Compatibility View Improvements to come in IE8

The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the Windows 7 Beta) includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users when they visit web sites that are not yet ready for IE8’s new, more standards-compliant defaults. This blog post describes the technical background and how this new functionality works.

A Brief History of Standards, Interoperability, Compatibility, and IE8

As we improve the interoperability of Internet Explorer by delivering better implementations of web standards, some users may face compatibility issues with sites that rely on the behavior of previous versions of Internet Explorer.

With IE8’s Beta 1 release, Microsoft demonstrated its commitment to interoperability by making the most standards-compliant default view for web pages IE’s default. This is a good thing for the next billion web pages. We think that developers will have an easier time building interoperable sites on top of IE8’s strong platform work (like CSS 2.1, a better Document Object Model,  ARIA, and cross-domain requests (XDR) and cross document messaging (XDM) and our start on HTML5 support).

The problem is that some of today’s web pages might expect the old, less interoperable behavior from IE. These web pages might not function correctly, in ways ranging from just looking a bit misaligned to not working at all.

This scenario is exactly why we’re committed to interoperability and doing the standards work we’re doing in IE8. People who develop web sites and people who use sites want them to just work. Previously, some versions of IE released while some key standards were still under construction and before standards efforts had started for other key technologies. The most important thing we can do now is deliver better interoperability for a better web, with as few compatibility issues as possible so that end-users adopt it.

We really want the new more standards compliant default to be a great experience. We have many, many people engaged in reaching out to hundreds and hundreds of websites. Our goal with IE8 was to make it easy for sites to deliver a great experience, either by testing with IE8’s new standards-compliant functionality or by adding a tag or HTTP header to their site to instruct IE8 to use IE7-compatible mode.

With IE8’s Beta 2 release, we introduced the Compatibility View button. This button enables savvy end-users to resolve compatibility problems they encounter with sites that rely on legacy IE behavior. Specifically, the button enables users to treat specific websites in a non-default way so that they work in the browser. This is a good thing – with Beta 2, a site that relies on IE7 behavior from IE8 but has not specified it explicitly can still work for someone visiting it in IE8.

Despite all the outreach to sites, we saw from the telemetry data that IE8 Beta 2 users still have to use Compatibility View a lot. Looking at our instrumentation, there were high-volume sites like,,, and with pages that weren’t working for end-users with IE’s new standards compliant default.  We could also see from our instrumentation that not all IE8 visitors to those sites were clicking the Compatibility View button.  So, large groups of people were having a less than great experience because they weren’t aware of the manual steps required to make certain sites work.

Community to the Rescue (or, applying telemetry and customer feedback to make this experience better)

We wanted to make the experience of defaulting to standards mode better for the end user.

The IE8 approach here focuses on using customer feedback to make the compatibility experience better. In addition to listening to the end-user community, we’re also engaging the site development community as well.

When users install Windows 7 Beta or the next IE8 update, they get a choice about opting-in to a list of sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. Sites are on this list based on feedback from other IE8 customers: specifically, for what high-volume sites did other users click the Compatibility View button? This list updates automatically, and helps users who aren’t web-savvy have a better experience with web sites that aren’t yet IE8-ready. Some details:

  1. The sites on the list are based on objective criteria applied to telemetry data as well as product support channels. For example, in addition to the top sites worldwide, we determine high-volume on a market-by-market basis; the top 50 sites in one region of the world might be very low on the world-wide list of top sites, but are important to include for those customers.
  2. The data we collect from IE8 beta users is the top level domain of the website and whether the user chose Compatibility View while visiting that site (please see the IE8 Privacy Policy for more information).
  3. We will regularly revisit the need to offer this list to users at all.

We reach out to those sites (beyond all the other outreach we’ve already done!) to make sure they know the experience their IE8 visitors have by default and what steps they (the sites) can take to make it better. We also tell them that in the meantime, we’re adding their site to this compatibility list and provide instructions on how the site can opt-out. (If a domain notifies Microsoft that it’s choosing to opt-out, we remove it from the list at the next scheduled list update.)

IE8 is not the first browser to consider making website compatibility fixes for specific highly trafficked sites. Opera has “a feature that allows Opera to automatically fix incompatible Web pages.” It’s “automatically distributed by Opera Software ASA, and can be used to apply fixes to specific Web sites.”

User Choice: Some Details and Screenshots

Users can make a choice about the list during IE’s first run experience as well as in Compatibility View Settings dialog. During the first run experience, neither ‘Express’ nor ‘Custom’ is selected by default. The user must choose one:

First Run settings wizard

The Compatibility View Settings dialog box reflects the user’s choice, and the user can turn updates to the list on or off at any time:

Compatiblity View settings

Users who choose to get the list receive it via Windows Update packages, just like IE security updates. The list package is separate from, but on the same schedule as, security updates (typically, every 2 months). Our goal here is to provide predictability by following a regular, known update cadence.

Enterprise customers running WSUS and other management software can control the download and installation of these packages. Enterprises can also use group policy to provide their users an additional list of sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. Other customers can control the download and installation of these packages as well by choosing to install only Internet Explorer updates marked as ‘Critical’.

When the user browses to a web site and this list is active, IE checks the list to determine if the site should be shown in Compatibility View. If the site is on the list, IE uses Compatibility View, as if the user had clicked the Compatibility View button. If the site isn’t on the list, IE uses whatever setting the site indicates in its content. And, just as with websites on the user-populated Compatibility View list, the presence of a <META> tag / HTTP header “wins” over whatever mode Compatibility View on the client would have resulted in. So, if a site starts on this list but does great work to take advantage of IE8 and now wants IE8 to use the most standards-compliant mode, then the site can specify it and override this list.

Also, the Compatibility View Settings dialog shows only the entries in the user-populated list. Users interested in seeing the contents of the active list can navigate to res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml from IE’s address bar.

Some Closing Thoughts

Life as one of the people who builds the web is hard. Developers have a lot of things competing for their scarce time: making their sites more secure, or faster, or richer using some of the new functionality that new browsers like IE8 are starting to support. In some cases, for a new browser, developers have to spend time to add a tag or header to make their sites compatible. Starting back in March 2008 with IE8 Beta 1, Microsoft has been actively engaging site developers about how they can make sure that users continue to have a good experience on their sites.

Whether developers get around to doing this work or not, the people who use the web expect that the web will keep working. They want the benefits of interoperability and standards. They don’t want to deal with compatibility issues.

To that end, IE8 Beta 1 offered end-users a large compatibility toolbar button that required a browser restart. In Beta 2, IE8 offered a more discreet button that didn’t require a browser restart for a more end-user friendly compatibility experience. This latest compatibility view update refines the experience by offering users the choice to have a community-driven list that reduces the amount of manual work involved in browsing the web with compatibility.

Scott Dickens
Program Manager

Comments (132)
  1. Very nice guys! This is an outstanding way to handle this issue. Part of the problem was some of the site issues were subtle and only affected portions of the page/site and, as you mentioned, there were users who weren’t aware of the steps or reasons to switch to compatibility mode. I am glad to see that the team is really thinking outside of the box for IE8 and future development on IE.

    Unrelated: I laughed today when I saw one of my co-workers with an addin for Firefox that was mimicing the color-coded tabs. I told him that it was part of IE8 and he had no idea.

  2. Sturdy Oak says:

    I just downloaded IE8 beta 2 and have spent the last 15 minutes trying to find a way to contact Microsoft and tell them I am SO, SO pleased with this product!  I’ve been using China’s THE WORLD browser for two years so disillusioned have I been with browsers in general, but this IE8 has me jumping for joy!!!

    The ONLY problem is that I want an AUTO FORM FILL ability, simple and quick, like TheWorld has.  Thank you Microsoft.  I am hard to please and right now I am so pleased.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!

  3. N1nj4Bdr34dm4n says:

    I think this is a very good way of dealing with this problem. You guy’s have put a lot of work into IE8 and I hope each generation of IE only gets better from here.

  4. Microsoft hat sich vor der Veröffentlichung einer Beta-Version des kommenden Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) nun doch (einigermaßen überraschend) dazu entschlossen, die ggü. IE6 und IE7 standardkompatiblere Darstellung von Webinhalten standardmäßig zu verwende

  5. Standards says:

    Looks like standards compliant web developers are gonna be in another world of pain. With tons of IE8 bugs possibly unfixed and no beta 3 or interim releases to verify whether or not any real work was even done before the RC release, Microsoft and IE continues to waste precious web developer’s time and resources.

    And Microsoft continues to allow lazy devs to get away with not updating their sites to be standards compliant. If Facebook, BBC, CNN and other "high volume sites" doesn’t work in IE8 standards mode, give them a strong signal to update their sites and not pass non standard compliant IE6/7 CSS to IE8 and fix your IE8 bugs, not giving them a free pass by defaulting to compatability mode.

  6. mogden says:

    This sounds pretty reasonable.  The only thing I’d like to see is the HTML5 doctype being treated as an override – so there’s a fully standard-compliant way of overriding the list.  No IE7 "pseudo-standard" mode page should have the HTML5 doctype.

  7. Jeff Walden says:

    "We think that developers will have an easier time building interoperable sites on top of IE8โ€™s strong platform work (like […] cross-domain requests (XDR) […])."

    How would XDR be interoperable, given that other browsers are implementing the W3C’s cross-site XMLHttpRequest specification instead?

  8. The Hater says:

    You know what? I actually like this. You’ll give thousands of developers and companies amunition to cry for the death of IE6 and IE7, BOTH, because you’ve told the world how much their site blows. They’ll update things to work even better with web standards, and older versions of IE will seem like even more of a worthless resource drain and hindrance to progress than they do now.

  9. That’s a great solution, but will the sites in the list be able to opt-in for removal from the list as soon as they become compatible?

    And now it’s time for some Compatibility View Settings porn-site spam! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Sven Groot says:

    Sounds like a good idea. I hope there will be a way to see what pages are on that list though.

    It should be noted that the primary reason I still use compatibility view on 90% of websites in IE8 beta 2 is not because those sites rely on older IE7 behaviour, but because the IE8 standards mode has some bugs in beta 2(especially the disappearing text bug) that makes it virtually useless. So I wouldn’t base too much of your decisions on the telemetry for IE8 beta 2. Once a more recent build comes out that doesn’t have these bugs the telemetry should be more reliable.

  11. SiSL says:

    On pretty much "Standart compatible" sites will give this error no matter or what because they wanted to add CSS for also to work with IE6 which is still over 30% of use overall. As long as you don’t force update IE8 to all Windows, Websites will be like that forever. It is sickening to see that icon on your website for sure.

  12. Rowan says:

    You’ve released an alpha quality browser and told everyone to try it out, and since some websites haven’t yet worked around IE8’s quirks you’re going to take the initiative and just make some sites render like IE7 by default – despite the fact that you announced IE8 would use its new rendering engine out of the box.

    Very few people are going to choose the option where they have to "review and modify each setting individually", they’ll just take the express route and forget about it.

    Thanks to your new idea there will be less pressure on developers and designers to bring their sites out of the dark ages.

    To add salt to the wound, if a developer wants to opt-out of your filter _they_ will have to add _your_ meta tag to their pages.

    Thank you so much!

  13. Jason says:

    Excellent approach to this problem, great to hear what you are doing.  

    For those people who think standards mode should be enforced on the ignorant, it’s like saying all websites should be punished for being built in the past.  

    Many of the old sites are not even being updated any more.  I don’t understand why anyone wants to punish consumers (think about my mum!) and website owners for this.  

    Unless it is MS bashing because MS will get blamed anyway, by the angry end users and website owners?  

  14. David Naylor says:

    Sounds like a half-decent idea, but it is really mindboggling what a mess Microsoft got themselves into by leaving their browser to rot for five years. Now they are finally starting to pay the price.

  15. Mike Dimmick says:

    Please fix the fonts on that Compatibility View Settings dialog. It’s both internally inconsistent (the updates checkbox is using something like Arial while the rest is Microsoft Sans Serif) and inconsistent with the OS – on Windows Vista it should be Segoe UI.

    Attention to detail is absolutely required. Otherwise, expect to see it on Windows UI Taskforce very soon after release.

  16. GreLI says:

    IE8 adopts IE7 hack namely *+html and thats brokes sites using it in standarts mode view. Fixing this will reduce the needness of compatibility view :).

  17. billybob says:

    @Allan Sanders

    The colorfultabs extension for Firefox has comments dating back to March 2007.  IE8 beta 1 was released around a year later.

    It looks like the IE team have Firefox plugin envy, rather than the other way around.

  18. Jean-Philippe says:

    Well first Bravo for keeping the default mode as the most standard compliant possible. This is a great step. And your solution to compatibility problem for novice users is good, even great. May i suggest that this database have a public api to be queried ? This would be useful for the Web in general.

    The only thing that bothered me in this article is that the default search provider is Live Search. I would have preferred to choose Google directly on this screen. I understand the underlying reason but i don’t like it.

  19. Anonymous says:


    The ColorfulTabs extension isn’t really related to IE8’s tab grouping.  ColorfulTabs is aesthetic and is meant to help differentiate individual tabs, rather than providing a functional grouping of otherwise-separate tabs.

    I can’t say whether that was the extension Allan Sanders was looking at.

  20. 321 says:

    I posted before that I am unable to delete favorites from the undocked favorites panel with IE8 (right click –> delete). I now find this only happens when the favorites bar is disabled / not visible.

    I hope this will be fixed.

  21. mathew says:

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

    Why on earth would you do this? You have once again FAILED to read any of the FEEDBACK on this very BLOG.





    As soon as you TELL us what we can EXPECT, then and ONLY then can we actually update our sites to handle IE8 PROPERLY!

    Signed: Yet another furious developer!

  22. Richard Fink says:

    Seems quite reasonable to add this extra dimension of protection.

    Simple, for sure. And certainly effective for the highly-trafficked sites that will be on the list.

    Good thinking.

  23. billybob says:

    @Anonymous, Firefox has a tab extension for just about anything you can think of.

    All of those were released way before IE8 (and most before IE7).

  24. Tom says:

    Ah, furious developer (Thursday, December 04, 2008 9:38 AM by mathew).

    This arms race ("I refuse to update my site until you have 100% locked down your browser") sure sounds familiar.  Search for "How Betas Became RCs."

  25. Krishna says:

    Great work, you guys! I’m happy to see the effort put into creating ie8. a couple of quick points:

    1. The ‘connecting’ message and the slight delay when you open a new tab is a pain. Just get rid of the ‘connecting’ message at least.

    2 Chrome feels lighter in part due to its looks.  it skinnier. less curves, thinner tabs etc. this leads the user to feel that the whole browser is lighter. Could you guys discuss this amongst yourselves and see if a thin and light ‘look’ could be given to ie?

  26. paarden says:

    I don’t mind the new standard that MS is going to follow. Just keep an eye on the WC3-standards and webmasters will be happy.

  27. Rob says:

    In the meantime, IE8 will still be years and years behind every other popular browser in standards compliance, including the DOM, no SVG, no XHTML, proper JavaScript, CSS3 and even CSS2.1.

  28. Dan says:

    Rob, if you knew what you were talking about, you would know that IE8 will be FULLY CSS2.1 compliant, unlike most of their competitors.  Statements like "proper Javascript" don’t make any sense either.  IE has a "proper" ES3 engine.  

    Krishna, the "connecting" text is just the default title of a tab without a document.  It’s not like it makes anything slower.

    Billybob, and many of the "firefox" extensions were available in the 1990s as IE extensions, or in custom browsers built around an IE shell.  Let’s not pretend that all of the browsers don’t copy from each other– it’s impossible to do with a straight face.

    Jean-Philippe, they keep your default search.  If you had google before, that’s what the express setting will be.  If you’re suggesting that you should be able to change this, that’s what "Customize" is for.  Or do you really expect them to put every search engine in the world on a single dialog?  

    Jeff Walden, the cross-domain request object is header-compatible with the CS-XHR proposal, meaning that a server can easily be compatible with both.  

  29. ShadowChaser says:

    > It should be noted that the primary

    > reason I still use compatibility view

    > on 90% of websites in IE8 beta 2 is not

    > because those sites rely on older IE7 > behaviour, but because the IE8 standards

    > mode has some bugs in beta 2(especially the

    > disappearing text bug)

    I agree 100%. IE8 Beta 2 is hopelessly broken, and no updates are issued.

    The metrics that are influencing the decisions are hopelessly flawed. With Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, *ALL* sites in standards mode are broken due to disappearing text bugs in the browser, not necessarially bugs in a website’s implementation of the standards.

    As a developer, it’s important that browsers have consistent, predictable behaviors. If the Internet is "managed" for us, how is a developer supposed to fix their bugs? We shouldn’t need to go to Microsoft and beg for a Windows Update of some sorts to turn compatibility mode off – imagine trying to schedule that with a normal site release!

    I know what the answer will be – use a special HTTP header or meta tag, putting us full circle.

  30. IE Team,

      I am quite happy with this proposal. It is exactly the sort of thing that Google or Apple would do and then make fun of you for *not* doing it.


      It’s good to hear a reasonable voice amongst the nay-sayers.

  31. Der Internet Explorer in seiner 8. Inkarnation will, soll und wird Standards exzessiv unterst&#252;tzen und zwar so wie es der Spezifikateur vorgesehen hat

  32. Scott Dickens [MS] says:

    @ Maciej Rutkowski

    Yes, sites can ask to be removed from the list at any point.

    @ Rowan

    "since some websites haven’t yet worked around IE8’s quirks you’re going to take the initiative"

    Well, yes (minus the quirks part). As I mentioned in the post, we began the evangelism and engagement effort 9 months ago and real data from real Beta users is telling us sites still aren’t compatible.

    Many of the issues we’re seeing on these top sites are the direct result of IE’s better standards support. As a quick example, visit with the IE8 Beta 2 build and note how the top banner on the front page is not centered. worked around issues with the โ€˜clearโ€™ property in IE7 by feeding that browser version different styles (than other browsers) via Conditional Comments. IE8 has fixed the issue and the unique styles are no longer necessary. Unfortunately, the styles are still getting applied which causes the behavior with the banner.

    Lastly, I’m afraid I don’t follow your logic about relieving pressure on web developers and designers. If I install IE8 and the super-popular social networking site I frequent daily, my banking site, and the travel site I use to book holiday travel don’t work, is my action to put "pressure" on the sites to update so that I can be unblocked? Why not simply move to a browser that does work with the sites?


    The database + public API is interesting. What use case are you thinking about? Would simply publishing the contents of the compatibility list to an online location (like a KB article or some such) suffice?

  33. Nick says:

    Brain damage. Pure. But why stop this far? Let’s have community decide how sites should look by submitting css and js patches.

  34. Anonymous says:


    Yeah, none of those are really similar.  They just all modify tabs.  I don’t think either is copying the other in this regard (not to mention:  they are add-ons, not browser features, regardless).

  35. steve says:

    @Tom: re: ‘This arms race ("I refuse to update my site until you have 100% locked down your browser") sure sounds familiar.  Search for "How Betas Became RCs." ‘

    I think you are missing Matt’s point.  We all know how Alphas, Betas, RC’s, and RTM’s* work.

    The issue is that MS never released a roadmap, yet there are litterally 10’s of 1,000’s of developers that "use" the platform they are releasing (IE).  This is NOT a good plan.

    We realize that deadlines move, features move in/out of scope, RC’s drop if the current RC is good enough etc.

    However we have been given a set of cards that quite frankly suck.

    First public beta? – very rough, hard to use, more like an alpha than a beta.

    Second public beta? – much better, still many issues, some quite major.

    Then MS indicates that the next release is NOT Beta 3, but RC1.  This was a shell-shocker… because many of us can’t fully test IE8B2 yet.

    Ok, so fine, we have to go with what we know… but wait, what do we know?  We know IE has fixed a bunch of things but we also know there are some major regression issues and new bugs.

    If Microsoft had came out 2 months ago and said they were not doing a Beta 3, and that they were planning to fix the following bugs by the RC date… (insert list of bugs)… then we would be ok, we would update our sites to meet this expected release and we’d be set.

    But that list was never published.

    So now we have a new mess due to the above mistake.

    Developers didn’t update their sites because:

    (a) IE8 is in BETA

    (b) IE8B2 still has serious issues

    (c) The expected content of IE8 RC1/RTM is not known

    (d) We are aware that if IE8 RC1/RTM is still a mess, we can throw in the META tag to force IE7 mode until IE8 is fixed.

    So please tell me.  Why on earth would I waste a SECOND of my time publishing code to handle an unstable Beta browser when I still have no clue what will make it into the final?

    I’m sorry – I’m with Matt.  I’m Ticked off!

    * (sorry MS, the rest of the planet uses RTM regardless if it is to Manufacturing or the Web at large)

  36. Jerry Mead says:

    ~ The sites on the list are based on objective criteria applied to telemetry data ~

    Excellent. Now if we can hear that .cab file installs  (naturally, by a logged-on local admin) have been fixed in current builds, we will be really happy.

    This is a nasty regression bug in Beta 2, and will be a really noisy showstopper if it remains unfixed in RC1.

    Test site?


  37. Anonymous Coward says:

    Will localhost be rendered in compatibility mode? If so then it’s sure going to be frustrating for new developers when what they’re developing suddenly breaks when it’s deployed to the web.

  38. harvey says:

    Has the issue with multiple sites at a given domain been fixed in IE8 yet?

    There will *always* be cases where 1 or more sites at a domain are in legacy mode vs. standards mode.  To have to constantly switch is already very annoying.

    Please tell me this is now fixed.

  39. Microsoft is learning that people are very reluctant to update their sites to work correctly with IE8

  40. Typhoon87 says:

    How would this list handle sites that fix their code. For example Adobes site looked horrid in Beta 1 and the first few weeks of beta 2 now it looks fine. Im not sure if they are feeding it the IE 7 version of if they fixed the page but either way the site now works. How would you know to remove a page from the list?

    Also I think we are more likely to see sites fixing issues with the next public build as it is not supposed to have no new features.

  41. Matt says:

    @ Tom Stack

    I’m assuming that it still follows the "X-UA-Compatible" setting, so if they update the site they can set that to "IE=8" to force IE8 standards mode even if it is on this list.

  42. AlfonsoML says:

    @ Scott Dickens [MS]

    "As I mentioned in the post, we began the evangelism and engagement effort 9 months ago and real data from real Beta users is telling us sites still aren’t compatible. "

    It might be due to the fact that the website developers still don’t have a reliable knowledge about which of the current bugs in IE8B2 will be fixed in the final release, so they don’t want to waste their time doing fixes and screaming at the walls due to all the new problems that they face with the beta. As soon as they saw the problems everyone understood that there was still a lot of work pending, so they wait for you to finish it and then they will be glad to fix their sites for another version of IE.

    Isn’t it nice having to support IE6, IE7, IE8 and the rest of browsers?

  43. Tino Zijdel says:

    We were recently contacted by Microsoft Netherlands on IE8 compatibility wrt our website ( ) and that it had visual ‘issues’ in IE8’s standard mode. The mail however wasn’t really helpfull since it did not go into detail about /what/ was actually rendering wrong and besides pointing out the X-UA-Compatible setting didn’t give *any* pointers on how to fix issues in a standard compliant way.

    Now I only know of 1 issue on our site (beside that issue all pages look exactly like they do in IE7 afaik) and that issue I deem a bug in IE8b2 since it’s the only browser that displays it: it has to do with trailing <br>’s that sometimes render an empty line below floats (we use these <br>’s for clearing).

    As for CSS compliance I have a question: the CSS specification says that illegal property-values should be ignored. Why does IE throw an exception when an illegal property-value is assigned through script (e.g. setting’-10px’ or something)?

    And the latest annoyance that took me some time to figure out: IE doesn’t clone empty textNodes when using cloneNode(true).

    It would be nice to have an overview of things that are or will be fixed in the RC.

  44. Rowan says:

    Even if IE8 does support full CSS2.1 we still can’t be sure which *bugs* will and won’t be fixed. At present time the bugs in beta 2 are too significant for anyone to make a reasonable judgment about IE’s future.

    I haven’t made a single change to any of the sites I’ve built in relation to IE8, even if the sites are unusable in it.

    Microsoft is effectively going back on its promise to use IE8’s new standards mode by default.

    Now every developer, regardless if they want the new rendering engine or not, will have to use the rendering mode switch just to be sure their visitors continue to get the right rendering mode now and in the future.

    I wouldn’t mind as much if it was inconvenient and out of the way for users to get this list, but the fact that it’s part of the install wizard means that nearly everyone will have the list enabled before they determine whether or not they need it.

    This is an issue for site owners to worry about, not one for Microsoft to butt into.

  45. Jeff Walden says:

    From Dan:

    "Jeff Walden, the cross-domain request object is header-compatible with the CS-XHR proposal, meaning that a server can easily be compatible with both."

    The server side is only half of the picture; what about the client side?  Note that I clearly referred to the client side in my initial question.

  46. miandy says:

    About your comment of some  web pages  not showing correctly, and looking a bit misaligned, is it a compatibility issue with the actual IE? wii it be fixed with the new version ? is difficult for designers to create a web site that does not show how it was designed

    <a href="">Dise&ntilde;ador web</a>

  47. sandy77 says:

    I have IE last version and works perfect, it may deppend on the css use

  48. Dan says:

    It is encouraging to see how Compatibility View has evolved based on community feedback. However, I would caution against relying upon Beta 2 telemetry too much. Some web developers have suspended IE8 compatibility efforts pending resolution of showstopper bugs in Beta 2.

    I would like to add my voice to the growing chorus of users calling for one more beta before the first release candidate.  I believe one more iteration of test-and-feedback is necessary for developers to prepare their plan of action to support IE8 in full standards mode.

    Our bosses are asking us to do more with less (in this economic climate) and it is hard to see how one can justify resources (eg. developers and QA) for an IE8 effort when so much uncertainty surrounds the application itself.

    (Seriously. Some business managers want to know why they cannot simply tell customers to "hold off" until the next (post IE8) version of Internet Explorer, just like  Vista.)

  49. Anonymuos says:

    So you do acknowledge Opera at least? I thought Opera didn’t exist. Now will you make Silverlight work properly with it? Will you support WGA validation, CardSpace provider, ClickOnce, XBAPs, Windows Live and Office Live in Opera? And Safari for Windows as well since we’re on the topic?

  50. shane says:

    Microsoft should just get out of the the Browser game all together….IE has always been considered to be joke by designers and developers….The fact that it has the luxury of being the default browser for millions of windows users who are either too stupid or too lazy to get a better browser, has been the only thing keeping it alive.

    This position has fostered a sub standard level of development on the part of IE, which web designers and developers have had bow to and accomodate. This has now led to this ridiculous compatiblity issue because only now IE has decided to come to the party as far as standards go.

    The good thing about all this mess is that hopefully it will encourage more people to install Firefox, Safari, Opera,  (you name it).

    Ultimately the web will be a better place for it.

  51. Standards says:

    "As this user data has come from Beta 2 (and perhaps more worrying Beta 1?), which still has an alarming amount of rendering bugs still active, itโ€™s highy likely that what end-users are actually seeing are Beta 2 (or Beta 1โ€™s) rendering bugs, not as a result of a badly-coded website which relies on IE7โ€™s quirky layout rendering."

    "Arguably, the most worrying situation for authors of these sites would be if MS decided not to refresh the data that the TLD list is based on, once the release candidate is distributed. Not refreshing this data (i.e wiping the data collected from the two Betas), would mean that authors of sites that appear in the โ€˜blacklistโ€™ would presumably have to use the version targeting <META>/HTTP Header together with the newly introduced IE=EmulateIE8 value to remove their site from this blacklist – I presume this since there was a similar mechanism proposed back in August."

    "So we are back to a similar scenario to the one where it was proposed Compatibility Mode be enabled by default, where even though a site is standards-compliant, the <META>/HTTP Header reset will need to be added by default to prevent these standards-compliant sites being viewed in Compatibility Mode."

    Excellent blog post about this new boneheaded scheme by the IE Team.

    Opera’s CTO did warn about this, it’s clear MS is breaking their so called Interoperability Principles, not like MS cares about interoperability in the first place.

  52. SiSL says:

    "….IE has always been considered to be joke by designers and developers"

    Are you serious, o realy?

    IE has always been main concern by designers and developers. Not a joke at all… If you don’t, you would not be different than "I’m making this site for myself and myself only"

  53. Stifu says:

    "Microsoft is learning that people are very reluctant to update their sites to work correctly with IE8"

    Yeah, starting with their own blog and site.

  54. Tom says:

    @ Sisl : "IE has always been main concern by designers and developers." Right, because IE was the default browser in Windows and so was used by most people. Main concern … but often as a source of problems. And often a joke as far as standards were concerned.

  55. Mitch 74 says:

    The idea of a "standard quirks" list isn’t bad in itself. I however question its implementation.

    – as a system update, it means that people that don’t have administrator access to their machines depend on someone else’s decision to update the list. Since it’s a non-vital update, it may get applied very late.

    – as a system update (2), it means that it won’t be refreshed more than once every 2 months. That’s quite a long time.

    – yet another subsystem to maintain.

    I really wonder why you don’t merge that functionality with your "bad website blocker":

    – dynamic updates

    – code reuse

    – less code bloat.

  56. Pete Austin says:

    Previous IE versions have included "breaking changes" at the very last moment (I well remember how the phishing scanner in IE7 would max out a CPU core for over two minutes when displaying a harmless page on my site) so it’s better to wait, and test after launch.

  57. billybob says:

    If Vista was built like IE then it would have had 2 driver API’s and would have supported the XP API so they would not punish hardware manufacturers who made their drivers in the past.  They didn’t do that because sometimes you have to break with the past to make progress.

    I have this terrible feeling that somehow web developers are going to be paying for these decisions for a long time to come.

  58. Trevor says:

    PS Your anti-spam filter is VERY, VERY ANNOYING!

    Dear Microsoft,

    You have completely dropped the ball on this by NOT actually talking (and listening) to the community.

    Your very next action should be the following.

    Provide an online poll/questionaire that will gather *REAL* information from site/app developers.

    Ask the following:

    a.) What public sites/apps do you manage?

    (freeform textarea)

    b.) What private sites/apps do you manage?

    (freeform textarea)

    c.) Have you been testing in IE8 Beta 2?


    d.) When do you plan to make any changes to support IE8?

    (already have|before the RC|after the RC|before RTM|after RTM|never|other)

    (other: freeform textarea)

    e.) Will your sites render in IE8 Standards mode, or will they default to IE7 Compatibility Mode?

    (freeform textarea)

    f.) Which issues in IE8 concern you most?

    (freeform textarea)

    g.) Thank you very much for your time, any final comments?

    (freeform textarea)

    With the above questions and answers, you’ll actually be able to understand what we are doing, and when.

  59. Trevor says:

    PS Your anti-spam filter is VERY, VERY ANNOYING!

    Dear Microsoft,

    Since this type of form isn’t available anywhere right now, I’ll start with my answers.


    a.) What public sites/apps do you manage?

    4 small community sites that run in Quirks mode

    b.) What private sites/apps do you manage?

    A Large enterprise-wide application, with umpteen deployments.

    c.) Have you been testing in IE8 Beta 2?

    yes. our deployed apps works in compat mode, internal development is ready for IE8 but if the RC is not fixed up, we will force an IE7 compat mode due to bugs in IE8.

    d.) When do you plan to make any changes to support IE8?

    other:we already recognize IE8, do not apply hacks that we did for IE6/IE7, etc. We are waiting on the RC release to determine if we can ship in IE8 standards mode or if we need to force IE7 rendering.

    e.) Will your sites render in IE8 Standards mode, or will they default to IE7 Compatibility Mode?

    Currently fails to render in IE8 Standards mode due to bugs in IE.  We would like to deploy in standards mode but if bugs are not fixed, we will force IE7.

    f.) Which issues in IE8 concern you most?

    1.) The missing window resize() event breaks our application.

    2.) The styling/rendering regression issues with select elements make our application look amateur.

    3.) Regression bugs with -ms-opacity and stacking are affecting usability in IE8 standards mode.

    g.) Thank you very much for your time, any final comments?

    We are quite looking forward to IE8, and in particular IE8 Standards mode.  We just wish we had more information about the fixes that are going into RC1 so that we can plan for them now.  For our deployed applications we will need to either force IE7 rendering or provide a patch for IE8.  We’re fine either way on this, but we will need 2-3 weeks from when we know what will be in IE8 RTM release (e.g. at or before the RC) so that we can build our patch (best case) or force compat mode (worse case).

    We will not be pleased at all if the time frame between RC1 and RTM is less than 3 weeks.

    thanks, Trevor

  60. Good!

    It is a very good move from Microsoft’s side to make sure that nothing is breaking when releasing new version of IE due to compatibility issues.

    But there are many other issues also. See, the IE processes are very heavy and makes the system not to respond, when loading multiple pages (say 10 or more) at a time. Sometimes, javascript (in Google sites) is not executing properly. Eventhough the new process model is implemented, the entire browser is getting creashed on the issues with one tab.

    I’ve addressed very few, but many are more…

    Note: The performance issues mentioned here are found in IE8 B2 running on my office PC with Windows XP SP3 machine with 2GB RAM

    PS: Feel free to contact me to my to for any clarifications

  61. fearphage says:

    You were doing the right thing now you are adding back SUCK to the equation.

    If I can render in IE7 mode for the full life of IE8 (who knows how many years that will be), what driving force is pushing me to update my site? None.

    Making it automatic and a big sweeping change is a step backwards. You will no longer be pushing the web forward but allowing it to stew in its own quirks-mode hell.

    Why didn’t you pull a team together to contact the sites that weren’t supporting IE8 correctly and guide them through fixing it. Opening the web:

    This also presented you with an opportunity to push object detection instead of browser detection. So many good things could have come from this but instead you threw it all away. You could have come to the aid of web developers everywhere, but instead you took the easy route. Way to go. Thanks.

  62. The next public update of Internet Explorer 8 includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users

  63. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Jerry Mead: your /beta/samples/printcontrol page/control works properly in the current IE8 build on XPSP3 and Vista SP1.

    Thanks for providing a test case.

  64. norton says:

    Adding my feedback too (thanks Trevor)

    Norton Haris

    Canadian PHP Web Developer


    a.) What public sites/apps do you manage?

    2 corporate web sites

    b.) What private sites/apps do you manage?

    An internal corporate site

    c.) Have you been testing in IE8 Beta 2?

    yes of course

    d.) When do you plan to make any changes to support IE8?

    after IE8 final.

    e.) Will your sites render in IE8 Standards mode, or will they default to IE7 Compatibility Mode?

    Our sites render in IE8 but we want to clean up the CSS and JavaScript for IE8 when it is released.

    f.) Which issues in IE8 concern you most?

    not knowing when IE8 will go final and what will be in it.

    g.) Thank you very much for your time, any final comments?

    keep up the good work but please keep us up to date.

  65. Jerry Mead says:

    @ EricLaw: Thanks, that’s a great relief.

    Trying to get a .cab install onto a clean IE8 beta 2 on XP SP3 box gave us a reluctant & frozen half-info bar, no action, then a default to a most unwelcome "A malfunctioning or malicious add-on has caused Internet Explorer to close this webpage." message.

    Control removal from Downloaded Program Files was also broken in that environment, and removal from Manage Add-ons had disappeared.

    Thanks again.

  66. tony says:

    Why does IE8 not show me the pointing hand cursor when I hover over links with graphics/spans inside them?  This only seems to break in IE8 Standards mode – Compat mode works fine.

  67. tony says:

    Arghhhh!!! ditto for links on spans with no text content, but CSS dimensions!


    <span class="neatIcon" onclick="doMagic();"></span>




     /*…background image stuff…*/


    Argh, this IE8 thing just isn’t ready yet!

  68. Scott Dickens [MS] says:

    @Anonymous Coward

    Totally agree it would be frustrating / confusing to web developers so "no" – Standards Mode DOCTYPEs opened via ‘localhost’ are displayed in IE8 Standards Mode by default.

    @Tom Stack

    We have an ongoing process of keeping the list "up-to-date" where we evaluate user feedback that comes in between a) last list ship and b) the current ship update cycle. As an example, the telemetry data we have now is from Beta 2 builds (as Beta 2 builds are what’s in the wild). We’re using Beta 2 data to create the release candidate list. We’ll use release candidate data to create the next list update. Etc…


    Understand your concern about relying entirely on Beta 2. Please see my comment to Tom Stack on the similar subject above.


    The blog post you link to has some mistakes / misinterpretations.

    1. "A list of TLDs that prompt the highest number of switches is compiled". No, a list of super-important sites is compiled (based on 3rd party survey data). We then look to see if users are having compatibility failures on those sites and, if they are, contact those sites and add them to the list.

    2. "the most worrying situation for authors of these sites would be if MS decided not to refresh the data that the TLD list is based on, once the release candidate is distributed". Agreed, that would be worrying – which is why it isn’t the case :). Per the blog post, the list is regularly updated and we’ll regularly visit the need to offer the list to users at all.

    3. "would mean that authors of sites that appear in the โ€˜blacklistโ€™ would presumably have to use the version targeting <META>/HTTP Header together with the newly introduced IE=EmulateIE8 value to remove their site from this blacklist". No, sites can notify us that they don’t want to be on the list and we’ll remove them at the next scheduled list update.

    @Mitch 74

    You bring up several good points that we also thought through during feature design. The design trade-off we made was a) "baking in" a most assuredly stale list vs b) leveraging an existing update mechanism that is predictable and manageable. Enterprises already manage IE patches – I’d argue that using the existing process known to them is directly avoiding another subsystem to maintain.

    Re-using the SmartScreen filter update mechanism would have been nice and was  considered, but too many large changes would have been required to get things working with Compatibility View. Creating a new IE-specific "signature updates" mechanism in a manner similar to say Anti-Virus / Windows Live OneCare was debated but ultimately rejected due to the fact that it *would* introduce another subsystem to maintain.

  69. Rob says:


    If you knew what you were talking about, you would know about IEs poor javascript support, and wouldn’t ignore my saying IE8 sucks on the DOM, can’t and won’t do XHTML can’t and won’t do SVG, virtually nothing in CSS3.


    IE8, when it comes out next year, will be years and years behind EVERY other major player and will continue with the title of WORST BROWSER ON THE PLANET.

  70. Tomas says:

    @Scott Dickens [MS]:

    Will this list be available to the public? Or how can we check wether our website is on the list or not?

  71. steve says:

    @Scott Dickens [MS]

    Before you start spreading mis-information, please consult a developer at MSFT.


    This has been brought up as a major issue by web developers to Microsoft, but as of yet, they have not given up on this silly stance.

    IE8 renders in standards mode by default, ONLY under the following conditions:

    1.) site has a valid doctype

    2.) site is not forcing IE7 mode with a META tag or HTTP Header

    3.) site is on the PUBLIC Internet (sites on the local intranet, including localhost, machinename,, and 192.168.100.x will all render in NON-Standards mode by default)

    4.) your site has not been added to the magic list of compat sites that Microsoft is developing.


  72. steve says:

    Woops, a few more conditions:

    5.) site is forcing IE8 mode via META tag or HTTP Header

    Also be aware that if you have multiple sites/applications running at the same domain, if ***ANY*** of those sites is added to the compatibility list, then ***ALL*** of your sites will render in IE7 mode, even if they meet all other criteria and were designed to run in Standards Mode.

  73. Mitch 74 says:

    @Scott Dickens: oh. Ok.

    I don’t really get your "enterprise" argument though, as (by default) IE accesses intranets and local websites in IE7 standardized quirks mode (or something); what use is the list to them, then? Of course these machines will also access the Internet, but I’m not sure I see the point.

    On the other hand, Small/Medium sized businesses and home users won’t make use of these distribution strategies (other than Windows Update, which is often disabled by default on infected machines – see botnets) but would directly benefit from a self-updateable mechanism.

    Merging the two lists may also bring in an added security measure:

    – sites flagged as "bad": forces IE8 standards mode, with CSS expressions disabled. Reduced attack surface.

    – sites flagged as "quirky": render as IE7.

    – sites not flagged: follow site’s preferences.

    It may also be worth it to rework said SmartScreen implementation, considering the various flaws found since IE7 (why send a complete URL? Why not use a hash?).

  74. Noel Boland says:

    On most sites I visit with IE8 Beta 2 regardless of the compatibly setting if the Zoom level is above 100% (bottom right corner) the page scrolling up and down responds so slow it is unusable. Good example of a website is MSN Encarter.


  75. sal says:

    @Noel, re: slow IE.  This bug has been registered with Microsoft at Connect# 371251:

    and over on Web Bug Track as bug#:512

    Microsoft has not yet acknowledged either bug report, although almost every user has encountered this issue.

  76. Elementary says:

    Dear IE Team, can you get this site to support IE8 instead of giving this stupid annoying error message?

    Visiting live above in IE8 redirects you to this stupid link below.

  77. Meg says:

    Dose any one know if Microsoft address this bug? (see link)

    When trying to past into the address bar IE 8 crashes if you have Auto Complete off.

  78. Unknown says:

    So I got some info from someone that tested IE8 in Windows 7 build 6956, not sure how much newer the IE8 build is compared to Beta 2.

    Acid3 is epic fail obviously.

    IE8 6956(Win 7)

    From the 43 selectors 22 have passed, 1 are buggy and 20 are unsupported (Passed 349 out of 578 tests)


    From the 43 selectors 19 have passed, 2 are buggy and 22 are unsupported (Passed 346 out of 578 tests)

  79. hamilton says:

    @Elementary: Time Warner Cable is not allowing you in because IE8 is not stable yet, nor are all the details of the final version available thus they can only guess at what IE8 will support.

    They are doing the right thing by allowing you access to the site, but rather than suggest an IE7 download, they should tell the user to click the Compatibility View button, until IE8 goes final, and they can tweak their code as needed to support IE8.

    Expect this to be the case for most sites until Microsoft releases RC1, or they announce which bugs will be fixed in RC1 since Beta 2.

    Currently, all of us developers have no clue what the IE Team has fixed, thus we can’t deploy any production code for IE8 support yet.

    Finally, if you are not a web developer, you shouldn’t be using IE8 yet as it is still in Beta and will most certainly be buggy for regular every day browsing until at least 30days after the RC release.


  80. jennifer says:

    @Scott Dickens: "Totally agree it would be frustrating / confusing to web developers so "no" – Standards Mode DOCTYPEs opened via ‘localhost’ are displayed in IE8 Standards Mode by default."

    – Wrong, way wrong! Read the blog posts! The details were clearly outlined in this post:

  81. Anonymous says:


    uhh…he wrote the blog post.

  82. Arvind says:

    Hi All,

    Is there any server side includes.That make the site compatible with IE 8.Beacuse its tough for us to redesigh every module and we cant force the customes to select the "compatible iew". Because they may hate our site in 1st impression.

    Suggest me….



  83. Stifu says:

    Arvind: yes, there is.

    Check this article:

    Relevant part:

    * On a per-site basis, add a custom HTTP header

       X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE7

  84. ebusyness says:

    I think it’s not a good idea to let the user decide between things he does not understand. The user only understands that pages he views are nice or broken.

    So it would be better if the browser (or better the page deliverer) decides in which mode the browser runs.

  85. Sumaiya says:

    im really amazed IE8 is so good and its so smooth to use… its far better than IE7

  86. greg says:

    @Anonymous: That’s funny! Scott Dickens wrote the original post, had the right facts, but since then forgot and was then confusing the issue by suggesting the opposite!

    I personally HATE the Intranet==QuirkyStandardsMode behavior in IE8.

    Think about this for a minute.

    You are a developer, building a website or application.

    You have a production server out on the public Internet that renders in Standards Mode, but your development servers, that you build and test your site on internally, on your local network, all have to be explicitly removed from the compatibility settings in order to render like the production site.

    Its no wonder that developers hate developing in IE, it is so painful with so many hoops to jump through!

    Even more fun is that I have 3 sites running on every server.

    1.) My End User Application

    2.) My Application Server’s Admin Tool

    3.) My Database Server’s Admin Tool

    I want them to run in the following modes:

    1.) IE8 Standards Mode

    2.) IE7 Compat Mode

    3.) IE7 Compat Mode

    And as all developers that run this common config know, –no dice– you can’t do this because the compat settings are locked to a domain, not a domain + port, or domain + module, or subdomain + domain.

    I should be able to pick things like:

    Compat Mode On (e.g. port 80 runs in standards):




    Compat Mode On:



    Thus Compat Mode Off:


    I see this Compatibility Mode being the Achilles’ heel in IE that will only prove to cause more pain as time moves on.

    E.g. When IE 10 is released, am I going to have a dialog with this?

    Display the following sites in IE7 compatability Mode:

    Display the following sites in IE8 compatability Mode:

    Display the following sites in IE9 compatability Mode:

    The future of this line of thinking really scares me.

  87. @AlfonsoML: In response to your comment (#9177005) about having no way to determine which of the outstanding bugs won’t be fixed in the final release, you can check out Gerard Talbot’s bug list (, in which he labels all the current known bugs that won’t be fixed for final release. Bearing in mind people (including myself) are finding more and more new ones everyday, Gerard’s list is far from complete.

  88. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Meg: Yes, the autocomplete bug is known and fixed.

    @Greg: Instead of requiring that the end user adopt such a complicated configuration within the browser, don’t you think it would make a lot more sense for the site itself to declare what layout strategy should be used?  Hence, you set the META-tag on your two non-standards-mode sites, and you’re good to go.  (Of course, I hope you’ll agree that making all 3 sites follow web standards is the best long-term strategy).

    @ebusyness: That’s precisely the point; the end-user only needs to make a decision "Does this page look right?"  If not, they click the button.  If the server is configured (via the meta tag) then the user need not even decide that– the page will just work.

    @Pete Austin– "so it’s better to wait, and test after launch."

    I think you’re pretty much missing the point.  It’s MUCH easier to fix bugs BEFORE we ship, which is why we strongly encourage folks to test in Beta2 and RC1 and file bugs as they encounter them.  The sooner a bug is found, the easier it is to fix.

    @hamilton– "if you are not a web developer, you shouldn’t be using IE8 yet as it is still in Beta"

    On the contrary– the entire point of the beta is to get feedback from users.  Even if every web site author on the planet would go out and test the beta, then we’d still need feedback from normal users on the user-experience and product features (e.g. Favorites bar) that aren’t related to the web platform itself.  And since we know that not all websites will test with IE8, it’s very helpful for us to get reports from customers that such-and-such a site doesn’t work well with IE8 so we can proactively outreach to that site, and fix any bugs in IE itself.

  89. Web Developer says:

    Subscribe to a list of sites that needs to be displayed in compatibility mode. Are you kidding me?

    Let’s face it. IE is broken. It is the single biggest thing holding back the web’s potential.

    MS should drop the IE engine and use WebKit or Gecko. I’m serious. Apple does. Google does. Why not use Gecko and write an ActiveX add-on?

    Get out of the engine business. Make the skin and some add-ons. Heck, make an add-on that wraps the IE7 engine and subscription to a compatibility list. Work with the IE-tab people.

    I’m tired of writing CSS hacks. I’m tired of counting pixels. I’m tied of writing stuff for the web circa 2001 because of IE. I’m tired if IE.

    Are you?

  90. Scott Dickens [MS] says:

    @ Steve

    Your description is correct based on Beta 2 behavior. However, due to feedback (such as that provided by you and others) we’re planning on changing the behavior in the release candidate. Sorry that I wasn’t clearer about the "this is new behavior" part.

    @ jennifer

    See above (and, as someone else pointed out, I did author the Beta 2 entry you linked to :)).

    @ greg

    No, wasn’t confused – just wasn’t clear on the part that’s changing. Sorry about that.

    And, just to reinforce @EricLaw, for your particular scenario testing / staging scenario it seems like using the ‘EmulateIE8’ header for the domain that you want using IE8 Standards is the way to go. Most web servers allow you to configure HTTP headers on a per site basis.

  91. I’d like to echo what Tomas asked (#9181160) – if the proposed Compatibility View list will be publicly accessible?

  92. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @James Hopkins: as noted in the post itself, any IE user can read the list by typing


    into the address bar.

  93. marcus says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT] – reading that list will only be possible in the RC release though, correct?

    Attempting to load it now just throws up an error page ("can’t navigate to")

    I think releasing this bit of info, without specifying (in the same location) that this is ONLY for post IE8 Beta 2… is ill-advised.


  94. Charles says:

    I’m a bit concerned about these recent comments.

    1.) I do not believe that end users should be using IE8 Beta 2 without CLEAR, CONCISE information that they are running a beta, sites will fail, and to expect bugs/issues.  IE8 breaks a lot of stuff (even with sites expecting IE8 – due to regressions)

    2.) OK, So [localdrive/localhost/Intranet], what is the FINAL ANSWER? will IE8 RC1/IE8 RTM render in IE8 STANDARDS MODE or not? This **STILL** isn’t clear!

    currently in IE8 Beta2 it is:





    what will it be in the final?

    3.) That DLL with the compat list doesn’t work in Beta2, that should be clarified.

    4.) Re: setting the "force IE8" header… isn’t this where this all began?  The whole idea of rendering in standards mode by default was so that sites built in the last 3 years, and the next 50 years render by default in standards mode, WITHOUT any additional server configuration (which many site developers don’t have easy access to set)

  95. Ted says:

    Charles, you need to THINK and READ.

    1: people aren’t surprised to learn "oh, i’ve got the IE8 beta."  they have to go out of their way to install it.

    2: Your answer is above.

    localdrive: no

    localhost: Yes, in RC

    intranet: no

    internet: yes

    3: It doesn’t need clarification; the whole post is about RC1.

    4: You need to read.

  96. Charles says:

    Hi Ted the epic fail, thanks for your response – so glad someone as clever as you could reply and not an MS representative.

    If it was clear, there wouldn’t be 95 comments on this post, and 289 on the "post beta 2" one.

    Since "localhost" and "servername" are both and all are on the local network (e.g. Intranet) there needs to be clarification.  Has Microsoft heard that we don’t want ANY sites (outside of the compatlist) to render in IE7 by default? or are they only making a partial fix here?

    e.g. I look at the page on my local machine and it looks fine, but a user in my office looks at the same page and it is busted?  I think this would be even more confusing when trying to track down bugs when it "looks correct here", but "looks like !@#$ from here".

    You are right about users that download IE8 Beta2 "know" what they’ve done, but they may not be aware that "The Web" isn’t ready for IE8 yet. (I know I’m not changing a thing until an RC is released, that’s for sure)

    As for #3, yuh huh, it is needed, since every other post is someone complaining that they can’t see the list.

    as for #4, I can read – quite well in fact since I’ve read every post on this blog since day 1 (many several times).  Since you can read too you likely recall that when IE8 was talked about at first here they said that devs would need to opt-in to Standards Mode, which was met with a… lets just say "complete dis-interest in this approach" which caused MSFT to change their stance, and go with Standards Mode by default…

    Then Compatibility Mode came into play to handle the sites that (won’t/can’t/haven’t) updated.

    When Beta 2 came on the scene MSFT said that the behavior changed again to be that Intranet sites (and localhost, and localdrive) would render in non-standards mode.

    Much complaining began and now in the comments of this post, we see that Scott has indicated that the team has changed their mind, and is now changing this behavior to RE-include some sites in the Standards Mode by default set.

    Since this is only gathered across scattered comments and not mentioned in the post itself, a whole lot of clarification would be ideal before the RC goes out.

    Thanks again Ted for an inspiring read.  You truly have a unique view of the Web Development world not shared by m^Hany.

  97. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Charles: Internet Explorer uses Zones for many purposes, including determining whether or not a site should render in CompatView.  One quirk of the Zones system is that by default "" is considered "Internet", and both "Localhost" and "Dotless-ServerName" are considered Intranet.  As Scott noted in a comment above, we plan to take a change such that both and Localhost are rendered in Standards Mode by default.

    As elaborated in various posts to the IEBlog, it was a deliberate design decision that Intranet sites will, by default, render in CompatView.  As described, any user or organization unhappy with that default is free to change it.

    @Charles,@Ted: Please read to avoid having your comments moderated.


  98. @Ted,

    In my opinion, Charles’ post was appropriate, relevant, moderate and meaningful. All of us are using beta 2 and not internal builds of IE 8: that’s different for [MSFT] people. You said

    > It doesn’t need clarification; the whole post is about RC1.

    then such post was not contextually justified, was not contextually on target.

    > 2:

    > localdrive: no

    > localhost: Yes, in RC

    > intranet: no

    > internet: yes

    The normal observation then is that such configuration is not consistent, uniform and not obvious per se. And once IE 8 final is released, then such configuration will require to be clear, widely known otherwise self-evident for people who do not necessarly read IE blog all the time.

    IE 8 will be the *_only_* browser which will be sensitive to many specific codes like

    – conditional comments

    – meta-tags

    but also to environments (intranet, localhost, internet), adding new properties (documentMode),  adding a compatibility view button, UI settings, default settings, even Microsoft maintained compatibility list. It certainly looks at first sight as rather quite complex and not self-evident.

    Add on top of that that IE team people like Scott Dickens and MSDN columnists propose and actively promote user agent string detection (not best, not reliable, not forward-compatible) for cross-browser web design instead of object/method support detection which is widely recognized by web standards groups as better, more reliable, more future-proof.

    Ted, can you please be a bit more moderate and understanding, less harsch? There is no need for this.

    We all want the web to move forward, to advance forward in compliance with W3C web standards, you know…

    Regards, Gérard

  99. Charles says:

    Thanks Eric,

    So for RC1/RTM the IE8 Standards Mode by default will be:






    Good to know. We’ll adjust our internal servers to all push the "force IE8" HTTP header:

    X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE8

    Now looking at this, when IE9 comes out, if I add the header above, have I just locked into IE8 only rendering? or will IE9 render the content even better than IE8? (e.g. even more standards compliant)

    As much as I’d like to render in IE8 standards mode I don’t want to lock myself out of future IE releases.

    As per my scuffle with Ted I apologize if I stepped over the line. Ted is well known to be terse, I just wanted to clarify the community feels un-informed at times. Ted, no hard feelings… if I’m ever in your town, I’d love to buy you a beer and chat.


  100. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Charles: You got it; your chart is correct.

    Yes, if you use EmulateIE8, then the plan is that you’re requesting a lock to the Standards mode support of IE8 (or quirks, it the page is configured to render in quirks mode).  

    If you want to always get the "latest and greatest" support, then you’re asking for the Edge option:

    X-UA-Compatible: IE=Edge

    This will always give you the latest standards mode available.  For IE8, it will give you IE8 Standards mode.  For IE9, it will give you IE9 Standards mode.  Etc.

    (Note: unlike the "Emulate" options, Edge will never result in Quirks mode.)

    We strongly encourage anyone considering the Edge tag to consider whether or not this will create a supportability problem for their applications several years from now.

  101. The next public beta release of Internet Explorer 8 will include improvements to Compatibility View that

  102. News says:

    The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the

  103. yetAnotherWebDev says:

    Overall, I have a lot of respect for what you are trying to do in terms of better standards support with IE8.

    But I have also been one of the people who are waiting for a version of IE that gives a conclusive idea of final IE8 behavior. 9 months of outreach alone won’t help, if there is no sufficiently final version to test against.

    I must say, that had been waiting for a RC (and one that deserves the name). I don’t want to debug your browser, I only "want" to work around the remaining quirks that your browser has with my website.

    Reading this post and the comments to it, I really start wondering: at which point in time and against which version of IE would you have _expected_ people to seriously and completely adjust their live web sites? This is not a polemic question. So far, I had the impression that you were not at that point yet and that a final signal was not yet given by you.

    I understand that you get a little nervous because of approaching relase dates and adjusted schedules. But you cannot expect the live web in its full scale to do continuous integration against your still quickly-moving beta versions.

    I wish you success with IE8, so that you get clearance to develop IE9 along the same direction.

  104. anabel says:

    i would like to know about the public beta release of Internet Explorer 8, what improvements to Compatibility will include please

  105. Ewart says:

    IE8 will be a very welcome enhancement towards standards.  Developing cost us at least 10-15% more simply to get it working in all popular browsers and I’m certain this productivity loss is being experienced worldwide.  All industry players not just MS have contributed to the interoperability problem by not choosing to follow standards or implementing standards differently.

    IE6+7 being the default browser for most people has painted MS into a corner here and while there is small window one could wriggle out of (e.g. not changing the default view), it would be a slower escape than just walking out over the wet paint which will not leave pretty marks.. the escape would otherwise be so slow many customers may kark it in the process.. and it’s never good for your business if you have no customers.

    Anyway, great to see such an aggressive stance by Microsoft even though the outcome for MS may not be pretty as a result.  If we’re having such a ‘shock’ it would be great if MS also took it all the way with a more aggressive stance on adoption.. e.g. force the majority of customers with IE6 and 7 to update to IE8 within 3 months of its launch..  assuming IE8 can be made robust.  

  106. Michael says:

    "We strongly encourage anyone considering the Edge tag to consider whether or not this will create a supportability problem for their applications several years from now."

    Well, do you know something we don’t?!  If I write a standards-compliant website and update it to the standards and your browser adheres to the standards there should be no problems should there?

    Let’s hope you keep your side of the bargain…

  107. You should provide a way for sites to override the list. E.g. when a site that is on the list sends the following header, it should display in standards mode:

     X-UA-Compatible: IE=IE8.

    Otherwise those sites on the list will have a very hard time updating to suit IE8 standards mode, if they can only migrate on a fixed date once every two months.


  108. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Michael asked: "Well, do you know something we don’t?!"

    Long-time readers of the IEBlog know what happened last time the contract between browser and server allowed for breaking changes to improve standards support.  The "Strict" tag was injected in millions of pages by ignorant developers or their tools without any realization on the part of the developers that this was signing them up for breaking changes in future browser versions.  

    There’s a long discussion here:

    While some of commenters are sure to say: "The solution is simple, break them anyway" that very much ignores reality.  The reality is that users will not install a browser that breaks their favorite sites, and hence trying to "push" the web forward rarely works in practice.  Hence, our investment in CompatView this time around.

    If you say "Edge" but aren’t compatible with IE9+ Standards mode, CompatView will not save you.

    @Laurens Holst: As noted in this post and others, yes, if you send the header or meta tag, the Compatibility list is overridden.

  109. Public says:

    "Internet Explorer 8 beta participants today received a surprising e-mail about ‘IE8 Partner Build’ released to the IE8 Technical Beta to test and find issues. This build represents a preview of IE8’s progress and is best used to verify issues fixed since releasing Beta 2. While Microsoft believes it to be of adequate quality for you to use, is not as extensively tested as a milestone build, so it is not meant for the general public but only for testing purposes."

    Make this build public, MS. Beta 2 has such horrible bugs and regressions, you can’t test anything on it.

  110. 18343 says:

    "The new IE 8 build is numbered 8.0.6001.18343, testers said."

    I saw a screenshot of this new release, it’s already tagged as Release Candidate 1. So without even confirming with the public testers here that the severe bugs are fixed, MS is just gonna go ahead and release it like that?

  111. barlog says:

    ๅ…ˆๆ—ฅ IE Blog ใงใ‚ขใƒŠใ‚ฆใƒณใ‚นใ•ใ‚Œใพใ—ใŸ ไบ’ๆ›ใซ้–ขใ™ใ‚‹ๆ”นๅ–„ ใ‚’็››ใ‚Š่พผใ‚“ใ ใ‚คใƒณใ‚ฟใƒผใƒชใƒ ใƒ“ใƒซใƒ‰ใŒไธ€้ƒจใƒ†ใ‚นใ‚ฟใƒผๅ‘ใ‘ใซ้…ๅธƒใ•ใ‚Œใพใ—ใŸใ€‚ thx Mary Jo Fo…

  112. @18343: I have this new developer build and I can confirm that they have fixed a number of fairly major bugs that were shipped with Beta 2; I haven’t had a lot of time to test the build thoroughly but I ran it through my own bug list ( and they fixed five out of the twelve bugs I spotted in Beta 2.

    There are a number of bugs however, that won’t be fixed for fina release – Gerard Talbot has marked the ones that won’t be fixed on his own bug list page (

  113. Tihiy says:

    Erm, how to disable "Download Windows Search" in IE8 pre-RC1? Who give you right to place that big obtrusive spam caption in my address bar? Why opening my movie site lead to "pdf wants to run" yellow bar, Windows Installer mumbling about Office and IE crash? Why the text i write here is partially blue underlined? Why UI is even uglier? How many times more IE installer will install msctf fix, alongside with IME enabling registry entry leading to all languages on system being broken? Why there is already 200 000 page faults in iexplore.exe? How many times more you have to hit your face with table? Can I uninstall IE8 in Windows 7?


    and why couldn’t I upload that image in IE8?

  114. SiSL says:

    Just curious:“>

    Why IE8 tells me it needs compability view while w3c validates it?

  115. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @SiSL: If you see the "Internet Explorer must render this site in compatibility view balloon" automatically, this means that the new renderer encountered a problem and fell back to the old one.  I can view your site in the current IE8 builds without a problem, which suggests that this problem was fixed.

  116. SiSL says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]

    Thank you, wish I had current builds too ๐Ÿ™‚ Not the baloon but the icon next to address bar. Normally it does not show up (say some pages I built with Expressions own editor etc.) but simple page like that had me thinking about it with same XHTML Transitional.

  117. Jasper says:

    Admit it, IE Team. You guys took the bad wrap for being the least compatible browser according to W3C standards, and may never shed the title that you guys had already established under the brand name of Internet Explorer.

    Unless a new version of IE is released, which is developed ahead of all the standards implemented by all major web browsers, it will only be a steep slope downwards for the marketshare of IE as the nature of web applications changes, with the advance of web standards that IE does not support.

  118. draadloze router says:

    Jasper, it is not in the interest of the end-user whether or not the browser is compatible. They want a fast browser and good looking websites. With more – and faster – browsers, no wonder the market share is decreasing. But this decrease isn’t due to the incompatibility.

  119. James says:

    I still don’t completely understand how Compatibility View works. On of my sites I’m testing has some visual errors in IE8, and Compatibility View fixes some of these errors, but not all of them. The thing is, the site is completely fine in the real IE7 browser.

    So that tells me IE8 in Compatibility View doesn’t quite render things exactly the same as IE7 does. In that case, what’s the point of it? I thought the whole idea was if you don’t have the time/ability to update your site, simply use the meta tag/Compatibility View to retain IE7-style rendering.

  120. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @James: Compatibility View should render sites as they rendered in IE7.  The only exception would be cases where a breaking security change was made, but these are expected to be extremely rare.

    Please submit bugs to Connect (or post them here) containing the URLs of affected sites.


  121. James says:

    @EricLaw: Thanks for the response. I’ve noticed in the Developer Toolbar that under the Browser Mode menu, "Internet Explorer 7" is a separate option from "Internet Explorer 8 Compatibility View." If these two are identical, what is the purpose of the "Internet Explorer 7" option? Or is that something different?

    Thanks for your help!

  122. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @James: When you set the browser mode to "Internet Explorer 7", the user agent string will be:

    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)

    When it’s set to "Internet Explorer 8 Compatibility View" then the user agent string will be:

    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0)

    As you can see, the latter includes the "Trident/4.0" token that indicates that the browser is really IE8 running in IE7 compat mode.

  123. IEBlog says:

    We believe IE8 helps make browsing the web faster, easier, safer and more reliable. To help our users

  124. We believe IE8 helps make browsing the web faster, easier, safer and more reliable. To help our users

  125. We believe IE8 helps make browsing the web faster, easier, safer and more reliable. To help our users

  126. IEBlog says:

    A few weeks back, we announced Compatibility View improvements available in the Release Candidate build

  127. ์ด ๊ธ€์€ Internet Explorer ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ ํŒ€ ๋ธ”๋กœ๊ทธ (์˜์–ด)์˜ ๋ฒˆ์—ญ ๋ฌธ์„œ์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค. ์ด ๊ธ€์— ํฌํ•จ๋œ ์ •๋ณด๋Š” Internet Explorer ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ ํŒ€ ๋ธ”๋กœ๊ทธ (์˜์–ด)๊ฐ€ ์ƒ์„ฑ๋œ ์‹œ์ ์˜

  128. IEBlog says:

    Weโ€™ve said a lot about our approach to website compatibility in general and the Compatibility View feature

  129. IEBlog says:

    Weโ€™ve made a few improvements to our extensibility model in IE8 RC1 based on feedback weโ€™ve received

  130. Kurzbeschreibung: Optionales Update, das die Darstellung von Websites, die für ältere Internet Explorer-Versionen entwickelt wurden, in Internet Explorer 8 verbessern soll. Ein aktualisierte Liste von 50 Top-Sites pro Toplevel Domain ("Länderkennzeichen

  131. Kurzbeschreibung: Optionales Update, das die Darstellung von Websites, die für ältere Internet Explorer-Versionen entwickelt wurden, in Internet Explorer 8 verbessern soll. Ein aktualisierte Liste von 50 Top-Sites pro Toplevel Domain ("Länderkennzeichen

  132. Kurzbeschreibung: Optionales Update, das die Darstellung von Websites, die für ältere Internet Explorer-Versionen entwickelt wurden, in Internet Explorer 8 verbessern soll. Ein aktualisierte Liste von 50 Top-Sites pro Toplevel Domain ("Länderkennzeichen

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