Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Internet Explorer 8: This is progress?

Internet Explorer 8 passes the Acid2 test. Huzzah!

But waitaminnit… What’s this stuff about forward compatibility by adding some new X-UA-Compatible header to my pages or my server? Am I reading this right? Are you telling me that in order for IE8 to use its fully compliant rendering, we have to add something new to our pages? And that if we don’t, it will fall back to rendering pages just like IE7? Is that what this means?

That’s just dumb.

Screw their stupid “don’t break the web” motto. Break it! Break the web in the name of progress! How will we ever move forward if you keep dragging us back? And while you’re at it, quit trying to misdirect us with that “don’t break the web” nonsense. Putting out a browser with excellent CSS support is not “breaking the web”, it’s fixing it! There’s no real shame in putting out a better product, and admitting that the previous versions had flaws. This is a concept called “continuous incremental improvement”.

There has already been a lot of reaction from the web development community. There are several big names behind the idea. There are several big names against it. I’m not a big name, but I fall in the latter camp. This is not “forward compatibility”, it’s not “forward” anything. This is keeping progress of the Internet Explorer browser and adoption of better standards at a crawl instead of letting them make an evolutionary jump.

Oh, and unless I’m missing something here, there was already a mechanism in place that the IE team has already encouraged web developers to use, which could do the same job: conditional comments. What’s that? Oh yeah, there are problems with that, too.

If you need more reading material on this subject, check out Mark Pilgrim’s links. At the time of this writing, he has pointers to 29 articles, and I’m sure there will be more.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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