More about 2400+ websites and IE 8 compatibility list

We already saw that some 2400+ websites have issues with the new IE 8 browser. To be clear, these 2400+ websites don't render properly in IE 8 due to the fact that IE 8 is now more standards compliant. When we users upgrade to IE 8 when its released, its going to be difficult to browse the web as many websites are not yet standards compliant. You can put the blame on Microsoft and argue that it was/is Microsoft's fault. With so many websites failing, Microsoft has to help itself from the 'breakdown of web' when IE 8 is released.

IE 8 Compatibility Mode

By default all websites are rendered in IE 8 standards compliant mode, but when users have issues with websites that don't render properly, they can easily switch in and out of compatibility mode which renders that website in IE 7 mode

It is now easier to deal with websites that have issues with IE 8, especially when its not standards compliant. But its going to be really painful when users need to change the compatibility settings for each website they visit.

Microsoft has come up with a neat solution for this in the IE 8 RC1 release.

Microsoft's IE 8 Compatibility List

Microsoft has come up with list of websites that still have problems with the new browser, added by users (IE 8 beta testers) . Most of these websites were collected using customer feedback in the beta program

The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the Windows 7 Beta) includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users when they visit web sites that are not yet ready for IE8's new, more standards-compliant defaults

This new update would automatically put those websites in the compatibility list and render them accordingly and users need not worry about anything

And those 2400+ list what we reported earlier was nothing but this IE 8 Compatibility List. This long list will be updated and sites will be added as and when needed by Microsoft. This doesn't mean that the websites are poorly maintained or IE 8 is a product in distress - but all it means is that, even though the websites have some issues, IE 8 can still render them properly using the new compatibility view and end users can still enjoy the browsing experience

Enabling this Compatibility List in IE 8 RC1

You can choose to use this compatibility list either in the initial IE 8 setup process or from the Compatibility View Settings dialog

In the IE 8 initial setup process

In the Compatibility View settings dialog - You can open this dialog from Tools menu

As you can see in the above screenshot, you can choose not to use this list if you want

How to view this list

If you do like to see the list, you can do so by pointing your browser (IE 8) at res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml

How you as a User can help Microsoft?

If you find a website that is having some issues with IE 8, you can report the problem to Microsoft using this Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On

You can access this from your Tools menu

What next?

Microsoft understands that this is a huge step for the company to push a Web Browser which now supports standards unlike its earlier versions. And its not going to be easy as many websites which were built to support Internet Explorer aren't standards based. Without this Compatibility List, its going to be hard for users to switch on the compatibility mode for each website they visit. I think Microsoft has chosen the right thing here not to bring down the user experience.

Meanwhile, it is not going to be easy for the developers to make their website standards compliant. Instead of hurrying to make your website standards compliant, you can specify Compatibility Modes explicitly in your meta tag, either per site basis or per page basis. Below is an example for per page basis

Even if developers dont add this small tweak to their website, the Compatibility List is going to help users have a good browsing experience (unless the website is not in the list)

Before ending this long post, how is Opera, the most standards based web browser dealing with websites that dont render properly? Here is an answer straight from Scott Dickens, Program Manager, IE 8 Team

IE8 is not the first browser to consider making website compatibility fixes for specific highly trafficked sites. Opera has "a feature that allows Opera to automatically fix incompatible Web pages" It's "automatically distributed by Opera Software ASA, and can be used to apply fixes to specific Web sites."

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22 Comments

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What I'd like to know is why the hell is google.com on that list??? It's not like there is much there to begin with. How the hell can a browser render it wrong???? Even more puzzling is that msn.com.cn is on the list!! What? Microsoft can't even make their own sites compatible with their own browser????

I remember that I had same problem with IE7 which I went to Kiwee that I tried to download monkey stuff for my Windows Live Messenger when final version of IE 7 release for public to everyone. I did write a complain email to that Kiwee company, and they told me that they will work on them for people who own IE7, so they can download emoticons, winks, and others.

Gameboy

IE has for years failed to follow standards. CSS is just the tip of the iceburg. People are coding many pages to the web standards but IE fails to render them properly.

IE follows 'microsoft standards' which mean.. '**** everyone else we are going to do what we want'.

Luckily, Internet Explorer 8 has incorporated many, if not all CSS 2.1 standards. It's still not the ideal solution as it still has some issues (also, it does not include support for CSS 3, which is currently in development - all of the other major browsers do provide some support for CSS 3), however, it does follow standards much more than any other Internet Explorer version.

Your comment must be referring to earlier versions of Internet Explorer (7-)?

Exactly necrosis - and that's what has made the compatibility list necessary.

MS is now striving to make IE more standards-compliant, but there are a lot of sites out there that already have a bunch of hacks that detect Internet Explorer and output IE6/7-specific code. This list is a temporary measure to keep those sites from breaking until they can be updated to output standards-compliant code to IE8.

As for CSS3, why is it such a big deal that it's not supported in IE8? The standard isn't even finished yet, so it's going to change - meaning that any sites made using CSS3 today will probably break in all browsers when the standard is completed. Then we'll need to have "CSS3 draft compatibility mode", and its accompanying list so that those sites don't break...

As for CSS3, why is it such a big deal that it's not supported in IE8? The standard isn't even finished yet, so it's going to change - meaning that any sites made using CSS3 today will probably break in all browsers when the standard is completed. Then we'll need to have "CSS3 draft compatibility mode", and its accompanying list so that those sites don't break...
and lets not forget IE isn't updated as much as the other browsers ...

If they made IE follow the standards you would not need this 'compatibility button'. Sounds stupid and lazy on MS's part.

IE8 does follow standards, is the websites that will be too lazy to update them to work as intended in IE8 standards mode. Not microsoft's fault (at lest not with IE8).

IE was what broke the standards in the first place. If standards-compliant browsers were the only option these sites would be compliant to begin with. MS chose to subvert those standards and promote it's own proprietary, hacked-up, pro-MS derivatives as usual.

So yes, it is Microsoft's fault that this happened.

I don't understand why they don't leave it up to the webmasters. Let it assume IE7 for backwards-compatability on all sites. Then, if a developer is building a new site they can add a flag to change IE8 into standards-compliant rendering on that page.

Sure, their page won't work on IE7 then, but that's all in the spirit of moving forward.

TigerFX said,
I don't understand why they don't leave it up to the webmasters. Let it assume IE7 for backwards-compatability on all sites. Then, if a developer is building a new site they can add a flag to change IE8 into standards-compliant rendering on that page.

Sure, their page won't work on IE7 then, but that's all in the spirit of moving forward.


If you want to move forward, why would you use IE7 mode as default? That doesn't make sense.

Just to kinda be even more clear, the big problem is that many websites include IE6 and IE7 'hacks'. These trick IE6 and IE7 to render the same way as a website would render in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc. So for many websites, they are already standards compliant, but these IE hacks need to be taken out. Until Microsoft releases IE8 and people/developers know they have a solid browser to work with, they won't take out the hacks for IE8. In addition, many sites will need just a little bit of tweaking, because the standards still aren't 100% consistent across all browsers.

The big thing is that we're nearly at the end of all this. Microsoft is starting to focus on standards, as are the rest of the browsers. After IE8, we shouldn't have to face big problems like this for a while.

simon360 said,
Just to kinda be even more clear, the big problem is that many websites include IE6 and IE7 'hacks'. These trick IE6 and IE7 to render the same way as a website would render in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.


That's a good point. The fact of the matter is that the website only APPEAR to be rendering correctly, when in fact they have been hacked to look "wrong".

At work we only hack for IE6+7, so the valid code that is left behind is rendered for Mozilla etc. Surely if IE8 ignores these invalid hacks (stars,underscores,slashes in CSS) , then the website will just work perfectly in IE8.

I work for Nationwide.co.uk (on the list) and have delibrately used CSS filters (slashes,stars etc..) to force IE to render as per Mozilla.

I know that our site is NOT 100% html compliant, but we have such a wide support for browsers (and alot of people that like to complain) (and alot of people who could not care as long as the page looks ok)

I agree simon360, I also believe that Microsoft is finally realizing that they need to bring their browser up to the standards, however I also feel they have a little ways to go, but sofar it is looking better. I have been using IE 8 for a little while now, I must say that it offers much more than other browsers, although not as quick as Google's Chrome, it still is my choice in browsers.

I don't like that some web sites crash when opening them, but I do like the fact that only the one tab crashes, closes, instead of the whole browser. I am looking forward to the final release!

Although the HTML Validator looks good however, the same thing can be acomplished visiting the web standards web site (w3.org) - this will tell you for free, the issues, on what lines, etc. You can use the validator in Adobe's Dreamweaver CS3, CS4 as well. In my opinion this is a waste of 69.00 / 129.00 - buy the real deal, or use the free option.

I just disabled the automatic compatibility view thingy, and I must say many many things are way faster and things like GMail have LESS bugs in IE8 mode than in compatibility mode... Definately worth a shot!