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Microsoft Embraces Standards For IE8

Fear of possible "legal and regulatory" issues likely motivated Microsoft to enable three rendering modes for the next version of the Internet Explorer browser.

Microsoft's rendering gyrations in its widely-used web browser gave web designers fits over the years. Pages needing special tweaks to overcome IE oddities like its handling of CSS meant designers had to practically design the same pages twice.

A nice round-up of standards compliance on HTML, CSS, DOM, and ECMAScript for IE, Firefox, and Opera may be found at Web Devout. We imagine web designers will look at the browser support comparison there and nod their heads in grim agreement.

A silver lining appeared in the cloud of Internet Explorer rendering with Microsoft's announcement of better support for web standards.

"Microsoft is now configuring the settings in Internet Explorer 8, the upcoming version of its browser, to render content - by default - using methods that give top priority to Web standards interoperability," they said.

Web designers may be stunned to read this quote from chief software architect Ray Ozzie: "Even in its first beta, IE8 correctly renders the popular test known as ‘Acid2,’ which was created by the Web community to promote real-world interoperability," he said.

The Acid2 test demonstrates a browser's compliance with HTML and CSS standards. Viewing it under IE7 and other versions of Internet Explorer returns a result that isn't even close to the reference rendering.

But having been stung recently by another fine from the European Union over its business practices, Microsoft found the motivation to make IE8 behave. IE8 will have three rendering modes in place to accomplish this:

Internet Explorer 8 has been designed to include three rendering modes: one that reflects Microsoft’s implementation of current Web standards, a second reflecting Microsoft’s implementation of Web standards at the time of the release of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, and a third based on rendering methods dating back to the early Web. The newest rendering mode is forward-looking and preferred by Web designers, while the others are present to enable compatibility with the myriad sites across the Web that are currently optimized for previous versions of Internet Explorer.

"While we do not believe there are currently any legal requirements that would dictate which rendering mode must be chosen as the default for a given browser, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.

Source : technozone