Wednesday, March 5th 2008

Good news from Redmond

I’m a bit late to the party, but in the last couple of days we’ve had two great pieces of news from Microsoft:

  1. IE8 will render web pages in IE8 standards mode by default, not IE7 standards mode as was previously announced.
  2. The first beta of IE8 has been released for testing.

Internet Explorer IE 8 logo

In the IE8 beta announcement I really like the sound of this paragraph (emphasis mine):

One theme I hope developers notice here is interoperability. The team understands how big an impact differences between browsers (and previous versions of IE in particular) have had on developers in terms of wasted time, frustration, and (in some cases) limiting the experience that they deliver to users. We want to deliver a big step forward in real-world interoperability for developers with IE8, and standards are at the core of our approach. This topic deserves a lot more than just this paragraph; expect more soon.

That’s really the first time they have properly acknowledged all the pain web developers have felt over the years. Sure, they have admitted they were behind the times back when they released IE7, but this was the first real reference to the huge annoyance IE has been to web developers.

Let’s hope all this means they really will try to move forward on the standards front. If IE8 passes Acid2 it means it must cope with min- and max-widths/heights, so my blog will look as it should for the first time ever in IE. If you happen to be stopping by in the IE8 beta, please send me a screenshot. (My email is in the right hand column.)

Edit: One very important factor which I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere is that they’ve made IE8 available for Windows XP. If they hadn’t, all the dreamy thoughts about standards compliant web developing would have had to be postponted another five years, waiting for Vista to gain some serious market share.

Read more about IE8 and it’s features at microsoft.com. Personally I’m going to wait a bit before I install it. IE beta releases are usually about as stable and reliable as early alphas of Mozilla products, and considering how deep IE is integrated into Windows … Let’s just say I’m not going to risk borking my whole system.

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