It seems as if Microsoft quite likes this concept of adhering to open standards, at least in word, with the news that the next incarnation of Internet Explorer, version 8, will by default display web pages as if they are standards-compliant. Previously, the company had said that web pages would have to “opt in” as conforming to web standards.
If you’ve never delved into the dark world of web coding, then you’d be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. However, the way that different web browsers interpret the code that underlies a web page varies, and it’s the curse of many a web designer — at least, ones who want their sites to look good in every web browser.
Yes, there are standards, but unfortunately they’ve both evolved and been partially ignored by a number of vendors, including Microsoft, for years now.
It’s why a web page may look fine in Internet Explorer, but dire in Firefox. It’s why some designers put up warnings that their pages may not work correctly if viewing in Safari. And so on…
Unfortunately, though Microsoft isn’t the sole perpetrator of badly implementing web standards, they’ve probably had the finger pointed at them the most for “breaking” the rules. In fact, it’s quite amusing that the current version of Internet Explorer has a “quirks” mode for displaying badly-formed pages — many of which have been deliberately designed that way just so that they display correctly in Internet Explorer!
If you’re still with me on this, then the U-turn appears to be tied in to Microsoft’s general desire to become more open — or at least, to avoid more antitrust fines.
It’s going to be interesting to see just how standard Internet Explorer 8 is. It enters private beta testing very soon.
(Via Ars Technica)
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