Microsoft IE 8 Beta 2 Coming! Are your websites ready?

Consistent with our efforts to promote further interoperability across the Web, Microsoft will be releasing Internet Explorer 8 to render content in its most standards-compliant way by default. Giving top priority to Web standards interoperability allows us to help web developers and designers drive toward the ideal of "write once, run anywhere", freeing up more time to innovate rather than modify content for different browsers. This commitment also addresses several development and design pain points from previous Internet Explorer releases.

However, browsing with this default setting may cause content written for previous versions of Internet Explorer to display differently than intended. This creates a call to action for site owners to ensure their content will continue to display seamlessly in Internet Explorer 8. As such, we have provided a meta-tag usable on a per-page or per-site level to maintain backwards compatibility with Internet Explorer 7. Adding this tag instructs Internet Explorer 8 to render content like it did in Internet Explorer 7, without requiring any additional changes.

We are encouraging site administrators to get their sites ready now for broad adoption of Internet Explorer 8, as there will be a beta release in the third quarter of this year targeted for all consumers. To learn more and get started, please follow the step-by-step instructions located at KB952030

Link: MSDN Blogs.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Samsung: 1 TB, $199

Next Story

Exclusive - Nintendo Wii SKU soon obsolete - refresh soon?

38 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

They should have done this much earlier. Many developers aren't following any standards just because they know that most browsers will display the page even if the code is a complete mess.

I have web applications which look like they have been created in a WYSIWYG editor. The best part is that these applications are encrypted and commercial, which is really frustrating for users like me which can't do anything else but wait for the developers to learn coding manually and follow the standards.

Anyway, better now than never. I hope this will force developers to follow the standards.

We are encouraging site administrators to get their sites ready now for broad adoption of Internet Explorer 8

Ironically the sites that have caused me the most issues with Beta one were Microsofts own sites. Hotmail failed to work at all off memory and other ones displayed rather poorly. In fact Mozilla handles most of them fine but a good number of MS ones were pretty messed up in IE8.

But thats what betas are for right?

Are your browsers ready... ROFL, this is seriously the most funny comment I've read about any version of IE :P
Luckily, I don't have any website right now, but I had some a few months ago... so I guess I'm lucky.

(asoldier said @ #19)
Down with IE, go FF!

Actually, I'm more inclined to say "Down with asoldier, keep up the good work MS!" at this point.

Hopefully they'll start pushing the update a bit more as well. I understand that a lot of businesses aren't upgrading to Vista because of software incompatibilities - most people that have actually used Vista will know that 99% of software IS compatibile, the only major difference is that IE7 comes as standard. A lot of internal software will have been designed for IE6 and therein lies the problem.

Most websites out there will probably be fine with upgrading to better standards (chances are, most web devs will jump at the chance and no major website is going to sit back and let some of their users get cut off - providing IE8 gets pushed enough that is), really the biggest problem for MOST people will be visiting a lot of those random geocities sites from yesteryear that still have some useful information on them, but have long since been forgotten.

The main thing is businesses who rely on software coded for IE6 - they're the ones that will struggle upgrading, but hopefully they'll pony up and upgrade their crap. Those are the people who have been REALLY stung by IE6's ****ty standards.

Actually, the code I write works surpringly well in Opera and Firefox as it is. IE7 required some slight teweaking but it was only a few lines. I didn't even bother looking at IE6.

Hmm....I suppose they are fixing thing but we are not going to see the end of IE 5/6/7 after 8 is released. Ofcourse Microsoft will not force update to 8. Untill then IE will still be a ass whipe and web developers will have to base their sites around the older version so it will be the same old crap...

Opera, Firefox, IE5, IE6,IE 7, IE 8, Safari

What a nightmare, why can't they all just get along!


Thank god I'm going into programming next year

(tom01 said @ #16)
Hmm....I suppose they are fixing thing but we are not going to see the end of IE 5/6/7 after 8 is released. Ofcourse Microsoft will not force update to 8. Untill then IE will still be a ass whipe and web developers will have to base their sites around the older version so it will be the same old crap...

Opera, Firefox, IE5, IE6,IE 7, IE 8, Safari

What a nightmare, why can't they all just get along!


Thank god I'm going into programming next year :huh:

All you will have to worry about then is Linux, Windows MCE, Windows XP, Vista, Mac......:P

(tom01 said @ #16)
Opera, Firefox, IE5, IE6,IE 7, IE 8, Safari

And don't forget Firefox 1.x, firefox 2.x and (i hope not) firefox 3.x changes and not to say Opera Mini and PIE.

Glad that you can ask for users that use firefox 1.x to upgrade to 2.x but still there are changes between version.


When they released Beta 1, they hinted at a Beta 2 in June. Now this article tells us nothing except they are a month late - minimum.

Are your websites ready?

Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?
Surely it should say: "Is it ready for our W3C Compilant Websites?"

I know this is a girly type response but I have always looked forward to seeing the next IE icon in each version. It's changed quite a lot when I first started using it (v2). It looks however that v8 is going to be using IE 7's icon?

My website has been ready for a good year or two now, it's Microsoft's browsers that haven't, since like, I dunno, the invention of standards perhaps...

Edit: Christ, I just saw this articles icon, not that I should have missed it

The HTTP header is ridiculous, but necessary for now. I can't wait for IE8 Beta 2 though! The closer to IE8 we get, the better IMHO. I just hate the fact that some businesses are still using IE6 out of necessity... Hopefully things transition to IE7 a bit more quickly and the header is used to ensure IE8 compatibility with the IE7 applications until IE8 versions are rolled out.

I hate the way things are divided now with application developers on one side that need to make use of IE's functionality and Web developers on the other side clamoring for proper support. Hopefully the issue can be reconciled one day...

If this means IE finally has a level of standards compliancy up there with its opposition then this is a very welcome move, albeit several years too late.

Such a cute article!

Microsoft is trying to make it sound like they're going out of their way to cripple their software so that web authors don't have to cripple -their- work in order to use Microsoft's ****ed-up practices. Best of all? They're being a dick about doing it!

"Update your pages so that they're compliant with the standards. Do it now or suffer. I don't give a damn if you had to code it ****tily (is that even a word?) in order to work with our older POS browsers. This is how it is now and you WILL comply." --Microsoft

Rofflemaw.

(A Clockwork Lime said @ #4)
I don't give a damn if you had to code it ****tily (is that even a word?) in order to work with our older POS browsers.
Rofflemaw.

How come they "hfd to code their sites for IE8"? There weren't any betas then.

Source for that quote?

OH! You just made it all up!

And no that's not a word. Neither is rofflemaw for the record.

Can't wait. IE8 looked like a big improvement... OK so it rendered sites broken, but it shows how much they are changing.

What would you prefer? MS to continue having quirks so it has to be written for FF/Opera/Safari AND another version for IE, or for it to be written once for all browsers.

You can't have it both ways.

Unless I'm mistaken, shouldn't a browser be compatible with existing websites, rather than having to make existing websites compatible with yet another browser?

Well, the idea is to bring IE in line with Safari/Opera/Firefox, which all render pages in roughly the same way, while IE does some sections very differently. Since IE was the most popular browser, people didn't care.

Pretty much when I develop web pages I do it all in Firefox and then I have to go back and start hacking things up to work in IE 6+, which can be just painful, so anything that makes web development easier =

(bmaher said @ #1)
Unless I'm mistaken, shouldn't a browser be compatible with existing websites, rather than having to make existing websites compatible with yet another browser?

Ordinarily I'd totally agree with you, but this move is a GOOD thing.

Ask any web designer what the bane of their existence is and many will mention IE and it's compatibility. Especially IE6 which still has a large share of the browser market.

Too often I've had a wonderful standards based and SEO'ed design that I've had to cut back because of IE6. Version 7 of the browser is much better, while sites don't work instantaneously, they do work after you make a few CSS tweaks. IE6 is the version that totally ruins things, and it still has roughly 25% of the market share.

After IE becomes standards compliant I'd like to see a major push to be rid of IE 6 & 7, I don't care if it's Firefox, Opera, Safari or IE8 that people go to. We need to remove these two browsers from our life as soon as possible.

(bmaher said @ #1)
Unless I'm mistaken, shouldn't a browser be compatible with existing websites, rather than having to make existing websites compatible with yet another browser?

I thought the KB article talks about IE7 having its own compatibility mode and IE8 uses the standard one which I assume is the W3C.

Indeed that was the original plan, but they changed it based on feedback from the web development community.

It's one of those classic short-term User Experience vs long-term "correctness" trade-offs.

The root of the problem is largely that many websites currently employ logic like this:

If MSIE:

Do MSIE-specific stuff.

Else:

Do mostly "standards" stuff.

(this is a simplified view of what is actually done)

The problem is that with the new IE 8 engine, IE really belongs in the "else" section since its behavior is now similar if not identical to Firefox / Safari / Opera.

Unfortunately, those checks for IE still determine that yes, this is in fact IE, so the IE-specific code is used. What needs to happen most of the time is for those checks to verify the version number is less than 8, otherwise treat it like any other browser.

In the meantime, the "safer" and easier way for web sites to fix themselves is to put a special tag in that says "Render this using the IE 7 engine, even if the browser is IE 8."

(Brandon Live said @ #1.6)
Indeed that was the original plan, but they changed it based on feedback from the web development community.

It's one of those classic short-term User Experience vs long-term "correctness" trade-offs.

The root of the problem is largely that many websites currently employ logic like this:

If MSIE:

Do MSIE-specific stuff.

Else:

Do mostly "standards" stuff.

(this is a simplified view of what is actually done)

The problem is that with the new IE 8 engine, IE really belongs in the "else" section since its behavior is now similar if not identical to Firefox / Safari / Opera.

Unfortunately, those checks for IE still determine that yes, this is in fact IE, so the IE-specific code is used. What needs to happen most of the time is for those checks to verify the version number is less than 8, otherwise treat it like any other browser.

In the meantime, the "safer" and easier way for web sites to fix themselves is to put a special tag in that says "Render this using the IE 7 engine, even if the browser is IE 8."


Yeah, that is the real kicker... In case people still don't get it, the reason for the meta tag is for those sites that don't work in IE8, and IE8 is what would be detected by conditional comments. The good news is that the meta tag can be hidden thanks to conditional comments:
<!--[if IE 8]>
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7">
<![endif]-->

That's assuming HTML is being used, of course. If HTML-compatible XHTML 1.0 is being used, then obviously a trailing solidus would be needed.