Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Jan 2008 13:00 UTC, submitted by gonzo
Internet Explorer "Internet Explorer 8 is going to be the most standards-compliant IE yet, but it's going about it in a way that has some people scratching their heads. With Internet Explorer 8, you have a choice in standards compliance modes. Sound oxymoronic? Shouldn't there be one standards mode by default? Heck, shouldn't the only mode be standards mode? Ah, idealism." Please note, however, that John Resig of Mozilla Corporation spotted something interesting: "Internet Explorer 8 will support DOCTYPE switching for new DOCTYPEs (like HTML5). This really does change any frustration that someone should have concerning the new meta tag. This means that you can write your web pages in a completely standards-based way (CSS, HTML5, JavaScript) and not have to use a single browser-centric tag in order to do so."
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The problem we're facing right now is that Microsoft's attempt to provide better support for standards only reached so far. Providing three possible browser rendering targets: The old, broken IE rendering target (quirks mode), the new, almost-not-quite standards compliant IE rendering target (set using the DOCTYPE), and the actual standard.

Now IE want to improve their standards support - moving their almost-not-quite there implementation closer to the actual standard. The issue that blocks them is an odd one - the expectation by web developers at large that the broken rendering modes of IE will be left as-is in perpetuity. The assumption that a web page, having been written once and seen to be working, will never need to be updated or changed, even if the web page included hacks to work around browser-version specific bugs.

So there's a definite problem of expectations between web developers and the web browser development team at IE.

As to the solution itself, I don't care for it one bit. Adding a new tag, outside the W3C specifications, which is then tied to specific versions of specific browsers just can't be a good idea. We might as well go back to checking user-agent strings if we want to deliberately slave our web pages to specific web browsers and versions.

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