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Standards Will Be Default in IE 8

In a major shift of position, the next release of Microsoft's widely deployed Internet Explorer browser will set standards-based rendering as the default, a move that will impact how developers build and deploy Web content.

On Monday, Microsoft announced that it has decided to configure IE 8 to render content developed using Web standards, coming off last month's Interoperability Principles pledge.

"We've decided that IE 8 will, by default, interpret Web content in the most standards-compliant way it can," wrote Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's general manager for Internet Explorer, in a blog post. "This decision is a change from what we've posted previously."

Indeed, Microsoft's original plan for IE 8 centered around the display of pages requesting "Standards" mode in IE 7's "Standards" mode, and then developers would have to request IE 8's "Standards" mode separately, Hachamovitch acknowledged.

"In light of the 'Interoperability Principles,' as well as feedback from the community, we're choosing differently," Hachamovitch wrote. "Now, IE 8 will show pages requesting 'Standards' mode in IE 8's 'Standards' mode. Developers who want their pages shown using IE 8's 'IE 7 Standards mode' will need to request that explicitly (using the http header/meta tag approach described here)."

Hachamovitch added that the plan will be a key topic on the MIX08 agenda in Las Vegas later this week. "This choice creates a clear call to action to site developers to make sure their Web content works well in IE," he said.

One area where IE 8 has a headstart is its support for the Web Standards Project's Acid2, a test page designed to ensure that browsers conform to standards, Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie said Monday in a statement. An early preview of IE 8 passed the Acid2 test back in December.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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