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
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.