IE8 standards mode opt-in revealed

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The Inter­net Explor­er team announced today that we will have to opt in to using the improved stan­dards sup­port in future ver­sions of their brows­er, by means of a meta dec­la­ra­tion in the head of our documents:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />

This is obvi­ous­ly a big deal, as shown by the fact that A List Apart have ded­i­cat­ed their lat­est release to it; first in the arti­cle Beyond DOCTYPE by Aaron Gustafson, which explains the rea­sons for the new switch, then From Switch­es to Tar­gets by Eric Mey­er, in which approval is giv­en, albeit with reservations.

I haven’t seen any response from the oth­er brows­er man­u­fac­tur­ers yet, but I won­der if this method of ver­sion tar­get­ing pro­vides any advan­tage for them? After all, Fire­fox, Safari, and Opera seem to have done a good job of improv­ing stan­dards sup­port with­out need­ing opt-ins.

Hope­ful­ly, IE8 will be per­fect­ly stan­dards-com­pat­i­ble and won’t need any cor­rec­tive cod­ing (as we cur­rent­ly have to use for IE6 & IE7); if this is the case, the only added work for us will be adding the extra meta declaration.

I’m fair­ly ambiva­lent on this announce­ment, to be hon­est; it’s a fair solu­tion to the prob­lem that Microsoft face, but the prob­lem it solves is of their own making.

3 comments on
“IE8 standards mode opt-in revealed”

  1. By the look of things Opera (well, David Sto­ry and Hal­lvord Steen), Safari (Maciej Sta­chowiak) and Mozil­la (all of cur­rent) are ignor­ing this with regards to imple­ment­ing it themselves.

  2. […] opt-in switch has cre­at­ed quite a stir in the web devel­op­ment com­mu­ni­ty. As I not­ed yes­ter­day, the reac­tion from the oth­er brows­er mak­ers would be quite impor­tant — and it looks as if they’re […]

  3. @Robin: Just as you were leav­ing this com­ment, I was writ­ing my lat­est post say­ing the very same thing!