Bertrand Le Roy had a post over the weekend (actually Friday, but I missed it) about the new IE8 meta-tag fix for standards mode... Well, Bertrand through support for the author over at ArsTechnica. As a web guy I have given this all some thought.
First of all so you don't have to slough through the 2 pages on ARS let me give you the summary version:
- IE 5.5 and before was very standards non-complaint. It had numerous rendering issues that web designers had to figure out how to work around.
- With IE6, MS tried to fix this by using the DOCTYPE attribute of the page to switch between "standards mode" (the more standard compliant, but not fully compliant IE) and "quirks mode" (the less standard more in line with the way IE used to work). "Quirks mode" was the default if there was no DOCTYPE or if there was an older DOCTYPE
- The IE7 came, and MS used the same 2 mechanisms. The problem was two-fold. Alot of web design tools go ahead and push in a DOCTYPE, effectively turning off "quirks mode."
- The second issue was that IE7 fixed some of the standards renderings, but also created issues where designers had worked through an issue with IE6, and now it was either fixed in IE7 giving an awful rendering of the page (or in some case --I imagine-- IE7 broke something that was working)
- The IE team has the mentality that they don't want to "break the web." (Hurray for you guys)
- With IE8 the suggestion is that a new mode will be introduced that will be handled via a meta tag. The meta tag would effectively create a new "IE8" standards mode... and any future versions of IE would respect this mode render it in an "IE8 standards" mode (which begs the question will there be an IE9 standards mode and an IE10 mode, etc.
I think IE becoming more standard compliant is a good thing. Even if it means that IE x.0 breaks IE (x-1).0's renderings. I know this is a pain (I have been there). I have also written about my pains with other browsers (most notably Safari... FireFox has never really given me fits, FWIW). I'm not certain this is a good idea. Well, I don't think expanding IE's size over the next few versions is a good idea. I wonder if it wouldn't be possible for us to create an archive of IE browsers and somehow notify IE what we have... also what is the point of reaching back to several old versions (that's what I read into this proposal). Wouldn't one version do the trick? I mean if IE8 breaks a web site that was all the rage in the IE4 days isn't that OK? I mean I own software that old... but I don't use it for anything too critical and if it doesn't run on my Windows Vista machine I am perfectly OK with that (it's old... use a VM or in this case an older browser).
Just my thoughts...
| posted on Monday, January 28, 2008 10:52 AM