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Lead program manager for IE Chris Wilson has committed to improving standards support in Internet Explorer 7.

While Chris doesn’t provide many details about what improvements will be made just yet, he does say that IE’s rendering in ‘quirks mode’ won’t see any changes that might ‘break’ legacy sites. He expressly notes, though, that such changes are possible in ‘strict mode’. That’s excellent news, as it means the IE team is open to making changes that would bring IE’s behavior closer to the CSS 2.1 recommendation.

More, Chris explicitly cites Position is Everything, and other sites that document IE’s shortcomings. Dare we hope to see an IE with a sane float: implementation?

It’s also worth noting that Chris has considerable cred where standards are concerned: he has been Microsoft’s representative to various W3C working groups and he wrote the CSS implementation for IE 3. While that implementation was extremely limited, CSS wasn’t even a full recommendation when IE 3 was relased and its partial implementation gave a tantalizing glimpse of what was to come.

While it won’t be time to celebrate until we actually get our hands on a final IE 7 release that actually does raise the bar for standards support — hopefully to levels that will have Safari, Opera and Firefox developers scrambling to catch up — Chris’ post is more reason for optimism than this CSS hack has had for a long, long time.

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