Microsoft to make IE8 standards compliant by default

The about-face is aimed at easing Web designers' compatibility fears

In an about-face it credited to a renewed company-wide emphasis on interoperability, Microsoft said it will make its upcoming Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) browser default to a new, standards-compliant method of displaying Web pages, rather than the existing, more Microsoft-centric one.

The move should make it easier for developers to create Web pages that render properly on multiple browsers, including IE8, Firefox, Apple's Safari and others, without breaking the pages or requiring extensive recoding.

"Thinking about IE8's behavior with these principles in mind, interpreting Web content in the most standards-compliant way possible is a better thing to do," an unnamed Microsoft employee wrote on Microsoft's IEBlog.

The move, on the eve of Microsoft's MIX developer conference, won plaudits from those who have long complained that Microsoft has used its market dominance to avoid making IE compatible with other Web browsers in an attempt to force time-pressed developers to choose to support only the most popular Web browser -- IE.

About three-fourths of Internet users used one version or another of IE last month, according to data from Net Applications.

"I fully understood and had come to accept Microsoft's earlier decision to break with convention and not automatically opt sites in to the new engine, but I have to say I'm glad they've reversed that decision," wrote Aaron Gustafson of The Web Standards Project. "Personally, I feel their product (and the Web at large) is better for it."

"Now they have made the change, it is up to us as Web developers to fix our sites when IE8 comes along. In the long run though, we get a better Web," wrote Dion Almaer, co-founder of Web development community, Ajaxian.com.

"Celebrate! C'mon!" wrote Molly Holzschlag, a Web developer and author.

All Web browsers render Web pages in several ways that vary in their degree of compliance with what are considered to be accepted Web standards. IE8 can render Web pages in one of three ways, according to a PressPass article posted on Microsoft's site.

One "reflects Microsoft's implementation of current Web standards," according to Microsoft. It passes the popular Web standards test Acid2, and thus, according to Microsoft, "is forward-looking and preferred by Web designers."

Another is based on "Microsoft's implementation of Web standards at the time of the release of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006." The third is "based on rendering methods dating back to the early Web."

Microsoft had previously said it would make IE 8 default to the IE7 rendering mode to better maintain compatibility with existing Web pages developed for IE 7. But it finally decided to make its new super-standards mode the default.

"While we do not believe there are currently any legal requirements that would dictate which rendering mode must be chosen as the default for a given browser, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue," said Brad Smith, Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?