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WaSP Round Table: IE8′s Default Version Targeting Behavior

By Aaron Gustafson | February 24th, 2008 | Filed in Browsers, General, Microsoft, Microsoft TF, Opinion

One week ago, several WaSP members took the time to have a virtual sit-down with Chris Wilson of Microsoft to talk about IE8′s proposed default behavior of having to opt-in for the browser’s new standards mode.

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On 16 February, Web Standards Project Members Faruk AteĊŸ, Porter Glendinning, and I got together with Chris Wilson, Platform Architect for Internet Explorer to talk about IE8′s proposed default version targeting behavior of having to opt-in to the browser’s new standards mode.

As you may recall, the version targeting opt-in requires developers to use the new X-UA-Compatible HTTP header (or the meta equivalent) in order to take advantage of the standards-based layout and scripting improvements in the IE8. Under the current setup, any page/server not opting-in to would continue to render and behave as though it were being viewed in IE7, even if the site was being viewed on IE8, IE9, or IE1000. This doesn’t sit well with many standards-aware developers who think that the IE team got it backwards; many of them believe that you should have to opt-in to keep your site from being interpreted by newer layout and scripting engines. (Folks interested in hearing both sides of that argument should check out the latest issue of A List Apart, where Jeremy Keith and Jeffrey Zeldman square off on the topic.)

In our “round table” discussion, we talked about several proposals from the community that could help bring IE8′s standards mode to the masses, including:

  • encouraging Microsoft to ship a patch to IIS that automatically targets sites run on that server to IE7 (in hopes of avoiding the potentially catastrophic impact IE8 may have on intranets and the like);
  • shipping the IE8 beta with standards mode on by default just to see how many sites break; and
  • making IE8 a standalone browser, capable of being run side-by-side with IE7 to allow users the flexibility of using one broswer for some sites and the other for other sites.

If you are interested in listening to or reading a transcript of the discussion, you can do so by following one of these links:

I’d like to give special thanks to fellow WaSPs Glenda Sims and Steph Troeth for organizing, producing, and transcribing this Round Table.

This buzz has been translated into Polish.

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#1 On February 24th, 2008 3:27 pm