Don’t forget, your web browser is your first blogging tool and it pays to pay attention to what’s happening in the browser industry. Recently, Internet Explorer developers announced that version 8 has passed the Acid2 test, an indication that Internet Explorer 8 will be more web standards compatible than ever before.
As a team, we’ve spent the last year heads down working hard on IE8. Last week, we achieved an important milestone that should interest web developers. IE8 now renders the “Acid2 Face” correctly in IE8 standards mode.
…Acid2 is one test of how modern browsers work with some specific features across several different web standards.
…The key goal (for the Web Standards Project as well as many other groups and individuals) is interoperability. As a developer, I’d prefer to not have to write the same site multiple times for different browsers. Standards are a (critical!) means to this end, and we focus on the standards that will help actual, real-world interoperability the most. As a consumer and a developer, I expect stuff to just work, and I also expect backwards compatibility. When I get a new version of my current browser, I expect all the sites that worked before will still work.
The last sentence is key. In order to work, IE8 must not only meet or beat web standards in coding and browser interpretation, but it must be backwards compatible.
The claim that all IE hacks could be done away with to get ready for IE7 was a joke. Removing them made your site break with older versions of Internet Explorer. Not as many users upgraded, or reverted as their upgrades failed, as Microsoft hoped. IE7 did not become the instant standard browser for the world.
Many WordPress Themes and Plugins had to be updated to comply with IE7, while still making their code backwards compatible, which was frustrating to many. Even now, I still occasionally have to add hacks to talk only to past versions of Internet Explorer in my web designs when I test them across various browsers. It’s really frustrating.
Will IE8 live up to the promises the browser should have lived up to many years ago? It’s passed the first tests in development. Let’s hope that it keeps on passing, and that installation issues that plagued it are fixed, too.
As to when IE8 is going to be released, the report is that they are currently in beta testing.
We have a responsibility to respect the work that sites have already done to work with IE. We must deliver improved standards support and backwards compatibility so that IE8 (1) continues to work with the billions of pages on the web today that already work in IE6 and IE7 and (2) makes the development of the next billion pages, in an interoperable way, much easier. We’ll blog more, and learn more, about this during the IE8 beta cycle.
Personally, I’m tired of fighting Internet Explorer. Other than for testing web designs, I haven’t used it for several years. There are such better browsers out there.