Monday, May 7th, 2007

IE 8: Opt-in for standards compliance

Category: Articles, IE

We have talked about the big debate on backwards compatibility vs. fixing things.

Chris Wilson chatted to a large crowd at MIX about the future of IE, in which he talked a little about IE 8:

However, Wilson did tell attendees that Microsoft is planning to require Web site authors to “opt-in” to standards mode when developing IE 8.0 sites.

“Five years ago, no one in the top 200 Web sites was using standards,” Wilson said. “Today it is half of the top 200 Web pages.”

Wilson acknowledged that he wasn’t sure exactly what form this kind of opt-in would take. But asking authors to opt in will “give us freedom to do some great things,” he said. By giving Microsoft permission to make IE 8.0 more standards-complaint, authors will take responsibility for breaking pages.

Wilson said to expect Microsoft to be investing across layout, object model and Ajax development fronts in IE 8.0. Specificially, Wilson said Microsoft is investing in making IE 8.0 more compliant with CSS 2.1 layout standards. Microsoft also is working to make the IE 8.0 object model more interoperable with that used by other browsers, and is looking to provide more client-side application programming interfaces (APIs) to support local storage for mash-ups, Wilson said.

Microsoft is planning to make tweaks to IE that will allow developers to more easily add extensions to its browser, Wilson said. He said Microsoft acknowledged that extensions are powerful but potentially “scary.”

Some are asking about DOCTYPE switching.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:50 am
29 Comments

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3.2 rating from 34 votes

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Please Microsoft, just buy Mozilla, kill the IE project altogether and put us out of our misery! :(

Comment by Marcus — May 7, 2007

Quirks mode rules.

Comment by Marty — May 7, 2007

Agreed…

Comment by Ray — May 7, 2007

Oh Please … MS will never make IE standards compliant. At least, not until IE is bordering upon irrelevance thanks to it’s poor security and standards adoption, and by then it will be too late. With Firefox gathering a strong user base faster than anyone expected, and many people switching over to Mac OS X, I don’t see that moment being too far in the future.

Comment by Joe Boy — May 7, 2007

There is zero incentive for a standards compliant IEx. Microsoft’s business model has been, is now and will always be:

Hold user’s personal data hostage in closed, proprietary format(s), then leverage “trapped” data to forced a paid upgrade, license renewal, or both.

Standards compliance would allow for user switching, or “churn”, and any attempt to do so will be squashed by the stockholders.

Comment by Todd — May 7, 2007

If Microsoft would just make a FireBug-like plugin for IE, then I’d be much happier.

Comment by Dan — May 7, 2007

Do you guys really think that IE is going to disappear soon? I love Firefox and use it almost exclusively, but as long as the bulk of PCs come with Windows and therefore IE installed, most users will use (and are comfortable with) IE. I think 99% of webmasters would love IE to disappear, but I really don’t think users care that much.

Now I really don’t want to start another “how bad is IE” discussion, but I think that IE really is getting better. Now we’re finally getting to the point where IE 5.5 isn’t installed on (too) many PCs, we can really do most of our styling with nice, clean, standards compliant CSS. IE7 is even better than IE6 (though I admit not perfect).

Just my 2 cents.

Comment by Ben — May 7, 2007

I tend to focus on seemingly irrelevant details. (I know I’m kind of annoying xD)

So, I read

developing IE 8.0 sites

and my mind starts wandering. Why? Why would we be looking forward to the future, to a still distant IE version 8, and still be thinking of developing “IE 8.0 sites”?

Even more, the subject seems to be standards, correct me if I’m wrong, so… shouldn’t we be looking forward to a standards compliance such that we don’t feel the need to think about a site designed for this or that browser?

Ok, I’m done.

Comment by Gonzalo — May 7, 2007

Microsoft’s policy will always be the same, we have to deal with that but at least the could make a good browser, as minimum as opera or safari are, the users can choose their browser and this is nice, for me just remove IE 6 and 7 from the market, or leave it with 1% of statictics.

Comment by Luis — May 7, 2007

The Register had a similar article last week:
http://www.theregister.com/2007/05/01/internet_explorer_standards/

The Internet Explorer team themselves haven’t yet commented, though:
http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/
http://blogs.msdn.com/cwilso/
http://blogs.msdn.com/petel/

Maybe their side of the story is in one of the videos of the event…?

jd/adobe

Comment by John Dowdell — May 7, 2007

I develop for firefox, safari and opera only.
I give a flying cunt about IE.
Too many headaches…

Comment by scriptkiddie — May 7, 2007

This is very bad news for the web. I can foresee a day when the entire section of a web page is dedicated to “ifs and buts” to accommodate Microsoft. No web developer wants this.

Comment by Dean Edwards — May 7, 2007

can anyone point me to those top 200 Web sites?

Comment by Gordon — May 7, 2007

I meant to say:
I can foresee a day when the entire <head> section of a web page is dedicated to “ifs and buts” to accommodate Microsoft.

Comment by Dean Edwards — May 7, 2007

To be honest i’d rather they did take 5 years to release IE8. At least this way we won’t still have to support IE6, IE7 and IE8 at the same time!… and as Dean says, fill our code with ‘if’ statements to cater for this.

Something I’d be interested in is where IE8 will be a complete re-write or hacked on top of IE7, as IE7 was to IE6 … At least I’m assuming it was since many of the weird CSS bugs still remained.

Comment by Marcus — May 7, 2007

There’s a very simple solution to this problem.

When Firefox is installed, a Gecko extension for IE should also be installed. Alternatively, Web publishers should encourage the download of a Gecko extension for IE when it is not detected in a user’s Web browser.

Any Web developer then can *chose* to invoke the Gecko rendering engine via DOCTYPE or similar invocation.

Microsoft is co-opting Firefox with Silverlight, WPF, etc. It’s time Web publishers and the Mozilla Foundation co-opted IE.

Open source, open standards, open Web; the alternative is untenable.

Comment by Rob Lord — May 8, 2007

You forgot Silverlight-it’s next gen “managed” browser,I suppose.

Comment by Andrey Skvortsov — May 8, 2007

Please stop pandering to Microsoft’s browsers and explicitly state on your web site that a “standards-compliant browser is required.” Then provide a link to Opera or Firefox.

STOP BEING A SLAVE TO MICROSOFT!!!!!

Comment by Giggle Platypus — May 8, 2007

You folks who say you don’t develop for IE… do you develop for a living? Because I can’t imagine a client or firm or boss or whatever accepting you shutting out or ignoring 90% of your potential viewers/users/customers. You must live in a dream world.

I’m jealous, but I digress.

Comment by Trevor — May 8, 2007

We all need to get together and once a year, just detect and refuse to serve content to IE browsers as a protest agains’t IE’s unwillingness to meet standards. Provide a link to Firefox, etc.

Comment by jack — May 8, 2007

Giggle Platypus,you don’t get it-ms seems not interested in browser market per se-they trying to push another RIA platform,not constrained by “standards”,you refer(no one says,Flash is not standard compliant;-).Browser could serve as mediator for quite sime time,but should gone in long run.It’s my opinion only.By the way,have you heard about IE behaviors?Methodology behind it(extensibility model) is foundation of any js lib out there,Ruby success or any other dynamic language built on this philosophy(AOP).But have you heard,that ms tried to standartize it long time ago(IE 5.5),but give up,because of bureaucratic mechanisms of w3c?Standards is not always good-html dosen’t change for quite some time now and only now people suddenly discover XmlHttpRequest(which created by ms!)and try to standartize it.But evolution going on undercover and dosen’t stop,perhaps dhtml “as is” will be not so actual in the future,don’t you think?

Comment by Andrey Skvortsov — May 9, 2007

Trevor, you ignorant slut. Providing a link to another compatible browser will bring those 90% quickly into the fold. :)

Andrew, good points. I will have to explore this further.

Comment by Giggle Platypus — May 9, 2007

IE respecting standards….where have I heard that before?….oh, I remember….wasn’t that the release of IE7 and before that IE6? May be this time MS should just do it, test it and then start making any claims…

Comment by nxt — May 9, 2007

Trevor, you ignorant slut. Providing a link to another compatible browser will bring those 90% quickly into the fold.

Because I’ve been doing web dev for a living for eight years, I remember the days of “Best viewed in ___________”. And it’s “ignorant” to believe that all these years later, the trend has changed. Same as it was, users still don’t like to download and install software. They don’t know how, and they fear spyware and viruses.

The only reason IE 6 took over from 5.x is that people were buying newer computers with it pre-installed. The only reason IE 7 is gaining any marketshare is because Microsoft pushed it as an automatic update.

I sincerely doubt Microsoft will push Firefox as an automatic update from IE 7.

Comment by Trevor — May 9, 2007

Trevor,
From what I’m seeing, it seems Firefox is becoming the automatic update to IE.

Comment by Rob — May 9, 2007

Rob,
According to http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=6 IE7 already accounts for more than double the market share of all versions of Firefox combined.

Not sure what you’re trying to say.

Comment by Trevor — May 10, 2007

Heres a way to tell IE6 how to behave like a standards compliant browser using javascript libraries that you can include in your websites:

http://www.grumpycoder.co.uk/how-to-fix-ie6-for-w3c-standards-compliance-using-javascript-libraries/

Comment by Mark Kempton — May 18, 2007

omg. will someone just shoot ie and put it out of its disabled and senile misery? i have to install multi-IE (3,4,5,5.5,6,7) – please don’t make me install another one on the same damn box and test everything all over again.
how do you spell shitty (ienternetnet expolorer…)

Comment by bob zass — August 17, 2007

ps.
this page is nowhere near validating so it doesn’t matter if you DO use IE here or not. lol. sad stuff

Comment by bob zass — August 17, 2007

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