The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the Windows 7 Beta) includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users when they visit web sites that are not yet ready for IE8’s new, more standards-compliant defaults. This blog post describes the technical background and how this new functionality works.
A Brief History of Standards, Interoperability, Compatibility, and IE8
As we improve the interoperability of Internet Explorer by delivering better implementations of web standards, some users may face compatibility issues with sites that rely on the behavior of previous versions of Internet Explorer.
With IE8’s Beta 1 release, Microsoft demonstrated its commitment to interoperability by making the most standards-compliant default view for web pages IE’s default. This is a good thing for the next billion web pages. We think that developers will have an easier time building interoperable sites on top of IE8’s strong platform work (like CSS 2.1, a better Document Object Model, ARIA, and cross-domain requests (XDR) and cross document messaging (XDM) and our start on HTML5 support).
The problem is that some of today’s web pages might expect the old, less interoperable behavior from IE. These web pages might not function correctly, in ways ranging from just looking a bit misaligned to not working at all.
This scenario is exactly why we’re committed to interoperability and doing the standards work we’re doing in IE8. People who develop web sites and people who use sites want them to just work. Previously, some versions of IE released while some key standards were still under construction and before standards efforts had started for other key technologies. The most important thing we can do now is deliver better interoperability for a better web, with as few compatibility issues as possible so that end-users adopt it.
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