IE8 and standards rendering opt-in

About a year ago, I wrote about how Opera helped in forcing Microsoft to default to standards mode with IE8. Apparently, it is not that simple. Through Molly's blog, I found an article about how IE8 will require opt-in for many sites after all. I'm not sure what to make of this, but it does sound like bad news.

And yes, Molly Holzschlag has joined Opera! Most of you no doubt know about her and her work in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web Standards Project (WaSP), and so on, so an introduction probably isn't needed. It's great to get more people on board who can spend time promoting and pushing for open standards.

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19 thoughts on “IE8 and standards rendering opt-in

  1. Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    Opera takes a particular site that doesn’t work well and adjusts the user experience to work (with Browser JavaScript)

    Difference being that opera is working around browser detection/blocking and opera bugs. It is not superimposing a different layout engine. Each version of Opera, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox has a single layout engine. Unlike IE which is trying to bandaid the world. Some people's sites need to break in standards modes or they never will learn that the filth they are putting out is not acceptable. (Yes, I'm talking to you ie-only intranet developers!!!one!!eleven!!!)

  2. Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    It just feels a bit weird for Haavard to describe what IE does as ‘bad news’

    A more concise response is browser.js works around opera bugs and prevents/alters browser detection/blocking. IE8's compatibility mode allows people to continue developing for (broken) IE7 — which is just wrong. The web is advancing. Go with it or get lost.Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    when to the end-user it’s the same thing

    Why are you referring to compatibility mode, browser.js, and end-users in the same sentence? Most end-users won't know what any of those are much less what they mean/do.Forcing a page into IE7-mode is drastically different than cleaning up erroneous code. Don't you agree?

  3. I’m confused.1) Microsoft takes a particular site that doesn’t work well and adjusts the user experience to work (with Compatibility view).2) Opera takes a particular site that doesn’t work well and adjusts the user experience to work (with Browser JavaScript).Sure, from a coding point of view they’re different, but from an end-user’s point of view they’re the same.

  4. My day job is QA, not coding. I'm not involved in Browser JS work at all.The difference between Opera and Microsoft's approaches should be fairly obvious. While Opera uses the same engine and remains as standards compliant as when Browser JS isn't applied, Microsoft actually completely switches to a completely different engine which is less standards compliant.

  5. Forcing a page into IE7-mode is drastically different than cleaning up erroneous code.

    Yes, I agree. End of the day, it seems to me that both of these approaches are bad for the short-term health of the web, but that combined with appropriate evangelism can ease the transition for users. Long term health of the web is only achieved by persuading developers to use up-to-date methodologies.

  6. Some people's sites need to break in standards modes or they never will learn that the filth they are putting out is not acceptable.

    I agree. Really, the difference is market share. It just feels a bit weird for Haavard to describe what IE does as ‘bad news’ when to the end-user it’s the same thing he does as a day job for Opera.

  7. Why can't Microsoft just drop the IE6 and IE7 engines and force people to upgrade? Sites that don't render well will just need to be updated…I mean keeping the IE6 and IE7 enginges embedded is not a solution. What when IE10 (or maybe even IE15 :eyes: ) comes out? Will they keep all previous versions of IE embedded, because of Compatibility reasons? I understand that microsoft wants IE to render the sites correctly, but didn't they already have a meta tag to force IE into using a certain rendering engine? Why not just let developers use that meta tag, if they are to lazy to update the site.As a web developer we have to test our sites in IE6 and IE7 because most people around here still use IE6. And now I also need to test IE8 (and it's compatility mode, since it's a little different from IE7)? Microsoft isn't really making things easier…

  8. Presumably you don’t have to test IE8’s compatibility mode if your site isn’t triggering it. I guess you’d only test it if you were worried that enough people were going to put their browsers into compatibility mode that Microsoft would add it to their list.

  9. Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    that Microsoft would add it to their list

    That list is fully automatic.Originally posted by http://www.isolani.co.uk:

    Sites are on this list based on feedback from other IE8 customers: specifically, for what high-volume sites did other users click the Compatibility View

    So if enough users click the button just for fun, and the 'automated' process thinks it's enough your site seems to get added. And ofcourse I want my sites to look great on any browser. No matter what engine it uses…

  10. Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    Yes, I agree. End of the day, it seems to me that both of these approaches are bad for the short-term health of the web

    You seem to forget that Opera targets specific code on specific sites, but it's still the same standards compliant engine. Microsoft switches to a different engine which is not standards compliant. Comparing these is comparing apples and oranges. You can't justify Microsoft's method by pointing to Opera since they are completely different approaches.

  11. Indeed, but he also says: Originally posted by Scott Dickens from the IEBlog:

    the IE test team just doesn't scale to in-depth testing of every piece of functionality on every page of every site

    So not everything is checked by humans, so it seems you need to have a bit of luck. (And knowing my luck, I'll have to test everything :()EDIT: I just figured, If I use that 'stupid' meta-tag, I might not have to test it any Compatibility View.

  12. Originally posted by Robin_reala:

    End of the day, it seems to me that both of these approaches are bad for the short-term health of the web… Long term health of the web is only achieved by persuading developers to use up-to-date methodologies.

    Sadly Opera users can't wait for all the guys at google, yahoo, microsoft, and every small site along the road to stop browser sniffing, browser blocking and writing erroneous code. Sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands.Originally posted by sirnh1:

    I just figured, If I use that 'stupid' meta-tag, I might not have to test it any Compatibility View.

    Then you will be one of the people who are stuck in the past which is the crutch that Microsoft is providing. If your site doesn't work in IE8, i assume it can be attributed to IE bugs or your code sucks. Using the meta tag or the header will make you one of the people that are part of the problem.

  13. I think the list of incompatible sites makes sense for Microsoft. And I think that it can improve advancements in web standards support. This is also a model that will work when/if Microsoft release IE9. Of course it all depends on Microsoft actually talking to sites that are not compatible, and constantly removing sites from the list.

  14. Originally posted by feearphage:

    If your site doesn't work in IE8, i assume it can be attributed to IE bugs or your code sucks. Using the meta tag or the header will make you one of the people that are part of the problem.

    Not if you use the meta tag like this:<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />That meta tag will cause a site to target the latest IE browser version as they release. So no matter what happens IE will just use the latest version it has and should never fall into Compatibility view…

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