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Internet Explorer The Internet Microsoft Upgrades

Microsoft Confirms IE8 Has 3 Render Modes 525

Posted by kdawson
from the no-i'm-an-expert-really-i-am dept.
Dak RIT writes "In a blog post this week, Microsoft's IE Platform Architect, Chris Wilson, confirmed that IE8 will use three distinct modes to render web pages. The first two modes will render pages the same as IE7, depending on whether or not a DOCTYPE is provided ('Quirks Mode' and 'Standards Mode'). However, in order to take advantage of the improved standards compliance in IE8, Web developers will have to opt-in by adding an additional meta tag to their web pages. This improved standards mode is the same that was recently reported to pass the Acid 2 test, as was discussed here."
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Microsoft Confirms IE8 Has 3 Render Modes

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  • Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:06PM (#22143712) Homepage Journal

    I have to add a fucking tag to say I'm compliant? That's insane.... Those that fuck up compliancy should be punished. Heck, no, if I specify XHTML strict, it should render strict. The doctype does say enough. Those who want to adhere to standards just say "strict" and that's it. We do not need an additional tag. The doctype is not broken as he says in the article. You fuckers broke it!

    IE6's rendering behavior was not updated for five years, leading many developers to assume its rendering was both accurate and unlikely to change.

    There you have it... It wasn't rendering accurately... Who's at fault, eh?

    He's simply not realising that adding another tag will have the same effect as the doctype... And in 5 years will have a 4th rendering mode. Great! Long live standards, those that I can choose!

    This is a misguided attempt of someone trying to keep backwards compatibility. The standards are open and published, adhere to them.

    • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:14PM (#22143922) Homepage Journal

      This is a misguided attempt of someone trying to keep backwards compatibility. The standards are open and published, adhere to them.
      Come meet the new Microsoft. Same as the old Microsoft.

      You really expected true standards compliance? I am SHOCKED! SHOCKED I tell you!
      • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:46PM (#22146570) Homepage Journal
        You really expected true standards compliance? I am SHOCKED! SHOCKED I tell you!

        Oh come on. You and the OP should take a second and THINK before running your collective mouths off.

        There is nothing wrong with using a special (standards compliant) tag to tell the browser to render differently than normal. In addition to preventing tens of thousands of websites from breaking, there are plenty of CDs and other media containing websites written over the last 10 years. Should all these become unusable just because Microsoft updated their browser? Is adding one tag really that much trouble for you?

        I know it's fashionable on Slashdot to say things like "NOT STANDARDS COMPLIANT!?! HOW DARE THEY!!1" (and then get modded up for it!), however the real world requires more tact than that. Coming up with a solution like this that unifies the three Trident rendering modes (quirks, IE6, standard) is pretty elegant. It keeps real old sites from breaking. It keeps sites made in the last 7 years from breaking. Above all, it gives web authors the ability to fine-tune the way their page renders without a bunch of hacks.

        Is it ideal? Obviously not, but unless you've got a time machine and can fix the problem, please shut up. Bitching about the past doesn't do anything except give people headaches. It's worth wondering if Microsoft's dedication to backwards-compatibility has anything to do with their success. It's popular around here to say "get with the times" but in the business world, that means money. The supposed "bit rot" is an artificial and man-made result of ignoring this fact.
    • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spyowl (838397) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:30PM (#22144264)
      Exactly. Microsoft picks and chooses how they treat standards, and that hasn't changed with upcoming IE8. Consider the quote below from the MSDN blog:

      In short, there was an expectation that even under standards mode, IE would keep working the same way. Because sites expected IE6 behavior, the DOCTYPE switch failed to protect compatibility in the real world when we changed behavior under standards mode to become more compliant.

      So, it isn't DOCTYPE switch that failed, but it was Microsoft that failed to implement the standards and set the proper expectations with their developers and their customers; and then faked the standards mode for their own benefit to be backward compatible to the broken rendering mode they had before. Nice twist to the truth though - would have probably made it through some junior VB script kiddies if it was more sugar coded.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by andr0meda (167375)

        So, it isn't DOCTYPE switch that failed, but it was Microsoft that failed to implement the standards


        Boy would I hate to be the one to break that awfully shocking news to them. Don't suppose they will survive that one, you think?

        Anyway. Get over it. Detect your browser version and render your custom CSS. Play like everyone else plays.
        • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:06PM (#22144966) Journal


          So, it isn't DOCTYPE switch that failed, but it was Microsoft that failed to implement the standards


          Boy would I hate to be the one to break that awfully shocking news to them. Don't suppose they will survive that one, you think?

          Anyway. Get over it. Detect your browser version and render your custom CSS. Play like everyone else plays.

          Or leave it broken for the people without a proper browser.

          If it's strict, it's strict. If your browser cannot render strict properly, go and bitch to the manufacturer.

          • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:33PM (#22145436) Homepage
            Obviously, and this is the manufacturer's solution.

            I don't really know what people want from Microsoft now. They screwed up--it's obvious. They know it, we know it, web developers know it. Nevertheless, web developers have had to work around incompatibilities for years. What do you want, for Microsoft to change the rendering engine out from under people? Thousands of websites to stop working in that browser (the one that most people use) until the developers can fix the site? It's a bad situation, and it's Microsoft's fault to begin with, but what solution would you propose that wouldn't inconvenience a lot of end users (both developers and their customers, alike)?
            • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:13PM (#22146072) Journal

              What do you want, for Microsoft to change the rendering engine out from under people?

              Yes. To anyone this affects: Your website was broken in the first place. It is partly MS' fault that it was broken, but mostly yours, for not trying it out with other browsers.

              Thousands of websites to stop working in that browser (the one that most people use) until the developers can fix the site?

              Yes. Let them add hacks like <use-fucked-up-block-model>. Don't make the standards compliant people have to add <dont-fuck-up-my-box-model/>.

              (Yes, I realize it's an HTTP header. You think that makes it better? I mean, yeah, great -- now "save as" on webpages will break them, unless they're using <http-equiv>. And yes, it's got a browser version number in there!)

              It's a bad situation, and it's Microsoft's fault to begin with, but what solution would you propose that wouldn't inconvenience a lot of end users (both developers and their customers, alike)?

              I wouldn't. I'd much rather have a little short-term inconvenience, if it means that in the long term, we can forget about all this. Maybe even forgive.

              But no, we got the opposite -- something that works in the short term, but will come back to haunt us in the long term. I'm really not looking forward to the <no-really-I-mean-it-standards-compliant-this-time> tag with IE9 in another few years. Nor am I looking forward to IE15 unintentionally introducing a bug in the IE6 compatibility, breaking some decade-old site out of the blue -- I'd much rather it be broken now, when there's a greater chance someone's actually paying attention enough to fix it.

              • by weston (16146) <westonsd @ c a n n c entral.org> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:55PM (#22147400) Homepage
                Yes. Let them add hacks like . Don't make the standards compliant people have to add .

                The box model is actually one of the few cases where Microsoft did it right in the first place, and the w3c did it wrong. Conceiving padding as something that's not internal to a given block is highly non-intuitive and annoying, it actually makes certain things impossible. Want precisely proportional columns, but fixed-width padding? You could do it with a sane box model with no additional markup, but with the w3model, you'll need another div.

                I say this as someone who has a burning hatred for the IE product management team -- I'm normally a bleeding-heart compassionate type, but for the thousands of hours of my life they've stolen from not only me but every web developer in the world who has to work around the intentional weaknesses in their product, I'd happily smile as they were methodically flayed in a lemon juice bath between bouts of being shat upon by elephants. But they might deserve an ever so small moment of reprieve from their prolonged suffering for intelligently bucking the weak w3 choice.

                • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @09:49PM (#22148480)
                  If someone one hands you a standard to implement, you don't say, "hey that's stupid, I'm just going to do it this other way instead."

                  That is just beyond stupid.

                  Hell, I'd even be ok if MS had said, "w3c width is stupid, I'll just add a new tag, exwidth which does it the way we think makes sense." Because at least then they could still support the standard width tag to the standard, and render pages written to the standard correctly. If someone found exwidth easier to use, and used it instead those pages would also render fine in IE, and then break elsewhere in other browsers... although I could easily see support for 'exwidth' become a de-facto part of the standard and implemented in netscape/mozilla/firefox/whatever if enough people wanted it and enough pages used it... and that would be fine too. (In that at least we wouldn't have the mess we're in now.)

                  Bottom line, when your writing to a standard, write to the standard. If you don't like the standard, fine create your own (even if "your own" is just the original with some extensions), but don't write a broken implementation on purpose. It NEVER works out well for anybody. Users, developers, everybody suffers.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by weston (16146)
                    If someone one hands you a standard to implement, you don't say, "hey that's stupid, I'm just going to do it this other way instead."

                    It depends on *how* stupid it is and what alternatives exist. This particular decision seems pretty stupid, and at the time it was issued, nobody was any more standards compliant than Microsoft was (in fact, MS led the pack for a while). And so MS probably had a good chance of establishing a better concept as the standard, and we might have even been better of if they'd pulled
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by MightyYar (622222)
                  But so why keep all the names of the standard yet behave in a non-standard way? All they had to do was call it internal-padding or ie-padding instead of padding and we'd all have been spared the pain. I'm not the biggest fan of the way CSS was spec'd, either, but if you must diverge from a standard at least make it clear that you are diverging!
            • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by JackHoffman (1033824) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:37PM (#22146442)
              First, instead of pretending that this is a doctype problem, own up the mistake and explain that IE6 created the problem which needs to be fixed.

              The only actual problem is that many IE6-only pages exist which declare a wrong doctype. A solution to that does not need to be extended into a mechanism which makes it a standard compliant behaviour to design to specific browsers and browser versions. The proposed solution puts Microsoft in the position where they can continue to disregard standards, because as long as the document declares for which browser it is written, every other browser has to cope, should this become a standard.

              In conclusion, Microsoft could either provide a new browser which faces the same problems as every other browser, i.e. not being recognized as IE and therefore being excluded from certain pages and web applications, alongside a compatibility browser which emulates IE6 for those legacy applications. Or Microsoft could simply push for a new version of HTML, complete with a new doctype, which a new browser version would then render accurately while treating older doctypes like IE7 or IE6 does today. The only thing they really need is a way of saying "this is a new page, no quirks mode, for real" and a new HTML doctype would do that just fine.

              What they propose is the same compatibility scheme which has failed miserably in Word: Each version of Word creates its own "standard" of the DOC file format and every successive version has to render all versions of that format. Even Microsoft, despite having the code to the older Word versions, doesn't get that right. Competitors don't even stand a chance because there is no specification and no code to look at. Do you really want that for the web? That kind of mess is exactly why standards and accompanying standards replaced the proprietary Netscape vs. Microsoft tag soup.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Bazer (760541)
              I think Microsoft expects that if they announce a change to strict standards compliance in IE8 by default, then they would immediately start losing market share to other browsers. Browser which have strict standards compliance _now_ and can be used by web developers for testing right now.

              PS.(OT) If they were able to get away with an "inconvenience" such as Vista (DRM, cutting of XP etc.) then they can get away with forcing strict standards compliance in IE8.
            • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:51PM (#22146628)

              Well, the "problem" they're trying to solve is that IE isn't standards compliant. It was never standards compliant, so why is it suddenly a problem that needs solving? Simply, because everything else (more or less) is compliant, and they realise that IE will become increasingly irrelevant if it refuses to play nicely with the rest of the world.

              So the answer as to what else could they do is simple: they could drop IE! Rename the new version to "Windows Intranet Application Host" since that's about all it's good for anyway. There's enough other browsers already, and it's likely more would be created to fill the void left by MSIE. We now have reasonably well defined standards and several implementations of interoperable browsers; we simply don't need IE8.

              People could still use IE 6 or 7 for legacy web sites and internal applications until they're no longer needed, at which point they'd just die off gracefully.

              Okay, maybe it's not realistic, but it would be nicer than forcing the entire internet community to endure yet another round of Microsoft's ineptitude.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by CastrTroy (595695)
                That's actually not a bad idea. Although it doesn't seem like something that MS would do. Let's remember that MS is the one who won't drop a single piece of backwards compatibility even if it means their OS will be a steaming pile of crap. They would be better off if they just dropped all the backwards compatibility, and just ran all the old stuff in an emulated version of the old OS.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:47PM (#22144568)
      Hey, don't forget that when IE8 comes out, it'll only be 'mostly' compliant, so when IE9 comes out, we'll have to add another tag that says 'really-REALLY complaint, this time we really mean it' meta tag.

      So can super high-traffic sites measure the amount of bandwidth they have to pay to use to send out this unnecessary tag to millions of people and bill MS for it? Oh, I forgot, their EULA says they're not responsible for their products. :)
    • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DougWebb (178910) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:03PM (#22144894) Homepage

      I have to add a fucking tag to say I'm compliant?

      No, actually you'll be adding a tag that says "This page displays properly on IE7, Firefox 2, and some other browsers I tested it with" and it'll be up to the browser to figure out how to be compliant with you. In IE's case, IE8 will see that and say "I'd better render this page like IE7 does, because it probably has IE-specific workarounds that'll render incorrectly in IE8's really-standard-compliant rendering."

      When you're good and ready, and you see enough IE8 hits in your access log to make it worthwhile, you can get IE8, test your pages, and if they look good, you can update the tag. It'll be under your control when users start to see the new rendering engine in IE8; you won't have to worry about when your users decide to upgrade themselves.

      This approach has some great benefits; the IE team actually can safely break compatibility with IE6 and IE7 specific websites and implement standards correctly, because those websites will continue to be rendered with the existing renderer until they explicitly say it's safe to render with IE8's renderer. If they do this well, all we web developers will need to do is remove any IE-specific workarounds if the browser is not IE6/7... IE8 will be treated like any other standards-compliant browser, with no special coding or styling.

      Another great benefit for us developers is that we'll be able to change the new tag to get an IE7 rendering from IE8... no more virtual machines just to have different versions of IE on the system. (Except for IE6, but Microsoft is supposedly going to try to force most IE6 users to IE7 next month.)

      I can't tell you how much time I've wasted over the past few years trying to get standards compliant pages to look right in IE6 and IE7. I'll be very happy to be able to have my Apache server insert a response header that says "This page is for IE7; deal with it" and not have to worry that my application is going to break when people start to upgrade to IE8 in-between my releases.

      • Re:Wait a second? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JackHoffman (1033824) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:44PM (#22145632)
        Another great benefit for us developers is that we'll be able to change the new tag to get an IE7 rendering from IE8

        Seriously, you're new to this, aren't you? Not only will you have to test your page with browsers running in virtual machines, over the course of time you'll have to test it in IE8 pretending to be IE7, IE8 pretending to be IE6, IE9 pretending to be IE8, IE9 pretending to be IE7, and so on as you change the tag to benefit from newer rendering modes. All those render modes will either use combined code, which means they won't render exactly as the old versions, or they are essentially multiple browsers in one, which means they'll each have their own security vulnerabilities and plugin incompatibilities.

        This page is for IE7; deal with it

        Added benefit for Microsoft: They get to write their own standards again. If another browser sees that made-for-IE7 tag, it must recreate all of IE7's quirks (and those of IE6 and IE8 and IE9...), i.e. behave like some closed source software from Microsoft. MS DOC deja vu...

        I really hope that the other browser developers show MS the finger on this one, because if you thought browsers are memory hogs and security nightmares now, wait until every browser has to implement all its predecessors' quirks and all its predecessors' competitions' quirks.
  • Just Like Before (Score:4, Insightful)

    by excelblue (739986) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:07PM (#22143730) Homepage
    Hence again, MS is imposing its powers of monopoly by forcing us to work around their nonstandard quirks, forcing us to add their own meta tag. Nothing much new here - this is still part of embrace, enhance, extinguish.
    • by dedazo (737510) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:15PM (#22143964) Journal
      Do you want to add a single tag that all other browsers will ignore, or do you want to spend all your time hacking workarounds? I ask because Microsoft is not about to drop compatibility with billions of pages that unfortunately rely on IE6-specific shortcomings and rendering quirks. So you can accept that IE is not going anywhere soon and that this is the only realistic way to handle this problem (admittedly created by Microsoft themselves), or you can go back to the previous crap situation.

      The comments on the blog to the tone of "break the web" are amusing. I'd like to see the face of a CIO when his architect tells him that the corporate-wide upgrade to IE8 broke half the apps on the intranet because, you know, some technorati bloggers with snazzy-looking web sites signed the W3C suicide pact and wanted everyone to do the same.

      Or, use Firefox and convince everyone to do as well. That's what I've been doing lately. Maybe IE8 will pull me back, but IE7 sure has heck didn't.

      • You know it's not going to work as designed. Microsoft will expect other browsers to render websites according to the X-UA-Compatible property and point fingers if they don't, but Microsoft will certainly never attempt to render websites like Firefox, Safari or Opera do. The worst part is that the default will be to render like IE6, because all the old sites with broken browser detection code are the reason for this tag. They can't tell IE7 from IE6, and now Microsoft can't deliver a new browser without bre
      • by sootman (158191)
        Do you want to add a single tag that all other browsers will ignore...

        I'd be OK with that--one extra line in my 'head.inc'--but that this is MS we're talking about here. The tag they pick that other browsers "should" ignore will probably cause IE/6 to crash. :-)

        (Seriously, that has happened. [google.com])
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:25PM (#22145306) Journal

        Do you want to add a single tag that all other browsers will ignore, or do you want to spend all your time hacking workarounds?

        How about option 3: Code to the standards, and ignore specific browsers. Obviously, you want to test it in other browsers to expose flaws in your own code/assumptions, but if a browser doesn't work due to actually being non-standard, I want that to be Not My Problem.

        I've spent enough of my life hacking workarounds around Microsoft crap. How about they work around the standard for a change?

        I ask because Microsoft is not about to drop compatibility with billions of pages that unfortunately rely on IE6-specific shortcomings and rendering quirks.

        They already did, to some extent, with IE7.

        Keep in mind, these billions of pages were already broken. They should not have been compatible with anything. Microsoft dropping compatibility for them would actually be a healthy thing, compared with, say, some of the things they broke with Vista.

        I'd like to see the face of a CIO when his architect tells him that the corporate-wide upgrade to IE8 broke half the apps on the intranet because, you know,

        Because, you know, he was a moron who didn't test those apps on IE8 before rolling it out. Didn't know about WSUS, you know. Can I have his job when he's fired for incompetence?

        Again: Same thing happened with IE7. Same kind of complaints, same intranets keeping everyone on IE6 for awhile.

        The only reason you mention this is the same reason it's not a problem: On intranets, apps tend to be more tied to a single browser, because you can mandate that browser. Because the alternative was even worse -- mandating the install of some custom client-side app, maybe some Visual Basic + Access crap. This same freedom that lets intranet sites be lazy with respect to the standards also allows them to delay IE8 as long as they want -- or, yeah, use Firefox.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IntlHarvester (11985)
        I ask because Microsoft is not about to drop compatibility with billions of pages that unfortunately rely on IE6-specific shortcomings and rendering quirks.

        Well, that's the problem -- they already "broke the web" once with IE7. The key question is here why they need to create a special situation for IE8 when IE8 will likely be far more compatible with IE7 than IE7 was with IE6.

        It doesn't make any sense, because webdevs already have to fix their pages for IE7, and likely means that the standards improvements
    • by JonTurner (178845) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:19PM (#22144034) Journal
      Now's as good a time as any to check for browser type. If IE, redirect to the "You are using an non-standard browser" page with a link to GetFirefox.com
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:28PM (#22144178)
        I get that a lot actually.

        Unfortunately, I get it when I'm using iceweasel.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ianare (1132971)
          I've had that problem with Scalix and iceweasel. See here [geticeweasel.org] for the fix.
        • Sad, but true (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stewby18 (594952)
          I wish this were funny, but it's not. Many, many sites (including lots of big name sites--Yahoo anyone?) look for "Firefox" and the Firefox version they want, rather than the Gecko version that has been available in the UA since before Firefox was called Firefox, and if your browser isn't called Firefox (and isn't Netscape, IE, or Safari), tough luck.

          It really sucks for anyone trying to use (or build) a Gecko-based browser that's not Firefox.
    • by JackHoffman (1033824) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:21PM (#22144074)
      It's brilliant: The reason is that there are too many websites out there which work in IE6, but fail miserably in standards compliant browsers. These websites will of course not get that tag. For the the tag to make any sense at all, newer IE browsers must therefore assume that an untagged site expects IE6, so the page will be shown as if the browser were the steaming pile of crap IE6. It's another quirks mode just for IE6, and the only way to escape it is to add a redundant tag.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:07PM (#22143750) Journal
    So, to get IE8 to behave nice, web developers are responsible? huh?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jessiej (1019654)
      Since acid tests how web browsers deal with faulty code, and IE8 only passes acid3 if the developer includes a specific meta tag. So how likely is that the developers who are creating faulty code and not testing it will actually know to include the meta tag? There must be a major drawback of using the acid3 compliant mode that we don't know about yet.
  • by kharchenko (303729) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:08PM (#22143770)
    to be standards compliant, web pages have to incorporate a non-standard tag?
    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:30PM (#22144240) Homepage Journal

      I know that was a joke, but the answer is no, it uses a standard HTML tag.

      Which is used to add a non-standard HTTP header, "X-UA-Compatible". Standard HTML, non-standard HTTP.

      Which leads to the great possibility of a webpage looking different on the local computer compared to the server it was originally downloaded from...

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:50PM (#22144656)
      to be standards compliant, web pages have to incorporate a non-standard tag?

      Indeed. You have achieved Microsoft Zen(tm).

      Would you like to verify that your MS Zen product license is genuine?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tobiasly (524456)

      to be standards compliant, web pages have to incorporate a non-standard tag?

      You don't have to include the tag. You can use a server-side user-agent browser sniffing check to see whether or not to include the IE-specific meta tag hack!

      Of course, the really funny part is that the whole reason they're doing this is that too many people misused the DOCTYPE declaration in the first place -- declaring that their pages should use Strict rendering when in fact they used the old IE6 hacks. So who wants to bet that MS will need to introduce another browser hack for IE9 because too many we

  • Makes Sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigitalisAkujin (846133) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:08PM (#22143776) Homepage
    This move makes sense but I wish they would stop making up random tricks like that whenever they damn well please. HTML 5 has a way to set render modes while being compliant.

    At least their decision isn't going to mess with any other browsers.
    • It only makes sense for Microsoft. It wont help any other browser which is the whole point of standards.

      Only people who care will put the meta tag on.
      Everyone else will do what they have always done and ignore the standards completely.
      • by Pulzar (81031)
        Everyone else will do what they have always done and ignore the standards completely.

        Anybody know looks and their logs and sees 20-30% of visitors using Firefox will not "do what they have always done". They are probably writing standard code for Firefox already, and adding hacks for IE6. Now, then can just add one tag (call it a hack if you will), and the standard code will work with both Firefox and IE8. It makes their lives easier, and therefore they will probably end up writing standard code from now on
  • Broken IE6 websites can't tell IE7 from the browser that they were so foolishly designed for, so they try to use all the non-standard stuff in IE7 which the new browser can't support without turning back into the mess that IE6 was. What to do? Make browser-dependence part of the standard...
  • A good first step (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gihan_ripper (785510) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:12PM (#22143860) Homepage
    This sounds great, but it still means that everyone will have to write slightly different code for interoperability with IE, even if it only involves an additional meta tag. Hopefully, when HTML 5 comes out, the additional meta tag won't be necessary, with the assumption that all HTML 5 web pages will be developed with IE 8 (or another standards-compliant browser) in mind.
    • What they should do is require the meta tag for nonstandard rendering, and make standard rendering the default. Web developers shouldn't be encouraged to ignore standards.
      • by Pulzar (81031) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:41PM (#22144436)
        That would make a hell of a lot of pages render poorly by default -- some of them long abandoned, yet still providing useful information. This seems like a good compromise that doesn't break any existing pages... yet it still encourages standards-compliance, because with this tag, you can write once for both IE8 and Firefox and have it work in both.

        Stan
  • OOXMLish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigdavex (155746) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:13PM (#22143892)
    sigh.

    <render-like-IE6>
  • by Nemilar (173603) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:16PM (#22143970) Homepage
    I've been developing web pages for more years than I can count, and I (like everyone else in the field) know the annoyances of Internet Explorer. Everything from their faulty implementation of the box model [wikipedia.org] to their poor handling of Javascript has done an unimaginable amount of good for the stock prices of the asprin (and beer) industry.

    That being said, IE has come a long was since the days of version 6 (those that came before version 6 are unmentionable), and some credit has to be given to Microsoft for finally trying to do something about their browser. Seeing as how it is the de-facto standard, it's good that they're putting at least some effort into making it better.

    I love Firefox, and I love that Mozilla is the reason why Microsoft is being forced to update their browser (competition is everything), but we're going to be stuck with Internet Explorer for the foreseeable future, and progress can only be a good thing.
  • 1. "Quirks mode" remains the same, and compatible with current content.
          2. "Standards mode" remains the same as IE7, and compatible with current content.
          3. ["super standards"], you []get it by inserting a simple element.

    Why to do have to add a tag to "say" it's standard.
    Change the name of mode 2 to "Almost standard" and get people to use that tag there!
  • by rattlesoft (1086131) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:19PM (#22144028) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our new standards complaint Internet Explorer overlords.

    On a serious note, it makes some sense why they require you to opt-in. Reason being, that alot of websites are designed to "hack" Internet Explorer to look right and forcing all of those sites to be updated to the new standards will take time.

    It's easier to force all new websites or updated websites opt-in rather than forcing ALL websites to update to the new Internet Explorer.
  • I'm just glad that they actually recognise real HTTP headers. I've complained in the past [msdn.com] about the fact that Microsoft seemingly ignores the fact that http-equiv is only a poor workaround for web developers that can't transmit headers properly, and real HTTP headers are the proper way of doing it.

    I'm happy they incorporated this mechanism instead of further extending doctype switching, which was just a poor hack that has caused all sorts of problems in the years since it was first introduced. I sugge [msdn.com]

  • by pergamon (4359) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:20PM (#22144054) Homepage
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-ActMoreLike" content="FireFox" />
  • by TheOnlyJuztyn (813918) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#22144082)
    ... to have the special meta tag required to get the page to render in IE6/7's "Standards" mode.
  • by Len (89493) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#22144084)
    There's some kinda BS somewhere...

    However, in order to take advantage of the improved standards compliance in IE8, Web developers will have to opt-in by adding an additional meta tag to their web pages. This improved standards mode is the same that was recently reported to pass the Acid 2 test, as was discussed here.

    So how could IE8 possibly have passed the Acid2 test? The test page doesn't contain the magic META tag that IE needs to pass the test!

    • by Moskie (620227) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:30PM (#22144236)
      They probably ran a closed test that used (forced) this third render mode on the HTML.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      You should take the acid, too.

      Then it works perfectly, it's all explained in the name of the test ;)

    • Your webserver can add the HTML header line:

      X-UA-Compatible: IE=8

      and then IE8 will use this mode. I suspect they put Acid2 on a webserver that always returns this line. Once IE8 comes out and assuming (big assumption) their standards-compliant rendering really is good, I'm sure I'll drop the same line into my Apache config and get nice standards rendering. You can even use:

      X-UA-Compatible: IE=edge

      To always get the most recent rendering engine.

  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:23PM (#22144114)
    Since this new tag lets them safely break compatibility with the old IE, are they going to fix longstanding javascript issues like moving to the standard event model?

    It would be nice to be able to write javascript without a bunch of compatibility hacks; however, the IE team hasn't shown much interest in javascript compatibility in the past and instead has focussed on CSS compatibility. CSS is also an important area, but it alone won't allow for hack free coding.

    As it stands there's a lot of incentive to move to a different platform, such as flash or silverlight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snoyberg (787126)
      I'll admit I haven't done a huge amount of javascript coding, but from what I have done, it seems that intermediate libraries (like jQuery) really abstract away all those issues. I know from (painful) experience that there is no such possibility with CSS. However, please let me know if the former statement is not true, I'd be very interested.
  • For a good long while, Microsoft's official solution to the "things render correct in other browsers but not in IE" has been to use conditional comments. While still a bigger pain in the ass than it should be, using conditional comments has allowed a fair deal of flexibility, even with the release of IE7 - specify a separate stylesheet containing styling fixes for IE6 and below, then a stylesheet just for IE7, and then don't worry about it. Doing this saved me from having to commit cryptic, hacky work-aroun

  • as long as they don't touch my <blink> tag, they can do whatever they want

    <blink>i heart you</blink> blink tag, no one loves you like i do
  • In summary (Score:5, Funny)

    by red_dragon (1761) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:29PM (#22144230) Homepage

    I like to think of the different modes as:

    1. Unpolished turd.
    2. Brushed turd.
    3. Sanded and polished turd with a bit of air freshener and shaped to look like a Hershey bar.
  • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:30PM (#22144244) Homepage
    Microsoft really had 4 options:

    1) Don't try to support standards properly.
    2) Obey the DOCTYPE, even though many programs and people put it on old pages which aren't going to render properly in a standards-compliant browser
    3) Add a new flag that means "Yes, I promise I know about standards".

    For years, they have been doing (1). It would be nice if they did (2), and just broke all the badly written IE 6 pages with an improper DOCTYPE. But they aren't going to do that, their users don't want them to do that, and to be honest I don't either. That leaves them with adding a new flag which lets people admit they know about standards.

    In their favour, they are:
    1) Designing the option in such a way other browsers can be extended by it
    2) You can pass it as a HTML header, so if you want just add it to your apache config, and all pages on your website will be rendered in IE8 cleanly (this is the option I intend to take).

    Yes, this isn't perfect and it is evil Microsoft, but it's bettered than I'd hoped for. I'm looking forward to popping the option into my apache config and seeing if IE8 really is standards compliant.
  • Maybe this s a good moment to bring up the two articles posted in "a list apart" today. One explaining the idea, the other giving a thoughful comment on the concept. Something missing here up till now.. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/beyonddoctype [alistapart.com] and http://www.alistapart.com/articles/fromswitchestotargets [alistapart.com]
  • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:42PM (#22144456)
    <META fuckupmyhtml="off">
  • by sholden (12227) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:44PM (#22144480) Homepage
    It will have the rendering engines for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 embedded in it. Along with the javascript engines for them and so on. Just to support all the people forced to use these tags to access features in the meantime...

    Sounds wonderful.

  • by roca (43122) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:55PM (#22144744) Homepage
    I've blogged about why I don't think we'll follow this path in Firefox.

    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2008/01/post_2.html [mozillazine.org]
    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2008/01/slipping_the_ba.html [mozillazine.org]

    One interesting thing is that as far as I can tell, this will become a crushing burden on IE development.
  • by Saberwind (50430) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:12PM (#22145090)
    Tweak your pagerank algorithm so it improves the position of pages that are xhtml-strict, (or at least well-formed and don't use nonstandard tags), and publicize the fact. That will provide an incentive for people to start making their pages standards-compliant. Currently there is very little incentive to standardize.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FireFury03 (653718)
      Tweak your pagerank algorithm so it improves the position of pages that are xhtml-strict

      Sadly Google doesn't deal with XHTML well. I can only assume this is to prevent turning up XHTML sites when IE users search for stuff since IE won't display XHTML at all.

      Is IE8 going to have XHTML support? (I'm not holding my breath). I'm certainly hoping Microsoft don't try to support the horribly broken mess that is HTML 5 first.
  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:38PM (#22145528) Homepage
    I prety much never comment on these Microsoft strategy threads... but man, that's fucked up. You need a special new MS tag to indicate standard, non-MS-specific behavior? MS is promoting this as standards compliant? Isn't that inherently contradictory?

    [iamnotbroken] Yeah, thanks a bunch, Microsoft, you fucking a-holes. [/iamnotbroken]

  • "Invalid HTML" icon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ichijo (607641) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:40PM (#22145554) Homepage Journal

    Browser makers could do a lot of good for standards compliance if they would warn the user (unobnoxiously, of course) when he/she is visiting a web page containing invalid HTML code. You wouldn't purchase from a web site that doesn't cause the little lock icon to show up on your browser, so would you also think twice if you knew the company didn't care enough to produce standards-compliant HTML code?

    Since the web browser is used as a development tool, it should alert the developer of any syntax errors instead of attempting to silently recover from them.

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