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Internet Explorer 8 Getting Ready for You

Internet Explorer 8 Getting Ready for You

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.

We hope.

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.

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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.

View Comments (11)
  • I am forced to use IE when visiting my in laws. I am always grateful for the experience though as it makes me not only respect my Firefox, but also my broadband connection.

    Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning…

    Still, it will be nice to see a standards-compliant browser become the stock and trade of the Web. I am hoping that it will take off, at least with the current IE6 and IE7 crowd…

  • I also use Internet Explorer primarily for webdesign testing. I also use it for a lot of (commercial and governmental) sites that I use for administration purposes such as T-mobile which only work on IE.

    @Jonathan Bailey: I always install Firefox on family members’ computers whenever they ask me to fix their computers ;) I’ve never heard anyone complain about switching their default browser, I guess that means they’re satisfied ;)

  • Annie: I do install FF on my family member’s machines including this one. The rub is that I don’t want to use the same browser as they to avoid logging them out of their sites to get into mine. It’s a courtesy thing.

    Now, if I were smart. I’d have a USB drive and portable Firefox with me at all times. THAT is what I need to be doing…

  • I think the problem Microsoft faces with Internet Explorer is the fact they have been the “standard” for many users and designers. To break away like Netscape did would be a mistake as Netscape never recovered.

    I think it is more difficult for web developers and designers, because we expect either for all of the past bugs to still “work” as they did or for all of the standards that work on Firefox/Safari/Opera to work on IE as they do on the other browsers.

    It should probably be noted that IE might be the last popular browser to pass the Acid2 test. Firefox 3 has already passed the test a while ago and Safari and Opera have done so for longer than Firefox.

    The main concern going forward for IE is that they want to support the standards that the other browsers have fully supported years ago. The other browsers are already working on CSS3 and a few almost have a finished working spec of CSS3. Firefox has some support, but IE most likely will not have any.

    Designers and developers want to move towards SVG, XHTML 2, HTML 5, JavaScript 2, etc technology. The rate IE is going, it may be until IE 9 before we get even basic support for these technologies.

    Firefox seems to be the lone wolf in moving towards supporting JavaScript 2, but I haven’t heard any word from Safari and Opera (I do believe they are also working towards full JS 2 support and I think they will get it finished even before Firefox).

    The slowness might be an benefit in that users will eventually move towards IE once more and more of their sites begin to not function as most of the web moves towards supporting IE7 as a minimim when IE 9 comes out.

    I still see users on IE 5 and IE 4! Good luck to them. However, from the site statistics that I work on, we get about half and half with IE 7 losing of IE 6 and IE 7 users. About 5% Firefox, so it is just barely worth supporting them.

    Well, I think also, that you have an barrier for the users who are still using Windows 98. They will have to upgrade to even be able to consider upgrading to a later IE version. IE 8 will also probably be the last version to be ported to WinXP. So unless the user is on Vista when IE 9 comes out in 2010, I don’t see many people upgrading to IE 9 either.

  • @Jacob Santos:

    You made some very good points. I have a lot of friends who are still using Windows98, and if they upgraded, did not go past IE6. Most of these people live outside of the United States, but not all. I have one family member in the midwest still using a computer from the 1980s who refuses to upgrade, though he thinks about it now and then. It works for him. Of course, he is rarely on the Internet. :D

  • i cant wait for IE8 it just means stiffer competion for FF and other browsers available out there. stiffer competition, better products, hopefully!

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