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Microsoft Confirms IE8 Has 3 Render Modes

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-i'm-an-expert-really-i-am dept.

Internet Explorer 525

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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525 comments

Wait a second? (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143712)

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.

DAMN YOU, MIKKKR0$$$L0TH!!!!1!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22143786)

Damn you to hell, M$!!! Now that IE will be standards complaint, WTF are we supposed to whine and cry like little babies about?!?!

Please, think of the babies!

Re:Wait a second? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143922)

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!

People think Microsoft is a software company. (1, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144548)

So many people think Microsoft is a software company. Actually Microsoft is an abuse company. Sloppy software is just one method Microsoft uses to deliver abuse.

If you want software, choose some other company. If you want abuse, Microsoft is one of the world's larger suppliers of time wasting hassles for technically knowledgeable people.

Billionaires don't need more money. Many billionaires believe they need people to abuse; they want people they think are socially below them. That was the reason for slavery, too; just rich people wanting to feel that they are superior.

My opinion, but in my experience not far wrong.

Re:Wait a second? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144144)

They did call it the "Quirks Mode" right? Its their Quirk!

Re:Wait a second? (5, Insightful)

spyowl (838397) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Wait a second? (2, Insightful)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144570)


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? (1)

WaHooCrazy7 (1220464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144438)

As a web developer I hate it when it comes to making things work in IE. This is just one of my many issues with microsoft (which is why I use linux boxes). But even for the rendering engine of IE 6, which i've had break with simple HTML once, the HTML 4 standard has been out for how long now? Would it really kill them to make it standards compliant like say opera or fire fox? Same goes for CSS. I wonder when HTML 5 is released how long will it take microsoft to become "compliant" with that in their own terms? Not that it really matters since everyone will just write special IE code anyway...

Re:Wait a second? (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#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. :)

WAAAAAIT! (1, Insightful)

shoolz (752000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144788)

50% of the web would to break the moment IE8 is rolled out. Isn't it kind of nice to have the option as a webmaster to cause IE8 to render it the old way until you've had a chance to undo all your IE6 kludges and prep the site for IE8?

Just Like Before (4, Insightful)

excelblue (739986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143730)

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.

Re:Just Like Before (4, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143964)

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.

Re:Just Like Before (1)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144320)

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 breaking lots of important business applications.

Re:Just Like Before (1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144454)

If IE8 works as advertised and renders in standards-compliance mode, then I suspect eventually no one will care. My existing apps don't break, and any new development I do can be standards-specific as well. If you're developing correctly then you can add that header from a centralized location to all your pages and be done with it. But I don't see how Microsoft cannot set the default engine to behave as IE6 does. That would simply break too many things. They have no choice but to find a balance. This is again a situation they contributed a lot to, but complaining about it won't make it go away. Inside the corporate world people could give a rat's ass about standards or browser-agnostic code or pixel-perfect CSS positioning. They just want their payroll/purchasing/inventory system to work.

If IE8 doesn't deliver on the standards thing and doesn't render the same (or sufficiently close) to Firefox and Opera (not to mention DOM fixes), then this whole thing is moot anyway. I can understand IE7 not being perfectly compliant, but IE8 better be.

Why not create a whitelist for IE6 behaviour? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144532)

Why not create a whitelist for IE6 behaviour?

That way internal ie6 web-apps will work.

Re:Why not create a whitelist for IE6 behaviour? (1, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144614)

That imposes a burden on the company, and that won't fly. Not under the "but we made it standards-compliant" banner. Like I said, in the corporate world no one gives a crap about standards. No one. Why? Because companies standardize on a single browser, and as long as everything works with that then life is good. Even upgrades from IE4->IE5->IE6->IE7 were peanuts in most cases compared to what would happen if IE suddenly decided to try and render every single page as mandated by the W3C.

Re:Just Like Before (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144586)

Only people simply won't bother, they will just write the same crappy nonstandard HTML they have for IE6 because it still works.

Re:Just Like Before (1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144732)

Well I doubt Microsoft can do a lot about that, other than perhaps convincing more people to use their newer tools which output valid [X]HTML.

Re:Just Like Before (3, Insightful)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144738)

The header is touted as a replacement or augmentation of the doctype definition, which is supposedly broken. Well, it's not. IE can't handle doctypes properly because too many pages were designed-for-IE6 with wrong doctypes and leave newer versions no viable path to standard compliance without being treated like other standards compliant browsers (i.e. identifying as something other than IE.)

So, in order to have their cake and eat it too, Microsoft wants IE to be backwards-compatible to IE6 and more modern at the same time. The only way to do that is to make everybody add a redundant tag, and they trashtalk doctype to get their will. But doctype says to which standard a document was written. Microsoft on the other hand wants developers to keep writing pages to browser versions, which is what got us into this mess in the first place.

The correct way to solve this is to make new IE versions identify as something new, like MSWB, and provide an IE6 compatible control for applications which request MSIE. And tell developers to write to standards, not browsers, and test with more than one browser!

Re:Just Like Before (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144558)

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])

Re:Just Like Before (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144662)

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


But that is what they should do. They should do it because it benefits *everybody*. Including themselves.

Such a move is exactly what would be required to get those sites to comply with standards which would make cross-browser compatibility easier. It would improve the web experience better for people who use browsers other than IE. It would make it possible for them to develop and support (and provide security fixes for) fewer rendering engines. The only downside is that it would make it possible for other browsers to compete on features rather than giving IE a huge upper-hand.

The one thing it *wouldn't* do is "break the web". Only Microsoft arrogance (or Microsoft fanboy arrogance) can possibly think that is the case. You certainly couldn't comfortably use Firefox if that was the case. Corporations would hold off on upgrading to IE8 until the sites they needed came into compliance, and the sites would change rapidly since the only relevant ones left that are using IE6/7 quirks are the ones that hang on Microsoft's every word.

Re:Just Like Before (2, Interesting)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144696)

Microsoft is not about to drop compatibility with billions of pages that unfortunately rely on IE6-specific shortcomings and rendering quirks
These 'billions' of pages are broken, or will be definitely broken in a few years, so I don't understand your point, except if you intend to use only Microsoft's software for the next 20 years, and we are not sure what will be the most used browser next year.

The problem is that Microsoft want to keep compatibility with its own old buggy browsers, and in the same time, they try to kill their old software (Windows 2000 died recently).

Why not simply drop the compatibility now ? This will force people to upgrade much faster...

What's so hard about browser standards? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144714)

use Firefox and convince everyone to do as well

That's the rational solution. If the developers at Microsoft had any brains, they would realize that and copy Firefox when doing IE8, the source code is open, under GPL and LGPL. [mozilla.org]

Forcing? Look on the bright side. (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144034)

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

Re:Forcing? Look on the bright side. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144178)

I get that a lot actually.

Unfortunately, I get it when I'm using iceweasel.

Re:Forcing? Look on the bright side. (2, Informative)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144608)

I've had that problem with Scalix and iceweasel. See here [geticeweasel.org] for the fix.

Re:Just Like Before (5, Insightful)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just Like Before (1)

the4thdimension (1151939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144666)

I'd say just ignore it. Unless you are an e-commerce business, its not much of a big deal. For instance, if you run a tech-based web-blog, a majority of your viewers are likely in Opera or Firefox anyway... IMO, this doesn't change much except forcing big-pages that need complete compatibility to add an additional meta tag.

Re:Just Like Before (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144710)

Hence again, MS is imposing its powers of monopoly by forcing us


No one's forcing you to support internet explorer.

Did I catch that right? (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143750)

So, to get IE8 to behave nice, web developers are responsible? huh?

Re:Did I catch that right? (2, Informative)

jessiej (1019654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143908)

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.

Re:Did I catch that right? (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144142)

Developers that create faulty code and don't test it shouldn't be developers...

Re:Did I catch that right? (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144520)

I believe jessiej meant, "and only testing in standards-compliant browsers and not in IE". The whole idea of standards compliance is that once the browsers are compliant any code that does the right thing in one standards-compliant browser works the same elsewhere.

Requiring a non-standard tag to be part of a standards-compliant page isn't standards-compliant. The standards says nothing about adding tags that aren't part of the standards. How could they?

The real fix here would be for MS to either: support IE 6 in making it standards compliant or report to its customers that it is not standards compliant and that pages written for it are not either. Maybe a good work-around for people who broke their sites by writing to IE 6 would be to add a tag that says to use IE 6's render mode. IT shouldn't be the people following the standards who have to make the change.

What MS is counting on two things with this botch. One is that it's the people who didn't care if anything but IE 6 worked who won't be bothered to update anything. The other is that people who cared enough about standards and cross-browser compatibility to do extra work then will care enough about IE 8 now to do a little extra.

let me see if I get this ... (5, Insightful)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143770)

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

Re:let me see if I get this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144188)

Yeah what the fuck is this META bullshit? I have never seen a META tag before. There goes Microsoft using imaginary HTML tags.

Re:let me see if I get this ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144212)

Personally I would like to see developers who shortsightedly developed for a specific browser be punished by having to go back and include a "render in the old broken format" tag in every page instead.

Re:let me see if I get this ... (4, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144240)

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...

Re:let me see if I get this ... (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:let me see if I get this ... (2, Insightful)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144704)

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 web developers set this new hack to "IE=edge" or whatever to be "future-proof"?

As they say, make something idiot-proof, and the universe will just invent better idiots. The only problem is that MS feels the compelling urge to cater to these new, improved, uber-idiots.

Makes Sense (4, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143776)

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.

Re:Makes Sense (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144370)

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.

Re:Makes Sense (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144582)

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.

I think this is a good thing. You can't really expect every page out there to be updated to standard code, but you can at least encourage that all *new* code is standard. I think that's good enough, considering the pickle we're in at the moment.

First (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22143790)


Communist Party First Post.

Vote Communist for a Change

Yes, Microsoft is trying to eat it's own dogfood (1)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143834)

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 (2, Insightful)

gihan_ripper (785510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143860)

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.

Re:An awful first step (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144330)

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.

Re:An awful first step (3, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#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

Not seeing the logic here... (-1, Troll)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143936)

Webmonkey's mental path...

"So, I could add a special tag, and it'll make the browser pickier and my job harder...."

"Yeah, I'll get riiiiight on that".

Seriously, where is the benefit to the web devs to turn on this mode?

Re:Not seeing the logic here... (2, Insightful)

rale, the (659351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144226)

Well, for serious developers, it means only having to look at the documentation on the actual standards, rather than scour the web for information detailing every rendering quirk in IE. Not that I'm defending the idea of having to add an extra tag just to make it work right, but if that's the only option, then it beats the alternative of dealing with random-IE-brokeness.

Re:Not seeing the logic here... (4, Interesting)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144422)

Seriously, where is the benefit to the web devs to turn on this mode?

Gosh, I don't know, being able to save a fuckton of time and effort by writing code to a known and openly-documented standard *and* being able to have things work fairly reliably almost everywhere without having to poke blindly at shit until it works? :P

This always seems to come up, and I'm bewildered by the fact that it does. Here, once again, is the core issue: IE as it stands right now doesn't suck to write code for just because it doesn't follow a particular set of standards, it sucks because there *isn't* a reliable set of standards to use when coding for it. Writing markup etc. for IE isn't a methodical process, but a series of guess-and-test maneuvers and a lot of F5. There's a degree of this to be expected in generating complicated layouts, but it should be towards the end of the process; doing things for IE, this starts way early in the process. It's a time sink. It's akin to, say, getting a kit for building a shed but there not being any instructions -sure you know what a shed looks like, and the pieces themselves -screws, planks of wood, etc. are known to vaguely work in such-and-such a way, and you put it together mostly on trial-and-error, and as long as it stands up and looks approximately correct, it's done. It's stupid, inefficient, and frustrating.

Re:Not seeing the logic here... (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144486)

Seriously, where is the benefit to the web devs to turn on this mode?
The benefit is in only having to write a web page once, instead of 2 or 3 times to accommodate all the differences in the various browsers. I much rather write one standards compliant web page with one extra meta tag that gets ignored by all the correct browsers, if that means that IE finally does what it's supposed to do. Of course, I also think that IE8 should fail the Acid 2 test, because they shouldn't be allowed to add their magic meta tag to the test file. If it can't pass the test normally, it doesn't count as a pass.

Credit where credit is [somewhat] due... (5, Interesting)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143970)

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.

The web was invented in 1989 (5, Funny)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144042)

I've been developing web pages for more years than I can count
You can't count up to 19?

Re:The web was invented in 1989 (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144750)

> I've been developing web pages for more years than I can count

You can't count up to 19?


I'm pretty sure that in the web, you have to count in hex. :)

Re:Credit where credit is [somewhat] due... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144472)

I've been developing web pages for more years than I can count... Yeah, I know a lot of web developers who can't count either.

3 modes are: Quirks, standards, & super standa (1, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143988)

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!

Re:3 modes are: Quirks, standards, & super sta (1)

SickHumour (928514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144148)

Why to do have to add a tag to "say" it's standard.
That way IE knows whether or not you're trying to render the Acid 2 test. :P

I, for one, welcome... (3, Insightful)

rattlesoft (1086131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144028)

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.

http-equiv (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144046)

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 suggested a mechanism similar to the one they will use in Internet Explorer 8 [msdn.com] years ago, I could never understand why this wasn't introduced sooner.

My Suggested Meta Tag (5, Funny)

pergamon (4359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144054)

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-ActMoreLike" content="FireFox" />

Re:My Suggested Meta Tag (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144506)

<meta http-equiv="work-right" content="mostly" />

It would make more sense... (3, Insightful)

TheOnlyJuztyn (813918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144082)

... to have the special meta tag required to get the page to render in IE6/7's "Standards" mode.

Re:It would make more sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144232)

How would that work, all old pages would need to be retrofitted with a new tag to keep working. It's a hell of a lot easier to have NEW pages to add a single Meta-Tag indicating such. This is the method of least impact to existing content.

Re:It would make more sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144254)

But the point is that IE6/7 aren't going to be looking for those tags in the first place. So for backwards compatibility it *has* to be an IE8 opt-in tag.

I'm not too fond of it either, but really adding one specific tag is much nicer than having to add a mess of hacky CSS workarounds.

Mod Parent Up (1)

brentonboy (1067468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144396)

then maybe people would actually *notice* that their sites are designed poorly. an easy fix would be available, but perhaps they would be motivated to bring their site up to par.

Re:Mod Parent Up (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144632)

then maybe people would actually *notice* that their sites are designed poorly. an easy fix would be available, but perhaps they would be motivated to bring their site up to par.

"Designed poorly" is relative to a perceived aesthetic and standards of which the vast majority of the corporate world doesn't give a shit. If the site works and renders correctly on the browser used by 90% of the planet, then it's not designed poorly and doesn't need fixing. It frustrates people like us who don't use IE, which is why it's important to encourage Firefox use, but I can see why most companies didn't care until recently, if at all.

Re:It would make more sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144476)

All you people that are saying this really aren't thinking... It's much easier for a "new" site to add the tag to say it is compliant, than to go back to potentially thousands (hundreds of thousands) of sites and add a tag to say it's not compliant.

Whether you like it or not, the web is what it is, and the "norm" is non-compliance. So it makes complete sense that they default to non-compliance rendering over compliant rendering

Re:It would make more sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144560)

Not really. Billions of pages just wouldn't get updated with the new tag.

How could it have passed Acid2? (5, Insightful)

Len (89493) | more than 6 years ago | (#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!

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (5, Insightful)

Moskie (620227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144236)

They probably ran a closed test that used (forced) this third render mode on the HTML.

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (2, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144316)

You should take the acid, too.

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

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144432)

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.

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144598)

The quote specifically says 'This improved standards mode is the same that was recently reported to pass the Acid2 test..'.

In other words, when IE is running in this standards mode, it can pass Acid2. And I'm pretty sure the IE developers can programmatically enable it for testing. They could even enable it and then browse to sites like, oh, I don't know... the Acid2 test? The fact that you need a META tag to run IE in standards mode doesn't mean that standards mode can't pass Acid2.

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144652)

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!

It could be that the "tag" is the code from the Acid2 test.

Re:How could it have passed Acid2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144654)

That's easy: special-case the test URL.

Jump when MS says JUMP motherfucka! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144108)

Yes, Mr Gates et al, I would be happy to insert this tag into my ... code.

javascript compatibility (3, Interesting)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:javascript compatibility (2, Interesting)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144324)

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.

Wait.. (1)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144152)

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-arounds to memory and worrying about whether the next iteration of IE has the problem that allows the hack to work in the first place fixed, or just broken differently enough to break the hack. Really, it's the next-best solution to standards compliance, as far as markup and CSS-based styling go.

So: what the fuck's the point of this new meta-tag? If we've been fixing for IE the way they've formally suggested over the past few years, the conditional comments for

The only thing that comes to mind is anything developed exclusively for IE. But beyond some strictly-internal stuff on company intranets and the like, what serious professional has been doing that over the past 3-4 years? It's easier to build to known standards and fix for that one product than it is to build to an unknown mangling of standards.

So the only thing that comes to mind: they're looking to roll this out *fast* and provide an optional as opposed to mandated transition. Hopefully those modes supporting the old busted way of doing things will become deprecated after a few releases. Seriously: who *isn't* looking forward to that day when it gets easier?

please kill the tagging beta (1, Insightful)

texwtf (558874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144170)

... stupidfucksjustdontgetit (tagging beta)

Is this really helpful to anyone, anyone at all?

Tagging sucks and is also stupid and unhelpful. Can we kill it now, please?

Re:please kill the tagging beta (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144412)

I love the tags some people make. Most often they give a good picture of whats going on if you combine them. The funny ones like the one you complain about i would hate to go away.

as long as they don't touch my <blink> tag (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144202)

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

The More Things Change... (1)

Nitroadict (1005509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144220)

Should anyone be surprised? Wait a second, here... not just ONE, not just TWO, but ... THREE?! THREE MODES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE?! Sounds like quite a bargain to me. Markup validation? NO PROBLEM! Quirks mode? WE GOT YOU COVERED. What's next? It slices, it dices?

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself, & neither should you. I Jim Carrey-as-Riddler laughed my ass off knowing full that they would mandate that web designers would have to start using tags that they create in order for anything to be compliant or work in their precious 'browsar'.

MS is already screwing things up; the ACID2 test was just some odd aberration of 2007. I'm just going to sit back and laugh as history repeats itself.

If only Maxthon would refine the Trident engine; the Chinese would make mincemeat of IE.

In summary (4, Funny)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144230)

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.

No the best, but better than I had hoped for. (5, Insightful)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144244)

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.

Re:No the best, but better than I had hoped for. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144766)

It's their fucking fault, they should eat it, not all of us.

the tag is against Google (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144280)

The tag is actually there only to scramble Google's search results.


you don't know, It could be true.

So when they release IE 15 (2, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144480)

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.

Guess it's time for a new hard drive. (1)

lone bear (67361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144544)

Or it will be when this monstrosity comes out. Being kinder than need be, one can expect this to be a whole number multiple in size of IE6 or 7. 3 different incompatible engines!?!? Wow!

Buy your HDD stock now while it's cheap. ;/

5-years to ruin a standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144688)

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

So, by ignoring DOCTYPE and any rendering enhancements for 5 years, while the world progressed forward, MS inadvertently killed the spec. No matter how you slice it, it's still their fault.

IE6 had a dominating marketshare over an unprecedented period of time, making it a de-facto web standard, and MS completely stalled development on it. Given that web technologies constantly evolve, I call it negligence.

Can't they just patch IE6, and leave the unpatched to be damned?
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