In the spirit of its new wave of Web interoperability, Microsoft says it will be configuring the settings in the upcoming Internet Explorer 8 to give top priority to Web standards interoperability. IE 8 has been designed to include three rendering modes:
- One that reflects Microsoft's implementation of current Web standards
- A second reflecting Microsoft's implementation of Web standards at the time of the release of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006
- A third based on rendering methods dating back to the early Web.
"IE8 has been significantly enhanced, and was designed with great support for current Internet standards. This is evidenced by the fact that even in its first beta, IE8 correctly renders the popular test known as 'Acid2,' which was created by the Web community to promote real-world interoperability," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect. "Our initial plan had been to use IE7-compatible behavior as the default setting for IE8, to minimize potential impact on the world's existing Web sites. We have now decided to make our most current standards-based mode the default in IE8."
Ozzie went on to say that "This is obviously a complex issue, with important considerations on both sides. On one hand, there are literally billions of Web pages designed to render on previous browser versions, including many sites that are no longer actively managed. On the other hand, there is a concrete benefit to Web designers if all vendors give priority to interoperability around commonly accepted standards as they evolve. After weighing these very legitimate concerns, we have decided to give top priority to support for these new Web standards. In keeping with the commitment we made in our Interoperability Principles of being even more transparent in how we support standards in our products, we will work with content publishers to ensure they fully understand the steps we are taking and will encourage them to use this beta period to update their sites to transition to the more current Web standards supported by IE8."