Unintentionally Blank

Phil Nash on the Internet, Web Standards and Accessibility

IE8 Team Change Their Mind, Then Release First Beta

Mar 05, 2008

by Phil Nash

It's all go in the developer community this week and Microsoft are at the centre of it all!

Version Targeting Missed The Target

First, on Monday, Dean Hachamovitch posted about Microsoft's Interoperability Principles and IE8. The point of the post was to change their mind over the version targeting idea, no longer will the default mode for Internet Explorer be IE7's rendering mode. Standards support has now been seen to be of top priority, as is working like the other browsers. This is also in response to the feedback from the community.

Not my feedback, of course, I eventually decided I approved of the original idea so that web site owners who had no idea what web standards were wouldn't be battered by another round of breaking sites like when IE7 was released. One of the more important lines from Dean's post seemed to me to be:

[T]his choice creates a clear call to action to site developers to make sure their web content works well in IE.

Now it is up to everyone who owns a site to make sure it works in IE8 or add the meta tag to ensure IE7 rendering. It's a big job, but we can start now!

IE8 Beta 1 Released

Yes, it's here! IE8 Beta 1 is available for download now! I'm writing this on a Mac at the moment, but I look forward to getting my hands on it, testing my sites and experiments, testing the web in general. Things to look forward to, as developers, in the new IE are:

  • Full CSS 2.1 support
  • Better scripting performance (though, according to comments on the IEblog article, this hasn't been optimised for this beta, so will seem slower)
  • Early support for HTML5
  • Built in developer tools

...and much more!

A Bright New Future

So, I don't mind that the IE team changed their mind. It means less thinking for me, as I don't have to add meta tags or HTML 5 DOCTYPES, and it means that progressive enhancement lives on as we know it. The issue of multiple rendering engines (IE 6, 7 and 8 to start with, it sounds like) and the weight and complexity of it will still be a question but one that should be answered soon. Finally, it is nice to see the product of all this work and debate and get to grips with it. I will try not to turn this blog into a report on IE8's wins and losses (like Jonathan Snook's Twitter stream earlier!) but I am fascinated by the arrival of the newest version of the world's most popular browser.

All in all it is a bright future for web development and this first beta is a peek into that future of standards support across the board. Let's hope it is a good peek.

Unintentionally Blank is Phil Nash's thoughts on web development from 2006-2008. Any code or opinions may be out of date.