Internet Explorer 8 Passes Acid2 Test

Microsoft has let the world know that Internet Explorer 8 will support web standards.

It has taken Microsoft years to recognise that developers want to have a web browser that supports web standards. According to Microsoft this was completed before Opera filing their complaint against IE not supporting web standards.

In a blog post on the IE Blog Microsoft states that IE8 will beta in the first quarter of 2008 and lots of details will be revealed at Mix 08.

View: IE Blog

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The dilemma here now is all of us web developers will STILL have to keep supporting IE6/IE7 for a good while. While I complement the IE's team ability to pass the Acid2 test, it would be even better if Microsoft could slipstream the IE8 rendering engine into IE7/IE6 as a mandatory update. The same concept would apply. Only run in true standards mode if IE8 is set for the meta tag - Would save millions of devs a hell of a lot of work

"Now, with all that context, I’m delighted to tell you that on Wednesday, December 12, Internet Explorer correctly rendered the Acid2 page in IE8 standards mode."

I wish they'd clarify that. Standards mode? At first glance I like the sound of that: it means sites designed for IE will still work, but then you have the option to switch to this Standards Mode to view web pages "properly". Still, part of me just thinks it will be something like IE tab for Firefox, or something, and break everything.

If you write the page properly, it renders it in standards mode, if you write it badly, it will be in quirks mode.

Every browser already does it (Firefox has 3 modes, quirks, almost-standard and standards mode), IE6 does it, etc. It's like backwards compatibility for old sites.

There is NO SUCH THING as "Web Standards". There are recommendations, but there is no true "Web Standards". So sick and tired of clueless people.

LOL
All this time I thought IE7 ran the test perfectly. It reminds me why I switched from IE back then and how much I used to swear when I was developping websites.

Very very good. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I hope this means they have fixed the root of the rendering problems and redone the engine rather than just adding fixes on like they did with 7.

The problem is that IE6 is still out there and used by WAY too many people. Microsoft really need to do a "install it or **** off" thing with IE8 to finally get people to upgrade their browsers. At the moment the main arguments againsts updating to IE7 are afaik these:

1) "Why? All websites work just fine on IE6." Well of course they do, because web developers are forced to support IE6. We web devs could save lots of time if we didn't need to work around IE6's quirks and flaws. If all web developers started ignoring IE6 people would be forced to update because they'd finally see why that browser is a piece of ****.

2) "Our system doesn't work on IE7." This is merely a case of **** code/markup and it's certainly a big problem for many companies. Maybe MS needs something insane like IE6 compatibility mode or something to alleviate this problem. Of course the better solution would be for those companies to just suck it up and have their stuff fixed.

So I'm all for a forced update to IE8 on all Windows versions.

As for IE8 itself, I truly hope they take a long look at their competitors especially in the performance department. IE7 often just hangs and takes a long time to load a website or does it instantly if you hit refresh. It's little things like this that make it suck. I think the user interface on it is actually pretty good because it's compact. I wish MS had opted to make the "hidden file etc menus until alt is pressed" a default (and working) on all applications.

Nicholas-c said,
still doesn't mean it will be good :P (took them 8 versions to get it right >.>)

k that doesn't count because:

- everyone versions their product differently. Mac OS is on X .. the 10th .. but the 10th has 5 subversions? (Which aren't service packs and all cost about 130$, sigh)
- 1 and 2 basically don't count as they weren't mass market
- 3 and 4 were completely different programs then modern day browsers. different market, different web, different users...

so by that take .. it's only been 5, 5.5, 6, 7.
Took them 5x to get it perfect. Which seems fair to me.

IMHO, the IE browser is still one of the best...
(if only Adobe could learn to make DESCENT software .. like Flash plugins :@)

3 and 4 were completely different programs then modern day browsers. different market, different web, different users...

lol...what?

TRC said,

lol...what?

I think what he means was that back then we didn't have all the fancy web2.0 and CSS stuff we have today. IE3 and 4 (4 was a great browser for it's day, it blew Netscape away back then.) didn't have to work with a load of different things like today.

That's what he means by different web, different market and so on. It was all basic html and text in those days, you'd be lucky if you even saw any type of pictures/graphics on a website.

GP007 said,
It was all basic html and text in those days,...

No it wasn't. I was there. True, if you went to purely "hypertext" academic sites then there weren't many images, but they tended to be legacy document repositories that had been updated for the "new" http protocol (remember gopher? Kickarse. How about WAIS? Supreme stuff).
...you'd be lucky if you even saw any type of pictures/graphics on a website.

Thanks to Mosaic, graphics appeared all over the place.

IE3 was ages after Mosaic and the original Netscape (anybody else remember: "it's spelled N-e-t-s-c-a-p-e but pronounced Mozilla"?), which lest we forget allowed frameset sites to flourish.

IE4 brought in the vainglorous era of having Desktop Content to slow your super-fast DX4-100 Win95 box to a crawl, but JavaScript was alive and well and quite happy, having long been in Netscape (as ActiveScript before they changed the name). DHTML was "born" (I've got an ancient Microsoft book on it), and, arguably, Remote Scripting in an early form was possible (there was a Java applet you could use, see Brent Ashley's site), yet it took until more browsers handled XmlHttp (which IE had since v5) and various Google sites before the explosion of "Web 2.0" sites occurred.

GP007 said,
It was all basic html and text in those days, you'd be lucky if you even saw any type of pictures/graphics on a website.

It was all about SGML in those days. Structure, structure, structure!!!

It's a little bit late in the game to just now decide to conform to standards. IE's historical legacy of having ****ty standards will continue to carry forward no matter what Microsoft does. Unless Microsoft does something drastic to improve their browser, IE will always be inferior and use limited to only Microsoft Update in my eyes.

Lets just be honest here, its doesnt matter what they do you will never have anything good to say. Oh and by the way, they did do something drastic to improve their browser, its called IE7. Its the first MS browser I will actually use. Gigantic improvement and now add this news and you're running out of excuses, Skippy.

I always feel In have to qualify my statements by saying I have always disliked IE and think Opera has been the best browser for a good 6 years now with Firefox a ver y close contender especially in the last few years..IE has never been even close until IE7.

I disagree. While IE7 is a huge improvement compared to IE6, it still doesn't come close to browsers like Safari, Opera, and Firefox that have had good standards compliance and have already had all the features IE7 has for a very long time.

Xilo said,
I disagree. While IE7 is a huge improvement compared to IE6, it still doesn't come close to browsers like Safari, Opera, and Firefox that have had good standards compliance and have already had all the features IE7 has for a very long time.

Safari??? Come on now Safari? Safari is the biggest piece of rubbish browser ever. There are so many things wrong with its not even funny. Yuck!

Safari on the Mac is actually pretty good. The Windows one, yes, is crap.

You do know Safari was the first browser to completely pass the Acid2 Test... This was back in 2005.

As I remember it, Safari is based off of the browser in KDE. So maybe we should thank the KDE guys for passing the ACid2 test first?

GP007 said,
As I remember it, Safari is based off of the browser in KDE. So maybe we should thank the KDE guys for passing the ACid2 test first?

Not that Webcore appreciation issue, again... And Safari passed first.

It doesnt matter if it passes the test.... it just means its a bit better. Opera has behaved weird with sites ive created, and Opera is far from perfect as some claim.

I created a page that was HTML and CSS only and standards compliant - there was no Javascript or anything doing anything to the page. When you load the page it appears fine ... try and resize the page smaller using the diagonal drag from the corner - oh noes it doesnt work (however you can use this method to make the page bigger)... also I could resize using the horizontal and vertical resizing, just the diagonal smaller resizing doesnt work. I told and showed Opera this but apparently it wasnt Operas fault, and Ive had numerous people look at my source and no-one can find anything wrong. - I can only presume Opera isnt perfect as it worked fine in the latest versions of IE and Firefox.

That is a strange problem, I have been using Opera for more than 2 years now, and have never seen a problem like that (and FYI nobody claims Opera is perfect unless they are immensly ignorant), but the odds are that was a UI bug, not a rendering bug, as a web browser does not re-render the page when you modify the size of the window, the graphics card merely re-paints the window.

plastikaa said,
Opera has behaved weird with sites ive created, and Opera is far from perfect as some claim.

who claims that it is perfect?

it should be blatantly obvious that opera cannot be perfect when it not only has to implement proper standards, but also be compatible with msie.

Relativity_17 said,
They rolled out IE6 for Win98, didn't they?

but not 95! All they needed to do was add a few extra files but no, they slacked off from that and left it at IE 5.5
Well at least I can roll with the old days on my NT 4 box with MSN messenger 5, old sk00l style

I can't see them making it Vista-only compatible. Windows XP isn't going anywhere at the moment and it would be foolhardy to lock XP users out of the opportunity.

I can't wait to try it out. I try to be loyal to Microsoft with products, and this includes using IE 7 instead of Firefox (I like it better anyways), so this will be nice to have a more frequently-updated and standards compliant browser!

Citrusleak said,
I can't wait to try it out. I try to be loyal to Microsoft with products, and this includes using IE 7 instead of Firefox (I like it better anyways), so this will be nice to have a more frequently-updated and standards compliant browser!

True true, but of course if you consider your "standard" as the web itself, IE7 is the most standards compliant browser, hehe.

Anyways, that blog post has a listing of IE8 source files... wouldn't those be fun to have?

Citrusleak said,
I try to be loyal to Microsoft with products

uh, what?

why on earth would anyone be loyal to a certain company rather than look at the quality of the product?

d_ralphie said,

uh, what?

why on earth would anyone be loyal to a certain company rather than look at the quality of the product?

Take a look at eaters of the fruit over there

This is great news, now if only they can prove it's not just using case specific hacks, and people had any confidence that this giant leap forward, wasn't the only leap forward they plan for the next 5 to 10 years.

All other browsers will be looking to implement HTML5 and/or XHTM2 as soon as it's meaningful, will developers be stuck for another decade as MS ignores upcoming standards, or new standards as they roll out?

JamesWeb said,
Courtesy please, we don't yawn through your precious Mac articles.

Read what I put on them and you might notice I completely slag off apple / mac as much as I can.
IE CSS: Too little, too late

I hope this coming new softwares from MS are better than Vista...Please don't rush and put out half baked products..

Justin03248 said,
This is a bad time for Opera to sue.

Except they didn't sue; they lodged a complaint with the European Commission for anti-competitive behaviour. For some unfathomable reason, most people don't seem to be able to understand the difference.

Justin03248 said,
This is a bad time for Opera to sue.

Good point actually .. would they have told us this news in dec '07 when they originally intented to blow us away @ MIX '08 in march if Opera didn't file complaint?

(yeah that sentence sucks, sorry)

That's great news, although I always forget that what they 'say' their products will have is different to what their products actually have (WinFS anyone?).

Anyway, let's just hope they stick to it, as that would really make my job easier.

Sazz181 said,
That's great news, although I always forget that what they 'say' their products will have is different to what their products actually have (WinFS anyone?).

Anyway, let's just hope they stick to it, as that would really make my job easier.

And what would you have done with WinFS that you can't do in Vista already?

Marshalus said,

And what would you have done with WinFS that you can't do in Vista already?


Avoid storing metadata in the files themselves. Storing custom metadata in files, and of custom file types, and using that information to organize the information with. All these things are actually already possible in NTFS through NTFS streams, even in Windows XP, but sadly not even Vista provides a simple GUI for it. Also, WinFS could provide a more abstract storage method that may be easier to approach to non-technical users.

Sazz181 said,
That's great news, although I always forget that what they 'say' their products will have is different to what their products actually have (WinFS anyone?).

Anyway, let's just hope they stick to it, as that would really make my job easier.

Explain to us what WinFS is so we know what me missed... I'm curious.

Sazz181 said,
That's great news, although I always forget that what they 'say' their products will have is different to what their products actually have (WinFS anyone?).

Anyway, let's just hope they stick to it, as that would really make my job easier.

k ... so you're an webdeveloper right?

so why the f do you care so much about WinFS?
Modern day SQL server use WinFS in their operations. Even Exchange uses it.

WinFS is NOT dead. And no .. the lack of doesn't make your Vista crap!

Funny that "bulky and useless" means fewer icons, tab support, and less room taken up at the top of your screen (compared to older versions of IE).

Oh well, that's why there's choice in browsers. Pick what makes you happy.

Dakkaroth said,
Hope they fix up the UI. It's so bulky and useless in 7. :

less customization its what i call ie7, compared to ie6, i dont like the position of stop and reload button

I actually like IE7 a lot in terms of layout more so than any other browser.
I wish firefox would make opening a tab easier like it is in IE7, but I guess every browser has its flaws to personal liking.

thenay said,
I actually like IE7 a lot in terms of layout more so than any other browser.
I wish firefox would make opening a tab easier like it is in IE7, but I guess every browser has its flaws to personal liking.

i haven't used ie7 that much, but how is opening a new tab in firefox difficult? you can either double click the tab bar, or press ctrl+t. i'm not trying to jump all over you on this, i'm just curious what you mean.

nvme said,

i haven't used ie7 that much, but how is opening a new tab in firefox difficult? you can either double click the tab bar, or press ctrl+t. i'm not trying to jump all over you on this, i'm just curious what you mean.

there is a mini tab at the end of the tabbar behind the last tab. is mega easy, use it all the time, hate that firefox does NOT have it (or safari or opera etc), and biggest pro: EVERYONE knows what it does when they see it

have always loved IE's design and layout. yeah the standard compliance isn't what it should be .. but hey, nobody's perfect. atleast they listen.

IE8 is going to rock your box!

C_Guy said,
Funny that "bulky and useless" means fewer icons, tab support, and less room taken up at the top of your screen (compared to older versions of IE).

Oh well, that's why there's choice in browsers. Pick what makes you happy.

Uh, on Firefox, I have my menu, navigation buttons, address bar and everything fit into ONE single bar. Widescreen monitor helps add bunches of room so nothing is cramped or too tight. Hell, posting this message, the link at the top with all the internet-explorer-8-passes-acid2-etcetcetc, it only uses half the address bar.

In IE7, I'm FORCED to have the tab menu open, so single site browsing isn't as minimal, buttons are chosen FOR ME, not where I want them, and the tab bar is pretty big just by itself. I can take a screenshot if I need to, but I think you get my point.

A browser is, aside from letting you access the internet, supposed to be YOURS. Customizable to do what YOU want and need it to do. I could care less about themes, although they're nice. I just want to be able to do what I want with it, not be pushed to a standard some old guys sat and decided upon.

Dakkaroth said,

Uh, on Firefox, I have my menu, navigation buttons, address bar and everything fit into ONE single bar. Widescreen monitor helps add bunches of room so nothing is cramped or too tight. Hell, posting this message, the link at the top with all the internet-explorer-8-passes-acid2-etcetcetc, it only uses half the address bar.

In IE7, I'm FORCED to have the tab menu open, so single site browsing isn't as minimal, buttons are chosen FOR ME, not where I want them, and the tab bar is pretty big just by itself. I can take a screenshot if I need to, but I think you get my point.

A browser is, aside from letting you access the internet, supposed to be YOURS. Customizable to do what YOU want and need it to do. I could care less about themes, although they're nice. I just want to be able to do what I want with it, not be pushed to a standard some old guys sat and decided upon.

You can Turn OFF Tab browsing in IE 7.. you arent Forced to use it! ;-)

guruparan said,

You can Turn OFF Tab browsing in IE 7.. you arent Forced to use it! ;-)

It's not even about tabbed browsing, it's about how much room they dedicate to those tabs. I'm sorry, but I don't need such a wide bar for just tabs. And it should hide when I'm not USING another tab.

Except Opera has been a released product for a while now. IE8 is still in closed beta.

I am all for standards compliance, but ACID is just one metric of this. Nice to see, regardless.

Funny that you mentioned Opera... Because sometimes they did site-tweaking due to the code of some websites (i.e. Gmail, if I recall properly).
Maybe they did this as well in IE. :P

markjensen said,
I am all for standards compliance, but ACID is just one metric of this.

I've long thought people put too much emphasis on ACID. Passing ACID doesn't mean standards support; it simply means it passes that specific test.

Here's hoping they do a good job of it.

Slimy said,
At Opera's level now

er, acid2 only tests a tiny subset of some things. it by no means show how standards compliant you actually are.

Doenst opera have ads? That would make it lame.

No, Opera has been freeware for over two years now. You should get out of that cave more often. :P

whats more surprising?

that they didn't fully support basic web standards before, or that it took them THIS long to do it?

Firefox 2 doesn't do the Acid2 test either, although I believed the still beta Firefox 3 do.

But sure, Firefox 3 is at least in public beta now, so it can be argued that it has a slight edge there.

However, Acid2 compliance isn't something that browsers had too many years ago.

Jugalator said,
Firefox 2 doesn't do the Acid2 test either, although I believed the still beta Firefox 3 do.

But sure, Firefox 3 is at least in public beta now, so it can be argued that it has a slight edge there.

However, Acid2 compliance isn't something that browsers had too many years ago.

Firefox 3 beta 2 does not past the Acid2 test. Just update it from beta 1 and it fails. Safari 3 beta fails too.

I said this before ages ago, but the Acid2 test is an idealist test which does not denote standards compliance. It features a set of individual tests which express what developers would like to be able to do.

Kudos to the IE8 team, its good to see them pushing to fix IE<8 problems. With this news, it would be interesting to see how it affects Opera's arguments for their antitrust suit.

ACTIONpack said,

Firefox 3 beta 2 does not past the Acid2 test. Just update it from beta 1 and it fails. Safari 3 beta fails too.


Actually, it's because something went wrong with the server hosting the Acid2 test. It's returning an HTTP 200 code when a page is not found, instead of a 404.
Firefox 3 beta 2 can render it fine, as can Safari, if the server's configured correctly ;-)