The Internet Explorer team is at it again pointing out that Internet Explorer 8 is looking to closely follow the web standards we’ve all become accustomed to in other major browsers. Earlier they demonstrated that IE 8 currently passes the Acid 2 test, and the IE blog actually admitted their lacking of compliance with the standards in the past:
I’ve been on the IE team for over a decade, and I’ve seen us apply the “Don’t Break the Web” rule in six different major versions of IE in different ways. In IE 6, we used the DOCTYPE switch to enable different “modes” of behavior to protect compatibility. When we released IE 6 in 2001, very few pages on the web were in “standards mode” (my team ran a report on the top 200 web sites at the time that reported less than 1%) – few people knew what a DOCTYPE was, and few tools generated them.
By default Internet Explorer 8 will render sites the same way that IE 7 does, but there will also be a “super standard” rendering capability that developers can take advantage of. To make any particular website render with the standards-compliant engine developers will have to specify this META tag in the HEAD section of the site:
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />
I think this is a good way for Microsoft to handle the issue of standards while maintaining maximum site compatibility, but I think this will give little motivation for non-standards sites to update their code. Is this the right route for Microsoft to go?