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Kimberly Blessing

The Annoying IE8 Loophole

2 min read

Right now, the Web Standards community is celebrating. After weeks of telling us otherwise, Microsoft has announced that IE8 will enable standards mode by default.

Like others, I'm very happy about this change and I applaud Microsoft for reversing their decision. However there's something bothering me about their latest statement...

Developers who want their pages shown using IE8’s “IE7 Standards mode” will need to request that explicitly (using the http header/meta tag approach described here).

You see, originally Microsoft wanted us to add an HTTP header or META tag in order to indicate that a page was compliant with the latest-and-greatest standards mode; now that we get that mode by default, we don't need the header/tag -- except to explicitly indicate that we want the older, IE7-like standards mode.

Don't see the loophole yet? If you work for a big company that's not quite so Web Standards savvy, you might. The loophole is that there's nothing in IE8 that's going to force anyone to upgrade their code! While you, dear Standards-abiding designer/developer, want this opportunity to clean up your site and trash the old code, The Man is going to tell you that there's no point investing in this change and they're going to point you to the HTTP header/META tag solution.

So, now is the time to begin strategizing -- how are you going to convince your boss(es) that an IE8 code refresh is necessary? Also, how do you plan to support IE8 and IE7, and possibly even IE6 and IE5.5?

Go ahead and start the party without me... I need to work this one out first.