IE8 standards mode opt‐in revealed

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

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 planet.mozilla.org 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!