself. Maybe a "Standard Compliant browser" should support XSL-FO, a W3C standard? Whooops, Opera doesn't support it. I guess it can't be the part of the subset then. What about text-shadow css property? Wait, not before Opera 9.5 release! You see, the term is extremely vague and that's why I think it shouldn't be used to support the complaints at all.Anyway, start to wonder how does IE show all these pages without HTML, CSS and JavaScript support? Must be a magic…There was a time when Opera maybe could accuse M$ of not improving standards support in IE. But they overlooked it. It was over 3 years ago.

  4. Yeah I'm a Microsoft fanatic who is a former Mozilla user and I have been a loyal Opera user for the last 4 or 5 years. I guess for Opera fanatics this the easiest way to explain that someone doesn't agree with Opera Software in everything.

  5. Sorry, but my points are not automagically made invalid because you state so. I only state that "Standards compliant browser" term is extremely vague and should not be used at all, because:1. There is no browser which support all standards.2. All browsers* have bugs in their standards implementations.3. All browsers* have some non-standard extensions (and IE wasn't the first to introduce them BTW).4. A minimal subset of web standards which must be supported to be called a "Standards compliant browser" is not defined anywhere (it's very convenient for those who accuse IE of not being "standard complaint", isn't it?)Actually only the 4th point is important here. So yes, Opera is exactly as "standards compliant" as IE – it's not compliant unless you define what exactly it means.I love you reasoning BTW… "[Opera is compliant, because] it is widely known in the industry to be standards compliant"… LOL* Maybe Not all browsers, but all "major" browsers with more than 0.1% of market share.

  6. Quoting the CSS 2.1 spec, by the way:"The 'text-shadow' property is not in CSS 2.1."That you didn't even know that shows how clueless you are, LOL!

    But it is in CSS 2.0 and 2.1 is not a W3C Recommendation yet.And who is clueless now?

  7. Anonymous writes:

    If you disagree with Opera Software you should at least make sure your points are valid. You have failed completely so far, and instead made yourself look silly.With comments like "IE is as standards compliant because I say so" you show your true colors.When you think that being standards compliant means that all W3C specs must be implemented you show your ignorance.When you accuse people of double standards because you lie about them, that shows your ethics.

  8. Anonymous writes:

    "Anyway, I wonder how does IE show all these pages without HTML, CSS and JavaScript support? Must be a magic…"IE has a completely broken implementation of these standards/recommendations. All these pages work because web designers code specifically for IE."There was a time when Opera maybe could accuse M$ of not improving standards support in IE. But they overlooked it. It was over 3 years ago."You are clearly clueless about history. And delusional if you think that IE is as standards compliant as Opera, Firefox and Safari.Please educate yourself.

  9. Anonymous writes:

    1. Not all standards are relevant to web browsers.2. If other browsers didn't have to ensure IE compatibility those bugs would be squashed much more quickly.3. Such as?4. Browser makers, including Microsoft, already mostly agree on what standards are relevant to browsers. Microsoft itself participates at the W3C.Opera is more standards compliant than IE because it has better support for web standards. Simple as that. You are just dishonestly playing with words in order to defend Microsoft.I didn't say that "[Opera is compliant, because] it is widely known in the industry to be standards compliant", by the way. Please stop lying.

  10. Anonymous writes:

    Quoting the CSS 2.1 spec, by the way:"The 'text-shadow' property is not in CSS 2.1."That you didn't even know that shows how clueless you are, LOL!

  11. Anonymous writes:

    "When Opera and Mozilla released first Acid2-compliant versions (and Firefox is still in beta!) it was considered a great achievement, but for IE it's just a "promising development but that's all it is". Some double standards?"No double standards. Just the simple fact that other browsers passed ages ago and the race is over. And the fact that Acid2 only tests a tiny subset of some standards. It by no means shows that IE is as standards compliant as Opera, Firefox and Safari."Based on what I wrote…"IE is as standards compliant as Opera because you said so? Laughable."And where is a document which defines a minimal subset of "Web standards" to be called a "Standard Compliant Browser *fanfares*"?"Browser makers, including Microsoft, have agreed on a number of standards that should be in a web browser. The difference between MS and the others is that they actually follow up on their promises, while MS doesn't. At least it hasn't so far. That is why passing Acid2 is promising (but hardly evidence that IE will suddenly be as standards compliant as the rest)."Because I don't know any, it seems like Opera gave the title to itself."Actually, it is widely known in the industry to be standards compliant. If they didn't have to waste time on IE compatibility it would have been even better."Maybe a "Standard Compliant browser" should support XSL-FO, a W3C standard?"Nope. You don't have to support all W3C recommendations to be standards compliant. Please educate yourself before spewing out nonsense like that."What about text-shadow css property? Not before Opera 9.5 release!"Not a big deal. One missing item is different from breaking the standard completely."You see, the term is extremely vague and that's why I think it shouldn't be used in a formal complaint at all."There is nothing vague about it. It is just you who are ignorant."There was a time when Opera could accuse M$ of not improving standards support in their browser. But they overlooked it."Opera has been "accusing" MS for many years. Did you not pay attention?Clearly not, seeing as you are a Microsoft fanatic who believes that Microsoft can't do anything wrong.

  12. 2. If other browsers didn't have to ensure IE compatibility those bugs would be squashed much more quickly.

    Browsers with smaller market share will always have to ensure compatibility with the dominant browser, unless they are based on exactly the same engine. It's because most people tend to test their sites in one, two *at most* major browsers. Very little people test their sites in more browsers. For example if Firefox would have 80% of the market share, sooner or later Opera and IE would be forced to implement XUL (Mozilla's proprietary interface language) because some sites would start using it. Even if all browsers would support exactly the same subset of the web standards it wouldn't work, because millions of pages are not and will never be standards-compliant, web developers exploit some specific browsers bugs etc.

    3. Such as?

    coloured scrollbars, opera-2dgame context for canvas, actually the whole canvas is not any "accepted web standard", -o- css extensions etc. What if someone would make a site which require a 2d-game context? It would work in Opera only. It won't happen just because Opera has 1% of the market share.

    4. Browser makers, including Microsoft, already mostly agree on what standards are relevant to browsers. Microsoft itself participates at the W3C.

    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by standards "relevant to web browsers", because it depends on the type of the Web browser, but I assure you Opera doesn't support fully these standards, even HTML AFAIK. Besides you might want to know W3C standards are called "Recommendations" and are not obligatory to be implemented by anyone. Legally they can't be forced upon any company. IE could invent and use a PotatoML to render websites, if MS only would like to do it.About the last paraghraph I didn't try to lie on you or anyone else, you didn't clearly understand what I ment …so whatever.

  13. Funny, in practice since the beginning of the Web there always was one dominant browser, but for some strange reason you expect that all 4 browsers now would have the equal market share. And of course all would support all the standards exactly the same… I admit I don't know why, because even the three "Standards Compliant" browsers have _a_lot_ of differences in the supported standards, all are buggy and all have different priorites in improving/adding standards (for example Opera tends to prefer the one which help them on the mobile/devices market or are requested by their clients). And (if you exclude IE) they do not have the equal market share now.It doesn't matter anyway, because in the Real World developers are always forced to target browsers first – that's what most of the Real World clients expect from them.

    Your examples are basically invalid because they are not mean to be used on normal web pages.

    The examples are valid in the Real World. Only because they are not mean to be used, doesn't mean they won't be used by some uneducated people or people who simply don't care. Actually the current situation proves this. I do admit though – in your Perfect World, which unfortunatelly doesn't exist, the examples might be invalid.

  14. Anonymous writes:

    "No, browsers with smaller market share will always have to ensure compatibility with the dominant browser, unless they are based on exactly the same engine. It's because most people tend to test their sites in one, two *at most* major browsers."This is irrelevant to my point. You are assuming that there will always be one single dominant browser. We know that there are four browsers/engines out there that would likely distribute more evenly in market share if Microsoft is forced to make IE standards compliant. Those are Opera/Presto, IE/Trident, Firefox/Gecko and Safari/WebKit.Thus, developers will be forced to target standards first rather than browsers."coloured scrollbars, opera-2dgame context for canvas, actually the whole canvas is not any "accepted web standard", -o- css extensions etc."This is entirely in line with the standardization process. Non-standard items are prefixed in a way which makes it clear that they are non-standard. Canvas is in the process of being standardized, and to do that, it requires actual implementations. Your examples are basically invalid because they are not mean to be used on normal web pages."I'm not sure what exactly you mean by standards "relevant to web browsers""The common set of standards that the browser vendors agree on."Opera doesn't support fully these standards"No one does, but they might if they didn't have to waste their time chasing IE compatibility."W3C standards are called "Recommendations" and are not obligatory to be implemented by anyone."That is irrelevant to this discussion. And before you respond to this, read what I talk about below."Legally they can't be forced upon any company. IE could invent and use a PotatoML to render websites, if MS only would like to do it."Actually, there are special rules for companies that dominate in a market. They are not allowed to engage in anti-competitive practices. Microsoft has been convicted of those in several parts of the world now. Microsoft could well be forced to follow open web standards even though the standard themselves are not required by law in general.The reason is not that standards are laws, but that Microsoft by ignoring these standards is guilty of anti-competitive practices."About the last paraghraph I didn't try to lie on you or anyone else, you didn't clearly understand what I ment …so whatever."I clearly understand what you meant. Since I wasn't falling over myself with joy for IE8 doing this ages before others, I must be a hypocrite. That was what you were saying.

  15. This would change if targeting browsers was too expensive.

    Right now I think about 95%-99% of all websites work on IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari. OK, I'm not sure about the real numbers, but I think for every not working website I can show you at least 20 sites working. And to be honest I think the number is even higher. Sooo, is targeting browsers not-so-expensive or maybe all the websites target Web Standards? Because I simply think website compatibility (for the educated web developers and the users) is not as big problem as some people want it to be. I don't remember when for the last time I visited a not working website with Opera. I know there is some amazing and hard work of Opera employees behind this, but still…Of course it's the biggest problem for the browser makers… but all of them. Actually I think it is a huge problem for the IE team now – every change in their rendering engine may cause problems on millions of sites for hundrets of millions of users using IE. And all complaints go to them, even if all the broken sites are not standards compliant. It's both a blessing and a curse.Anyway, I will stop here. I don't think there is a point in further discussion as nothing indicates that any of us will change his opinion…

  16. Anonymous writes:

    "Funny, in practice since the beginning of the Web there always was one dominant browser, but for some strange reason you expect that all 4 browsers now would have the equal market share."Not equal, just more evenly distributed. The main reason why people aren't using Opera is that many sites block it. And there was not always one dominant browser. IE and Netscape at one point had about the same market share. And even if most of the time there has been one dominant browser, that doesn't mean that it has to stay that way at all costs."even the three "Standards Compliant" browsers have _a_lot_ of differences in the supported standards"I'll just refer to my comment about having to waste development resources chasing IE. Resources that could otherwise have been spent improving the standards support."in the Real World developers are always forced to target browsers first"This would change if targeting browsers was too expensive."The examples are valid in the Real World."No, because they are meant to be used for experimental things. If those uneducated people use them, they have just shot themselves in the foot because their site will stop working when the standard is done."in your Perfect World, which unfortunatelly doesn't exist, the examples might be invalid"Nope. They are invalid today since "-o-" will be removed when they are properly standardized, for example. It is costly to rely on experimental features on a site.

  17. Anonymous writes:

    "is targeting browsers not-so-expensive or maybe all the websites target Web Standards?"It's expensive to code for specific browsers, but moist web designers are used to coding for two browsers, Netscape and IE. They keep designing for Netscape to this day because they are used to it, only it's called Firefox now.Compatibility is not as big of a problem to you because you are not the one who has to deal with the mess.

  18. So, would IE8 support standards better than current Opera, if it would be released today? I guess so…Current Opera 9.25 cannot render Acid2 well, neither can final version of Firefox 2.0.0.11 (and neither can IE7).http://www.webstandards.org/files/acid2/test.html#topBtw, is there JavaScript compliance test available? I wonder how different browsers would rank there..

  19. Anonymous writes:Firefox 3 beta can render Acid 2 and I highly doubt IE8 stable release will come before FF3.

  20. radekradek: Opera passes the test 100%. There is currently a problem with one of the resources linked to the test..

  21. Anonymous writes:

    It seems radekradek never misses an occasion to make an ass of himself.And no real webmaster in their right mind could claim IE is as standards compliant as Opera (or any other current major browser).

  22. Opera supports 100% of the JavaScript standard, as far as I know. And ActiveX is not a Web standard to my knowledge :)I belive you just pointed out why Web standards are important, and why we cannot rely on someone who has an interest in replacing them with their own technologies to promote them. I agree with you that Microsoft will probably not go the standards route voluntarily, which is why the EU might have to step in. If all browsers adhere to open Web standards, Web developers will definitely have an easier time.IE7 was released in 2006, by the way.

  23. @haavard – "triumphant tone"? Nope. Just seemed funny to me. "Attacks" (including gross personal ones) are allowed on this blog (as I have learned). ;-)Anyway, trying to implement "latest and greates" W3C recommendations and unfinished specs (you can even call them web-standards if you wish) is a catchy marketing thingie, but the fact is that all websites *must* work with IE6 from 2001. IE6 was excellent when it was released, but we have (almost) 2008 now, and it is still the only "web-standard" that really matters.You cannot design for Opera 9, Firefox 2 and/or IE7 alone. While IE7 is sufficiently good with web-standards and IE8 will probably be as good as Opera today (concerning CSS, of course Opera has worse JavaScript implementation, no ActiveX support, crashing with Netscape plugins, etc., it is no way best for everything), 50-60% people still have IE6. And I do not believe they will upgrade to IE8 when it is released (or Firefox, Safari, Opera) if they did not do it untill now.For "practical webdesign" – W3C web-standards do not matter at all. Lowest common denominator does. 99.999% of people do not even know what XHTML/CSS/W3C is, they do not care about "web-standards" at all. People are very conservative, they have learned how to use IE6, and they will use it as long as they can (together with Windows XP). And Windows XP is not about to die any soon, in fact SP3 is in works.Complaining about Microsoft to European commission improves nothing in webdesigners life (except Opera's short-time news coverage). You cannot complain they have published a browser in 2001, which was top-knotch at that time, but is not in 2007. But that is exactly what you do…Opera now reminds me of Apple marketing – one of the silliest companies in the world – they cannot make a decent product, so they must bash they competitors in ads all the time (Vista / Microsoft). Hey, YOU can be DIFFERENT (just like everyone else, with 3 existing Apple PC configurations)! That is very low-life.

  24. Yes, web-standards are important (for web-designers). I never said anything else. They make life easier.But IE7 from (late) 2006 is very good (no, not the best one, but still very good) with web-standards, and IE8 will be probably excellent. So why complain? About what? About IE6 from 2001? That is very silly…Btw, my favourite WYSIWYG editor to use in CMS (for customers) is http://xstandard.com/ It produces strictly valid XHTML 1.1 code, works well in IE6, IE7, Firefox, Safari (under OS X), but sometimes completely crashes and/or freezes Opera. Having more XStandard

  25. This is definitely not a marketing campaign. Opera has puts its money where its mouth is for many years when it comes to standards. I guess that those who do not know the people behind this move can come to erroneous conclusions, but our CTO, Håkon Wium Lie is actually the person who made the first CSS proposal. Anyone who is familiar with Opera's history will realize that this is not a marketing campaign at all. Håkon has worked with people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee. I guess you may not be familiar with him, but a Google search should help you there :)Hint: He created the World Wide Web, and currently chairs the W3C.But hey, what does Tim Berners-Lee know, right? ;)IE7 unfortunately has a long way to go in order to become as standards compliant as Opera, Safari and Firefox. It has a few CSS fixes, yes, but plugging a few small holes is not going to prevent the ship from sinking when there's are other huge holes there as well. Microsoft has promised a lot for IE8, but they did that for IE7 as well, and for many other producs through the years. Microsoft has a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. Big-time.Yes, all browsers have bugs. But if Mozilla, Opera and Apple had not been forced to work hard on being compatible with IE7, they would have been able to improve standards support at an even greater pace.If you have found a bug in Opera and reported it, that's great. We need bug report from our users. But anecdotes about a couple of bugs you found in Opera hardly make up for IE7's poor standards compliance compared to the competition 🙂

  26. Do you consider Dave Shea (mezzoblue.com) to be a good webdesigner?http://mezzoblue.com/archives/2007/12/19/8_2_x2/This is what he wrote about IE7 about 2 days ago, after 1+ year experience developing for this browser: They (IE7 team) seemed genuinely concerned about the problems that made our lives harder, and took steps to correct them. And testing against IE7 has been more good than bad; it’s rare to get something working in Firefox and Safari that blows up in IE7PS: he doesn't even mention Opera, as it is too insignificant.

  27. radekradek, please refrain from repeating yourself. If you want to discuss something, post it in one place.

  28. haavard, please refrain from not deleting gross personal attacks and personal info, as you have promised.. That tells something about Opera (team) as well :(If you think "Opera-lovers" can freely attack anybody at will, and only positive posts about Opera actions are allowed here, you should better not allow "discussion" at all.You have deleted my relevant post in other topic, but kept all personal attacks. Now that is hypocrisy!

  29. Anonymous writes:

    Typical of radekradek to lie and deceive. As if he hasn't been allowed to spam these blogs with his poorly thought out nonsense for many days. He never bothers to respond to people's points, but just cuts and pastes his own posts to repeat the same drivel all over again in order to flood people so they'll stop responding to him, and then he can declare victory.That's always been his strategy."only positive posts about Opera actions are allowed here"Oh yeah? So why do we see several posts by you and grafio right now?Now radekradek is lying and crying censorship, but nothing he says can be trusted.

  30. To clear things up, someone from the IE team stated IE8 passes the Acid2 test on the mirror (working) site.I don't know what that scrollbar is about, though, I couldn't even watch the video.

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