Compatibility List FAQ


A few weeks back, we announced Compatibility View improvements available in the Release Candidate build of IE8. As you’ll remember from my previous post, users can choose to receive a list of major sites that are best viewed in Compatibility View. When navigating to a site on the list, IE8 will automatically display the site in Compatibility View without requiring the user to press the Compatibility View button. There’s been a lot of really good discussion around this and a few common questions have bubbled up. I’ve attempted to roll-up answers to these common questions in one easy-to-find place.

Why is my site on the compatibility list?

In short, we’ve received customer feedback via product telemetry, bug reports, Report a Webpage Problem, etc… that users are encountering compatibility issues while browsing your site. This data shows that users are choosing to view your site in Compatibility View rather than Internet Explorer’s default, most standards compliant mode. Your site has high traffic volume (in your region) and having a working, functional site in IE8 ensures a significant number of IE8 users will have a great experience.

Can you give me an example of what’s not working on my site?

The telemetry data we receive is normalized, aggregated data for a top level domain. It doesn’t tell us the exact reason users have compatibility problems nor does it provide us with the URL / page that caused users to switch to Compatibility View. In other words, the data isn’t actionable for driving IE8 compatibility test efforts as it can’t pinpoint the exact content that caused a compatibility problem. It only tells us that there was a compatibility problem.

You might ask, why use telemetry data at all given this limitation? It turns out using telemetry is an extremely accurate capture of user browser preferences – more accurate than say an IE team member taking a look at a site and determining if it’s broken. It’s objective measurement v. subjective supposition (would users click the Compatibility View button if they visited this web site?). Additionally, using product telemetry allows us to scale well beyond the number of sites and pages our internal test team can handle.

Data from other product support channels such as bug reports and Report a Webpage Problem data does often have exact URLs and repro steps. And combining the two, telemetry + other sources, gives us really powerful and useful information. We honestly don’t have an example for every site compatibility issue out there – we just don’t scale to that level of in-depth analysis for every website IE users visit – but I have provided a few examples that are representative of the types of issues we’ve seen:

Site: www.mapquest.com, view the map of a city, and click on traffic, (direct link)

Issue: Traffic does not show on the map. The selector syntax in use by the page for VML (e.g. v\:*) is not valid per CSS 2.1 and therefore IE8 Standards Mode does not accept it. 

Side by side picture of mapquest.com.  On the left is IE8 mode where traffic data does not display.  On the right is compatibilty mode where the traffic data does display.

Site: www.myspace.com

Issue: Top banner on myspace.com front page isn’t centered. Myspace worked around issues with the ‘clear’ property in IE7 by feeding that browser version unique CSS styles via Conditional Comments. Those styles are no longer required in IE8 and cause the described behavior.

Side by side picture of myspace.com.  On the left in IE8 mode, the banner is not centered, on the right in compat mode it is corrected.

Site: www.cnn.com

Issue: At the bottom of most every page is an empty white box – an IFRAME that correctly displays in IE8 but that’s not shown in IE7. (NOTE: other browsers don’t show the issue because they’re not handed the same markup as IE).

 Side by side picture of cnn.com.  On the left, in IE8 mode, there is an errant white box.  On the right in compat mode, the box is gone.

Site: www.google.com, go to finance and search for a stock quote (direct link)

Issue: The stock tracker chart is clipped on the right side. The page uses invalid HTML mark-up that is being fixed up differently in IE8 Standards Mode than it was in IE7 Standards Mode.

Side by side picture of google finance results.  On the left in IE8 mode, the stock chart is clipped.  On the right in compat mode the full chart displays. 

Does TLD mean ‘microsoft.com’ or ‘msdn.microsoft.com’?

The level of granularity of sites on the Compatibility View list is ‘top-level domain‘ (TLD). ‘Top level domain’ means ‘microsoft.com’ in this example.

The reason that we chose to use TLDs rather than sub-domains was three-fold:

  1. We’ve optimized for a better end-user experience with less compatibility failures and button clicks. The assumption here is that one compatibility failure is bad; multiple failures for what the customer basically thinks of as the “same site” is even worse. For example, imagine that none of the Microsoft properties are IE8 compatible. User visits msdn.microsoft.com to review an article – button click. The article redirects the user to support.microsoft.com – another button click. User then visits connect.microsoft.com to file a bug with us that they have to click the button too often 🙂 – another button click.
  2. Storing exact URL / sub-domain doesn’t always work well for things like server farms, site structure redesigns, etc…
  3. We’re avoiding a scalability issue where IE has to synchronously consult a list of tens of thousands of entries prior to each navigation (we need to flip the page into the right mode from the start). Using TLDs keeps the list size manageable.

Given the above, there is a scenario where users encounter a failure on one sub-property in a large, distributed (read: managed by different entities) site structure and switch the web site into Compatibility View and it impacts the entire property. We totally understand that concern and here’s how we think we’re addressing it. For one, if you use the X-UA-Compatible tag / header, the client loses the ability to put the page into Compatibility View via the button. Product telemetry is keyed off of the button state; therefore, no button == no way for users to press the button and thus signal the site as not being compatible. For another, if your site ends up on the list, you always have the option to opt-out. Per the previous blog entry on the subject –

>>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.)

When should I make sure my site is compatible with IE8?

We understand the shift towards better standards compatibility with Internet Explorer 8 may take some time to complete for each organization or webmaster. That’s one of the reasons we have the Compatibility View feature – to bridge the gap between IE8 release and site support for IE8 so users (of IE8) can still view and use all those sites that worked in older browsers. That said, the time to get ready is now. The last public update of IE8 has been released. Please download it (if you haven’t already) and use the resources on MSDN to ensure your site works great with IE8.

Scott Dickens
Program Manager

Comments (59)

  1. Anonymous says:

    A little display error:

    -Yahoo! mail (classic mode): the *move to* drop down menu text gets cut off. Please attend to this.

    Also, this has been a thing that I’ve noticed in ALL Internet Explorer versions and should really be corrected.

    Ctrl-Backspace = delete entire word up to the space or the symbol. If it is a password (and is covered up by characters), Firefox deletes the ENTIRE thing. Unfortunately, in IE, it deletes up to the special characters (ie a comma), even if its a password and in special characters.

    This isn’t necessarily a flaw, but a nitpick that shouldn’t be there, especially for password forms.

    Please correct these issues in the final IE8 version. Thank you very much 🙂 !!

  2. Anonymous says:

    On http://www.myyahoo.com, you can no longer open the crucial "Change Appearance", "Add Content", and "More Options" modules. Please correct this asap. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    On http://www.myyahoo.com, you can no longer open the crucial "Change Appearance", "Add Content", and "More Options" modules. Please correct this asap. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    how do i know if its useing compatability mode?

  5. JAB Creations says:

    I notice that sometimes the compatibility view button disappears, why? Also I think when rendering the page in compatibility view it still executes JavaScript like it does in standards (or super standards?) mode? Other then that the only thing I’ve noticed in the last build are select menus (on my site’s music player) have a funky width issue but IE8 seems pretty solid right now.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fix your teminology.

    A TLD is the stuff after the final dot in the domain name, for example “com” or “org”. If your browser really remembered button state based on that it would have quite interesting results, ie if microsoft.com was incompatible suddenly opera.com would be in compatibility mode, too (and every TLD would probably soon be).

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stop supporting IE6 so that those lazy ITs move their ass to IE7. I mean come on there are no braking changes in IE6 to IE7 and quite frankly we cant code for 3 versions of IE. Throw us a rescue wheel here

  8. SamYeager says:

    @Anonymous at 3.17am

    "Fix your teminology.

    A TLD is the stuff after the final dot in the domain name, for example “com” or “org”.

    "

    Technically you are correct in the definition of TLD. However they did define what they meant by TLD in this context. What other term do you suggest should have been used instead?

  9. Anonymous says:

    @Scott – Excuse me! – "The last public update of IE8 has been released."

    What!? are you serious? RC1 is the last release before RTM?!?!?!?

    Well thanks a bunch, here we all are waiting for a decent IE8 release to start testing against and migrate any remaining code tweaks and now you tell us that RC1 – "The browser with wicked rendering glitches and quirks, major regression bugs, and *still* buggy implementations of the new features you added" is the final one we get to test against before you go live.

    Be very glad that swearing is banned from this blog.  I can assure you I am tearing up a storm of profanity as I write this!

    NOT IMPRESSED IN THE SLIGHTEST.

  10. Anonymous says:

    still can’t trap keyboard sequences like CTRL+S in IE.

    Makes it kind of difficult to build high caliber web applications that will work in IE.

    Oh well I guess we just have to put a link on the login/signup page to download Firefox or Chrome.

  11. Anonymous says:

    SamYeager: how about "domain name"?

  12. Anonymous says:

    If previous versions of IE weren’t so poor at complying with standards then webmasters wouldn’t have to use conditional statements (which destroy the openness of the web) then this problem wouldn’t of existed.

    You guys should get rid of Trident and replace it with something that can actually render webpages correctly such as Webkit of Gecko.

    I hope that the EU forces Microsoft to bundle other browsers with future version of windows.

  13. Anonymous says:

    IE 8 supports CSS standards much better. That’s great. But why the difference in margin, padding en 100% width/height in IE 5 – 6 – 7 – 8?

    And why is the difference between FF en IE 8 so large?

  14. Anonymous says:

    @SamYeager

    Dunno, but TLD is just confusing. Maybe second level domain?

    By the way, what happens to domains like .co.uk (or other domains like .name.ad (you can’t get <something>.ad unless you have an andorran trademark on <something> I think))?

  15. Anonymous says:

    its easy.

    foobar.somesite.com

    foobar: is the sub-domain

    somesite: is the domain

    com: is the TLD (Top Level Domain)

    it only gets confusing with sites like.

    abc.example.co.uk

    is .co, .uk, .co.uk the TLD?

  16. Anonymous says:

    * Example 1 (Map Quest):-

    "The selector syntax in use by the page for VML (e.g. v:*) is not valid per CSS 2.1 and therefore IE8 Standards Mode does not accept it."

    Are you suggesting that any malformed CSS Selector will trigger a Compatibility View switch?

    * Example 2 (MySpace):-

    The underlying issue here lies with authors making irresponsible decisions relating to which operator a conditional comment uses. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I think it was a mistake ever implementing the ‘all-version’ ([if IE]) operator into any version of IE – this is due to the number of spec violations in future IE versions not being known.

    To reiterate, this mistake is down to the author and not you guys – it is not your responsibility to accommodate poor decisions being made by the author.

    * Example 3 (CNN):-

    "an IFRAME that correctly displays in IE8" Maybe its just me, but that (screenshot to the left) looks like unexpected behaviour?

    You say "The last public update of IE8 has been released" – is the next version guaranteed to be the final release? Will us Beta testers be getting a private RC2?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi I cannot find "WGA Validation Tool" under "Manage Add-on", I can only find "OGA Validation Tool", I have choosen "Show: All add-ons", any more thing I missed?

  18. Anonymous says:

    What role does the setting (on the Advanced tab of Internet Options) "Automatically recover from page layout errors with Compatibility View" play in determining the rendering mode chosen for a page?

    How is the decision to use IE7 Compatibility Mode made when this setting is checked?

    Many Legacy pages contain a mixture of HTML 1.0 and HTML 4/CSS 3.1 syntax with updated Doctype declarations as a result of upgrading code originally written to target Quirks browsers.

    As a result I am finding a few pages with valid HTML 4 syntax and doctype declarations being rendered using the Quirks document mode.

    ref: connect issue #411989

    Test page: http://www.dmach.ru/ie/table2.htm

    Switching the above setting on and off and then refreshing the page has no effect on the Document Rendering mode chosen by IE8.

    Is this setting actually doing anything yet? (in RC1).

    Regards.

  19. Rocky Moore says:

    My site passed validation on HTML, CSS and even the Feed, but for some reason, IE8 throws it to compatiblity mode.  Two times now, when I brought up the site, I am shown a blank page while it is in compatibility mode.  The site is:

    http://www.SilverlightCity.com

    How am I to fix the site when I cannot find a reason why IE8RC1 is upset with it?  Is there a validation tool on the way?

    Would be great if there was a way to to validate a site just like we do now for web standards!

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Rocky Moore

    try setting meta to:

    meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge"

    and by the way: the markup of your site suffers from divitis and classitis

  21. Anonymous says:

    @Rocky Moore

    Your site needs to have a strict doctype to be in standards mode:

    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd"&gt;

    You currently have a xhtml1-transitional doctype.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Arrrggghh, three versions of IE to code against.  Please, please ditch IE6 as it is a nightmare.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I have about 7 addons in my addon list that I don’t want.  None of them have any button or link to remove them.  If they are the reason IE8 is so slow can you not provide a way to remove these addons?

    One in particular I don’t recall installing [Research] by Microsoft.  When did this get installed and how do I remove it because it is the slowest of all my addons! (as well as all of the others)

  24. Anonymous says:

    @ Ahmed Kamel [MSFT] – Wrong. As long as the XHTML1 Transitional DTD includes a system identifier (which it does in Rocky Moore’s case), a page will render in standards compliance mode

  25. Anonymous says:

    if i select text, part of the text insde a link and some are normal text, and i right click on the link text, the menu doesn’t have the search option? If i right click on normal text, search option presents

  26. Anonymous says:

    Not exactly "on topic" but not "off topic" either.  IE8b1 had verticalAlign problems which appear to have been fixed for inline elements only. IE8rc1 will not verticalAlign block elements as does IE5.01 thru IE7 and all other browsers!

    Test page at:-

    http://gorebayproperties.com/test/vertical-align-ie8.html

    Unable to post via MS Connect and hope someone will pick this up before IE8rm

  27. Xepol says:

    Amusingly, MSN.com is not IE8 compatible either.  

    If the brower does not launches in full screen, then gets full screened, the more/less headline buttons on the right side will jump completely out of place.

    Tough to ask the rest of the world to get right on that when MS can’t seem to manage the same task themselves.

  28. Anonymous says:

    @Barry Carlson – you are correct this is another bug in IE8 for alignment (one of many) I have no idea if it is fixed internally at MSFT or not.

    Hopefully someone with access to file bug reports on IE8 can file this one (or see if another one is already filed for this)

    This would explain a lot of the odd rendering around the net in IE8.

  29. Anonymous says:

    @Peter: You can simply disable unwanted extensions to prevent them from impacting performance. While it’s not necessary, for those extensions which support direct removal, you can click the "More information" link, then click the "Remove" butotn.

    @Lambros Vasiliou: I’m not sure what led you to the notion that IE6->IE7 included no breaking changes, but you’re mistaken.

    @Rob Parsons: The Advanced Option ("automatically recover") is related to what happens if the Standards Mode renderer encounters a fatal internal error that would cause the page to render completely blank.  The engine can detect this case and automatically refresh with the Compatibility Mode renderer; that feature is controlled by the option you’ve cited.  Please note: such cases are generally bugs in the Standards Mode renderer, which we’re currently working hard to fix.  The RC1 build fixed a large number of such bugs, and we’re still fixing more issues now.  Ideally, the "Automatically recover" feature will never trigger in the final version of IE8.  

    The option is not likely to be the source of your problems, as you’ll get a popup balloon message in the event that the feature is activated.

    @Rocky: Related to my answer to Rob above, it sounds like you’re hitting a bug in the Standards Mode engine.  I cannot reproduce the problem on the latest internal build.

    @JAB Creations: The compatibility view button will disappear in cases where the page explicitly opts-in to a particular rendering mode using the X-UA-Compatible directive.

    @Anonymous: You’re correct that using TLD is not correct here.  The term was used because that’s what was (incorrectly) used in earlier posts on this topic and consistency ruled the day.  Scott did reiterate what the term is intended to mean in the context of his post.  SLD (Second Level domain) would probably be the most accurate term, but it’s not one in broad use on the web.  (Using "Domain" alone has some problems with ambiguity.)  

  30. Anonymous says:

    Well it appears that Web Slices are a bit of a big fail.

    The docs say that the "entry-content" section is optional, but if you want updates to work it is *REQUIRED* so therefore it isn’t really optional.

    The styling of the slice is also a hack trying to apply a partial style from the page.  What users end up getting is a mis-aligned mess of content that does not reflect what they see on the full page if they view it.

    Next, the little /_!_ warning triangle shows up if there is any JavaScript in the section that is part of the slice… indicating that there is an error (when in fact there is no such error) If you hover over the icon it tells you to click it to find out the details – at which point of course there is no error, since there never was one.

    Finally, if the slice contains any form elements (buttons?) or otherwise that would (under normal page view) allow you to jump, edit, delete, expand etc. all of those actions now fail, silently, and the user has no idea why it doesn’t work.

    One last thing, for my slices I have buttons at the bottom of the content, they get cropped in the rendering of the slice in the toolbar dropdown… minor but it looks ugly.

    One "more" last thing, calling "refresh" using the refresh icon on the view of the slice from the toolbar causes an error that IE can’t show the slice (which didn’t change one iota btw) and now the user has to view the whole page.  Is this a "feature" or just yet another bug with slices?

  31. Anonymous says:

    @EricLaw – Maybe you haven’t been playing with IE8 outside of the MSFT sandbox – but there is NO REMOVE button for 99% of extensions (inside the addon dialog) ***OR*** inside the more information sub-dialog.

    None, Nada, Zip!  There is NO Way to remove 99% of the extensions in IE8 – None.

    It is something that needs to be addressed ASAP before IE8 gets shipped to the public.

  32. Anonymous says:

    @Jim: The remove button, if present, is always inside the subdialog.  As I noted previously, using "Disable" is sufficient to prevent the addon from loading.  

    As for your 99% claim, well, I’ve got to admit that I’m skeptical that you really tried 99% of all IE addons available.  Your conclusion that without a "Remove" button, addons cannot be removed is simply incorrect.  The vast majority of add-ons which are registered in a systemwide context (e.g. "Research", etc) can be removed using the Add/Remove Programs applet in the System Control Panel.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Slashdot is partially broken in both normal and compat mode in rc1 build 18372

    The href links to comments have this on them:

    onclick="return D2.setFocusComment(26661247)"

    Result is that clicking a link does nothing.

  34. Rocky Moore says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]: Thanks!  Will wait and see how things turn out in the release!

  35. Anonymous says:

    @EricLaw – you are correct – I have not loaded every single addon out there for IE.  However I have loaded (depending on the machine, 12-14 addons each across 3 PCs)

    Of those 3 PCs only 1 had a SINGLE addon that I could delete from the addons dialog.

    If Disabling an addon is as complete as deleting it that would be great, but it is the visual clutter and the fact that it is consuming space on my hard drive that bothers me – especially if I didn’t intentionally load it.

    I went to Add/Remove Programs as suggested – oddly enough there was nothing in that list (which takes a day and a half to load btw (fwd to which ever dept. is responsible for that usability blunder) that mentioned being an IE addon, toolbar, etc. for "Research".

    There is a good reason why Firefox is considered "The King" of addons – because they facilitate an easy way to install, enable, disable, and uninstall them all from one simple dialog.

    If IE wants to play seriously in the Browser arena – it needs to catch up to other browsers in terms of being a usable browser.

    On a final note – it appears that Disabling an addon is NOT the same as DELETING it.

    In the "More information dialog" the "last access" time for my disabled addons on a PC that had them all disabled 2 (TWO) weeks ago, was 43minutes ago.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Actually that whole dialog is a mess.

    under the drop down option of "Currently Loaded Addons" are all my disabled addons.  I should only see these if I click on "All Addons".

  37. Anonymous says:

    I was quite surprised to see that document.getElementsByName( name );

    Is still broken in IE8 RC1 even in Standards mode.

    It still INCORRECTLY returns elements with an id="{nameValue}" (major failure) and it still doesn’t work on custom elements (minor issue)

    Is this going to be fixed in the final version of IE8?

    PS I have a test case based on bug 411 http://webbugtrack.blogspot.com/2007/08/bug-411-getelementsbyname-doesnt-work.html that highlights that this bug is still present in IE8 RC1 – if someone can take the test case for me and submit it to the bug tracker I would appreciate it.

    thanks,

    samantha

  38. Anonymous says:

    "The last public update of IE8 has been released."

    Frankly, for something with as much impact as a new IE release, I’m mystified that RC1 Public is even being called an RC and that there will not be another build released – whatever it’s called – before RTM.

    I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong, but I simply can’t see how there will have been enough time for feedback on the differences between Beta2 and RC1 for the next release to be an RTM.

    There are some fairly major problems in RC1.

    I understand the need to say, "Hey, this is it. We’re wrapping it up. Get with the program."

    But to me, RC1 is a pretty solid Beta, not an RC.

  39. Anonymous says:

    <<<the fact that it is consuming space on my hard drive>>>

    Lots of times, addons are parts of other programs.  If you delete their DLLs, those programs won’t work anymore.

    <<<the "last access" time for my disabled addons>>>

    Examples please?

    Did you bother checking /what/ last accessed the dlls?

    <<<"Research">>>

    Research is a part of MSOffice. You can use the "Modify" button for office to remove it.  

    <<<If IE wants to play seriously in the Browser arena>>>

    …beyond having 350% of the marketshare of their nearest competitor?  Sounds serious to me.

  40. Anonymous says:

    @James Hopkins

    Indeed you are correct, thanks for the correction 🙂

  41. Anonymous says:

    @Dan – maybe you’ve been asleep while the market changed but users don’t want run-of-the-mill software anymore.  They want quality and they want it to just work and work well.

    Chrome is a piece of art in terms of its simplicity.  Firefox is an incredible browser with more thought out design than almost any aspect of IE.

    Plain and simple, users have a choice… and those that have seen, and tried the competition, don’t click the blue ‘e’ anymore.

    I use IE every day, to test sites I develop that work almost flawlessly out of the gate in all other browsers.  I dropped IE6 support last year and when IE8 goes public the 6 month countdown on IE7 support starts.  I’m lucky that so many of my users have moved on from IE… but then again, they are so lucky they had a choice.

    If you still love IE – good on you… I prefer to use software where the developers are open about progress and what bugs need fixing, but most importantly that a consistent, smart looking UI with great usability is just as important as kick-@$$ performance.

    I truly LOVE my browser, can you say the same about IE?

  42. Anonymous says:

    How do I display Microsoft’s list of incompatible sites?

  43. Anonymous says:

    @Arne : You can view the Compatibility View XML file by going to to <code>res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml</code>

  44. Anonymous says:

    If you guys took a few seconds on your end and ran a

    PNG Crush Extreme on your images before posting you could save us all a pile of bandwidth and wasted time downloading your images.

  45. agarvan says:

    The InCompatibility list is a huge list of incompatible domains, including microsoft.com.

    What if a site has 1000 good pages and one bad page? Will that put the whole domain on the ‘Black list’?

  46. sonicdoommario says:

    Will, I can say I truly love IE. No need to switch browsers (to crappy ones at that), when you love your default browser.

  47. Anonymous says:

    @sonicdoommario – sorry to hear you haven’t moved on yet. If you truly love IE, then I truly feel sorry for you.

    I’m in that "you can only take Firefox away from me by prying it from my cold dead hands" group. (read: There isn’t a snowballs chance in diablo land that I would switch from Firefox)

    I’m not sure what crappy experience you had before but I’m guessing its time you tried again.

    I think if someone paid me $25 a day to use IE only at work instead of Firefox, I’d still say no.

  48. Anonymous says:

    One thing I think IE should do differently with Compatibility List, is that unlike sites specified IE7 Compatibility mode themselves, the sites in Compatibility List should NOT hide the Compatibility View button from the UI.

    With sites that specified IE7 Compatibility mode themselves, we know FOR SURE that those sites want only Compatibility IE7 mode. But with Compatibility List collected from telemetry, since it’s data from the users, not the site makers, it’s not 100% certain that no user want to see the site in IE8 Standards mode. It just means the majority of the users used Compatibility mode with the site, but there still may be users who want to see the site in IE8 Standards mode.

    So I’d suggest IE8 to just automatically enable Compatibity mode for sites in the Compatibility List, but still show the Compatibility View button thus allow users to switch off Compatibility mode if they really want.

  49. Anonymous says:

    @glastheim: You can force a site into any display mode you’d like using the dropdowns in the toolbar of the developer tools.  Simply hit F12 to show them.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Unless Compatibility View is particularly well documented to end users (which I fear it won’t be), they won’t have a clue as to what its purpose is anyway.

    I presume Microsoft has taken the step of utilising this telemetry data in this way to deliver the best possible experience to the end user, without the end user having to know what Compatibility View does.

    "it’s not 100% certain that no user want to see the site in IE8 Standards mode". I don’t think this is a valid use case; if a certain page or site has already been identified as needing to be rendered in Compatibility Mode, then I highly doub the end user will want to purposely switch back to Standards Mode, resulting in a visually broken layout.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Unless Compatibility View is particularly well documented to end users (which I fear it won’t be), they won’t have a clue as to what its purpose is anyway.

    I presume Microsoft has taken the step of utilising this telemetry data in this way to deliver the best possible experience to the end user, without the end user having to know what Compatibility View does.

    "it’s not 100% certain that no user want to see the site in IE8 Standards mode". I don’t think this is a valid use case; if a certain page or site has already been identified as needing to be rendered in Compatibility Mode, then I highly doub the end user will want to purposely switch back to Standards Mode, resulting in a visually broken layout.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see some clear indication which rendering mode is used (and if possible also why: e.g. because the site is on the (in)compatibility list, the site issued an X-UA-Compatible header, or because I hit the button myself); I now find myself hitting the compatibility view button numerous times untill I get the balloon so I know for sure in which mode I am…

  53. Anonymous says:

    @James Hopkins,

    "I don’t think this is a valid use case; if a certain page or site has already been identified as needing to be rendered in Compatibility Mode, then I highly doub the end user will want to purposely switch back to Standards Mode, resulting in a visually broken layout."

    identified by what? identified by the site owner, then yes, if the site owner has specified the HTTP header/meta tag to tell IE8 to use IE7 Compatibility mode, the Compatibility View button should be hidden.

    identified by telemetry data? that’s completely different. If you collect the data that shows that 90% of the users view the site with Compatibility mode on, while 10% of the users view the site with Compatibility mode off, does that mean the site must be viewed with Compatibility mode? not so sure. So the Compatibility mode should be on by default, but the button should not be hidden from the UI so if the user really wants, he/she can choose to turn it off.

    Even if the telemetry data says 100% of the users who visited a site so far has the Compatibility mode on, it still should not be forced upon new users as long as the site owner don’t specifically tell IE8 to render only in Compatibility mode, the button should NOT be hidden from the user.

    "it’s not 100% certain that no user want to see the site in IE8 Standards mode" is a very valid use case. For example, it is quite likely that Compatibility View has made a site look nicer, but the site will lack some more advanced features in Compatibility mode, so the majority of users use Compatibility View on the site to make it look better, while some users bear with some minor visual glitches in order to use the more advanced features. Now if the Compatibility List include this site, then it’d be quite annoying for those users who wish to use its more advanced features.

    "Unless Compatibility View is particularly well documented to end users (which I fear it won’t be), they won’t have a clue as to what its purpose is anyway.

    I presume Microsoft has taken the step of utilising this telemetry data in this way to deliver the best possible experience to the end user, without the end user having to know what Compatibility View does."

    That’s more reason they should turn Compatibility View on by default for sites in the Compatibility List, while still leave the button visible for users who understands it to use it.

    @EricLaw [MSFT],

    "You can force a site into any display mode you’d like using the dropdowns in the toolbar of the developer tools.  Simply hit F12 to show them."

    Yes, but that’s quite a hassle and very annoying, compared to just a nice little button beside the address bar.

  54. Anonymous says:

    glastheim– I agree!  

    It’s annoying that I have to use the dev toolbar for anything… there should be a button next to the IE "go" button with a magic wand on it… when i click it, it should do whatever I’m thinking it should do at that moment… this idea that I have to click on a different button for each random thing I want to do just isnt’ very user-freindly!

  55. Anonymous says:

    @glastheim:-

    "identified by telemetry data? that’s completely different. If you collect the data that shows that 90% of the users view the site with Compatibility mode on, while 10% of the users view the site with Compatibility mode off, does that mean the site must be viewed with Compatibility mode?"

    Well yes, if the user has explicitly opted into Compatibility View (they are prompted for this upon a new install, anyway) 🙂

    "Even if the telemetry data says 100% of the users who visited a site so far has the Compatibility mode on, it still should not be forced upon new users as long as the site owner don’t specifically tell IE8 to render only in Compatibility mode, the button should NOT be hidden from the user."

    Are you suggesting that users might want to switch off Compatibility View for a certain site and revert to a broken layout?

    "For example, it is quite likely that Compatibility View has made a site look nicer, but the site will lack some more advanced features in Compatibility mode…"

    What are these "advanced features" you talk of? Since there are no documented regressions (that I know of) since IE7, IE8 will include *improved* support over IE7 in every area (CSS, HTML, DOM etc etc)

  56. Anonymous says:

    We’ve said a lot about our approach to website compatibility in general and the Compatibility View feature

  57. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft released the final version of IE8 last week (3.19.2009); your users will soon be automatically upgraded unless auto-updates have been explicitly blocked. Are you ready?…

  58. Anonymous says:

    With the “final” release of IE8 for Windows Vista and other versions of Windows in several languages