IEArrrggggghhh

I should probably clarify the title: surprisingly enough, it’s nothing to do with pirates (me hearties). Apparently IE8 is going to be released this week (well, soon).

They claim that it has much better (standards-compliant) rendering – that you won’t have to basically break your page in order to make your page work with IE. (Although… well, I’ll get to that). It passes the Acid2 test. In short, it’s supposed to fix a lot of the problems that were caused by IE6 and only partially fixed in IE7.

This can only be a good thing, right? Well, not necessarily. I think Microsoft are caught a bit between a rock and a hard place: if they make IE8 standards compliant, they’re going to break older pages. Particularly internal web applications which can’t be updated. But, if they don’t make IE8 standards compliant, they’re not making any progress and the web is going to continue with its current bizarre system of designing for standards compliance and Internet Explorer.

What Microsoft have opted to do in this situation is implement two or three rendering engines – the IE8 engine, and the IE6/7 engine which will be used to render old and non standards compliant web pages. Whether this was a good idea, I don’t know. I personally think it’s going to add to the confusion – but then, I don’t know what else Microsoft could have done in the circumstance. If they could invent a time machine, go back in time and remove the abomination that is IE6 that would probably be the best option! But unfortunately it isn’t.

But if IE8 does render pages ‘properly’ if they are standards compliant, as a web development community we are moving to a place where the web should have been a decade ago: where your markup / CSS is what’s important and you don’t have to try and hack things for different browsers. IE has held back the web dev community long enough, let’s hope IE8 starts bringing in the changes.

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3 thoughts on “IEArrrggggghhh

  1. I discovered from when I had to reinstall XP SP1 on the old desktop that my website – the menu bar, in particular – doesn’t work as intended in IE6. I decided I just didn’t care. If you’re daft enough to still be using IE6, then you deserve all you get. Harsh, but fair 😉

  2. I don’t think the problem lies in IE6 itself – remember of course that IE5.5 was before it, and that was even worse. What it all boils down to though is that people are still allowed to use IE6. MS forced people to upgrade from IE5.5, but forgot to make it compulsory after that, so people never bothered. IE8 may well give us web developers more freedom to design better web sites, in the same way that IE7 did, but we’re only going to be able to completely remove the curse of IE6 by forcing people to upgrade. I suppose it’s a case of the freedom of a few limiting the freedom of the many.

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