Microsoft’s Interoperability Principles and IE8

We’ve decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we’ve posted previously.

Read the whole article (and comments) at IEBlog : Microsoft’s Interoperability Principles and IE8.

After reading the article and skimming through a bunch of the many comments, I don’t know if I should cry or laugh, though I definitely am leaning toward the former. I’m pretty sure I can safely predict disaster on design level and for all involved with CSS. Just 1 more browser (version) to take care of and to dance with. I’m sorry, but when Microsoft touts “standard compliant” I only feel a snicker forming.

There was Toby Johnson who commented well:

@Phil: “Netscape and Microsoft and bit players all “created quirks” as they rushed to add functionality during the so-called “Browser wars.” Blaming Quirks on Microsoft is absurd.”

People don’t blame Microsoft because they participated in the Browser Wars. People blame Microsoft because, once they “won”, they sat on IE6 for FIVE YEARS without making fixes to its broken rendering engine.

IE7 wouldn’t have even been available on Windows XP if it weren’t for Firefox. Microsoft were perfectly happy to irresponsibly sit on their laurels while millions of poorly-written web pages were designed for a browser and not for standards.

As the cliche goes.. “with great power comes great responsibility”. Microsoft acted irresponsibly with their market-leading position and it’s why we are where we are today. I truly applaud this decision and think/hope it is a turning point not only for Microsoft as a company but for the web in general. Let’s hope they follow through.

He remains hopefull. I am much more doubtful, and Nick came closest to my feelings by stating:

I would gently remind this community that until IE8 actually comes to fruition, this is nothing but talk.

Microsoft has set our profession, and the web in general back close to 5 years with their sub-par browsers and proprietary technology. While I applaud the effort, the hundreds of hours I’ve spent squashing IE rendering and behavioral bugs has left me bitter and skeptical. Default standard rendering is great, but it doesn’t mean a thing unless IE’s “standard” matches the rest of the planet.

To summarize: I’ll believe it when I see it.