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back to article Microsoft's IE 8 beta adds 'special' list

Microsoft has issued a third Internet Explorer 8 beta that includes a list of compatible websites for users less than "web savvy". The IE 8 Release Candidate is the third pre-release version of Microsoft's browser but the first to include a list of web sites that Microsoft says actually work with its browser. The Compatibility …

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Paris Hilton

web savvy

<quote>

Microsoft has issued a third Internet Explorer 8 beta that includes a list of compatible websites for users less than "web savvy".

</quote>

If you *are* web savvy, you're not using IE.

Paris because, well, duh.

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Anonymous Coward

User Agents

As all this is caused by web developers putting in hacks to get sites to work with IE based on the user agent string why didn't Microsoft simply solve all these problems by using a different string. So sites set to make adjustments for older versions of IE wouldn't think it was IE and would deliver the non tweaked version.

No doubt some savvy web person will shoot me down in flames.

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Cars

Everyone remember the old joke that if Microsoft built cars, you'd have to <insert list of stuff here>. Now they've brought out a car where *they* tell you what roads the car can drive down. Unbelievable!

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Anonymous Coward

That sequence of words...

Even faster and more secure.

How can they say that with a straight face?

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Unhappy

i dont understand

surely if the browser simply didnt call itself Internet Explorer in its User Agent string then the websites that have code specifically for IE would sniff it as "something else" and use True, Pure, w3c spec code and so render correctly?

ah, i see, the problem is sites that thing IE6 is the *only* browser and so dont make allowances for people Doing It Right.

feck. shoot the lot of them.

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Oh Christ...

Buckle up... here we go again!

Glad I've got most of my customers using Firefox already.

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What's wrong with you people?

MS make a version of IE that is based on web standards..... and include a button for it to render in traditional IE ways in case a site only works for IE.

If MS only did the former it would break some sites. If MS only did the latter they'd get flamed for yet another non-standards based browsers.

What the fuck do you all want?!

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N
Bronze badge

Internet Explorer 8 for dummies?

says it all really.

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Gates Horns

Cost?

I wonder how much it costs to get on this list of compatible web sites?

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@User Agents

Yes, the new user agent string should read "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; Sorry 8.0; Windows NT 6.0)"

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Bronze badge

Not just Microsoft's fault

Over the years, I've come across too many web pages which demand IE features to work. One was an online computer course, which looked morelike a webified Powerpoint presentation t o be used by a teacher.

With that sort of stupidity, I reckon the testing for IE version has a few dumb mistakes too..

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Browser independent HTML, anyone?

Great. Next, we could have special images to put on web sites to indicate "Best viewed with <insert browser here>".

Sorry, have I just woken up back in the 1990s?

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Ru
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: hacks

Most of the damage will probably be caused by CSS with hacks to hide things from IE. IE7 stopped falling for many of these hacks, whilst not necessarily fixing all the bugs that required people to use them in the first place with IE6.

So this isn't really anything new, or surprising. There seems to be a curious unwillingness to use 'conditional comments', a feature supported only by IE which would allow you to modify the HTML or include different CSS when a page is loaded in IE. It made solving IE/everyone else incompatibilities pretty trivial to the point where it is now easier for me to handle IE bugs than it is to fix rendering differences between, say, firefox and safari.

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Tom
Silver badge

@Tom Cooke

And all of these roads lead you to a bank at the end that only takes deposits for microsoft.

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Joke

Compatible Sites? You must be joking.

Wow, it's like 1998 all over again. I suppose I really don't have to explain why this is one of the most pathetic things I've heard this year ( the years young I know). Anyone who is 'web savvy' will have ditched Internet Exploder about a decade ago.

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Ash
Joke

Defective by Design

"Hi, Driver!

We at Microsoft enjoy creating the best experience for you that we can, which is why we've created this list of technologies and locations suitable for our new flagship product, Microsoft Autmobile 8. You may wonder why you need to read this list. I mean, you'd EXPECT the world to keep up with the most recent standards and technologies, wouldn't you? I know *I* am not still watching VHS videon and listening to 8-track!

Unfortunately, there are still some stick-in-the-mud, die-hard fasc^H^H^H^manufacturers who insist on using old and out of date standards, and who believe that "tried and tested" is better "cutting edge"

So, without further delay, here's the list!

- Your Microsoft Automobile is not compatible with regular Petrol. You must buy your Microsoft Petrol from Microsoft Value Added Resellers.

- Your Microsoft Automobile is not compatible with regular roads. You must buy Microsoft Tyres to drive on Microsoft Roads, as the wheels are custom made for greater efficiency! Shiny shiny!

- Your Microsoft Automobile is not compatible with certain destinations. You may experience less than satisfactory performance from your Microsoft Automobile when attempting to visit Apple Stores, Open Source seminars, demonstrations against Digital Restr^H^H^H^H^HRIGHTS Management, and anybody with a VW Camper Van and long hair.

- Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0 Y3B0

Well, thanks for reading the list! We hope you'll have a wonderful time at sites we have approved!

Kind reagrds,

Microsoft.com

*N.B. Parody. Don't sue.*

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Anonymous Coward

Re: User Agents

> No doubt some savvy web person will shoot me down in flames.

Sort of - only really badly written sites use browser strings to switch behaviour. It's too unreliable. The common ways are either CSS hacks that take advantage of the differing bugs/features of different IE versions to set different styles for IE (and often different versions of IE), or (technically better, but less common and harder to maintain) separate stylesheets switched by Microsofts proprietary conditional comments. Either way, you're rely on no-standard behaviour from IE to cope with IEs non-standard behaviour...

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Thumb Up

Welcome to backwards compatibility hell.

The problems of IE 8 are strangely similar to those of Vista.

Microsoft is in an impossible situation now, surely. Their products only sell because they are de-facto standards, and they are only the de-facto standard because of their ubiquity. The only time in its history when IE could claim to be the best browser was when it had used its OS monopoly status to CRUSH any meaningful competition. Firefox, Opera, Safari and now Google Chrome completely outclass it in both standards compliance, and javascript performance. MS now need to replace IE with something that is actually GOOD, but that means breaking backwards compatibility with their own poorly designed legacy.

Vista was dog because Microsoft has stubbornly stuck to their backward compatibility requirement for so long, that each successive generation of their OS has simply become a compounding of bad design decisions. IE is now about to suffer the same fate.

When users are getting a bad experience from both the latest version of Microsoft's OS, and from Microsoft's latest browser, what then? I bet questions like this are keeping Steve Balmer awake at night.

Can anybody else see the vultures circling over Redmond?

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Flame

@AC (User Agents)

>> "As all this is caused by web developers putting in hacks to get sites to work with IE based on the user agent string why didn't Microsoft simply solve all these problems by using a different string. So sites set to make adjustments for older versions of IE wouldn't think it was IE and would deliver the non tweaked version."

This isn't quite the point - sites which are standards compliant but hack specifically for IE usually hack by specific IE version, not a blanket check. The point is that a LOT of websites out there aren't standards compliant at all and won't work in standards compliant mode, whatever the browser or user agent string. So all those sites which used to work in IE and not in anything else will now fail to function in IE OR any other browser.

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Gates Horns

A title is required.

Good grief. As if IE6/7 weren't making my life hard enough already. I don't have to worry about FF1 users not being able to view the sites I make, mostly because it's platform independent so users with an old OS can still have the latest version of the browser.

MS should make their browsers available to everyone, regardless of OS, and either force everyone to upgrade their browser or make their damn browsers all render websites the same. Getting IE 6&7 to run on the same machine was hard enough, but now I'll have to have two machines to cope with IE 8 as well. If IE8 really is 'scrambling' most websites then well done Microsoft, you've "broken the internet".

It was bad enough when IE7 hit, now this? It really burns my lasagne.

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Tail wagging the dog?

Yet another reason not to use IE as your default browser..... or for anything else.

Paris because she likes to see a wagging tail.

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Stop

why why ?

I don't include myself in the long line of people who put Microsoft down as a mater of course,but why don't they just give up on ie making a browser that needs special code is plain silly.

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Gates Horns

Opera's strategy

Opera doesn't change it's rendering mode though (by default) - the internal list of fixes it uses is based on recognising specific pieces of broken code and patching them on-the-fly. Of course, some of those fixes are specific to a single site, but the patches are smart enough that if the issues get fixed, then they stop being applied.

In MS's case, are incompatible sites going to have to apply to MS or join some kind of MS-approved register in order to be taken off the list? This doesn't sound good.

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Gates Horns

Sooo looking forward to this...

God, it is going to be so satisfying to watch this car-crash-in-waiting happen, when people slowly realise that, yes, Microsoft did 'break' the internet.

Sadly though, I expect that it'll be the (developers of the) web sites themselves that are going to suffer the brunt of the outrage rather than the people who really deserve it.

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@AC

Any web dev worth thier salt will have a style sheets targetted for for specific versions of IE e.g.

<!--[if lt IE 8]><link href="../css/ie_7.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><![endif]-->

<!--[if lt IE 7]><link href="../css/ie_6.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><![endif]-->

etc.

Web devs who just write for IE, hack it until it works and ignore W3C specifications are the problem here, not MS (despite MS being easy to blame because they released a hunk of junk in the first place).

If people didn't take the easy way out we wouldn't have half the problems we have today, although I admit making it work properly in various flavours of IE after making the proper W3C site is a pain in the arse, but that's what web devs are paid to do.....

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Anonymous Coward

@ User Agents AC

This is an outrageous comment, "All this is caused by developers..."

No, you fuckwit, all this is caused by Microsoft. No one else is to blame for any of it, just those fucking retards at Microsoft.

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And for the rest of the Interweb?

That's fine, so all the top websites are gonna be OK. But what about when I search for airwalk shoes and come up with my local skater shop? How about when my kids need some info for a science project and come up with Dr Majaros little site of science?

I do not use Internet Explorer, but my kids tend to because it is what they use at school. I can see their head mistress right now being thoroughly feked off when she cannot get sites to work in IE due to Msoft playing silly buggers.

All in all this sounds like a major boost for Chrome and FF.. The sooner it comes out of Beta and Msoft pisses of the rest of the planet the better :)

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Gates Horns

ACID3

Anyone know the ACID3 score? I can't be bothered to install it, as Opera works just fine for me.

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RE: User agents

AC wrote: "As all this is caused by web developers putting in hacks to get sites to work with IE based on the user agent string why didn't Microsoft simply solve all these problems by using a different string."

Because that would be sensible and might actually *work*.

ps. There's really no need to hide behind your anonymity - you've already proven yourself more intelligent than the entire of Microsofts IE design department.

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Gates Halo

Cars

@Tom Cooke: Not a list of roads you can drive down, just a list of roads where you have to reverse down them because the road signs are all backwards. Come on, for once Microsoft is actually trying to get the browser right (or at least less blatantly wrong than before), now they're bending over backwards to compensate for people who botched their websites by depending on Microsoft's earlier mistakes as well - what more can they do, go out and fix all the broken sites for you?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: User Agents

I was just about to suggest exactly the same thing.

I can see one problem with doing this and that is that all the (mostly company intranet) applications that expect to see that you're using IE and therefore can execute some god-awful auto-download auto-install blob of Windows code wouldn't work. But this in itself is a crap-ism that should never have happened.

...but why fix a problem (or avoid it in the first place) with something dead simple when you can make it really contrived and complicated and non-standard? That's Microsoft "innovation" (something MS seem to like banging on about) for you!

But yes - you're right - this is what they SHOULD have done.

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Gates Horns

You can trust MicroSuck

"The Most Secure, Reliable Version of Internet Explorer to Date" (provided you only look at websites M$ recommend), with a "Simplified Internet Explorer Administration Kit" (Everything switched on by default perhaps) and automatic crash recovery so that if a tab/page does crash, it is automatically restored and reloaded (So not that reliable)

Be afraid, be very afraid.

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re: User Agents

Nope, you're right.

Maybe MS wanted to punish people for not using IE and saying it wasn't good enough...

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Joke

RE: Cars

...I believe that is government policy.

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Go

@ Tom Cooke

"...*they* tell you what roads the car can drive down."

Not quite.

The car will drive down any road, but the quality of ride may be poor and some N/V/H may be apparent.

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Anonymous Coward

Acid Test?

If IE8 is so awesome and standards compliant, why does it abjectly fail the Acid 3 test?

Admittedly I don't yet know of a browser which does perform perfectly with it, but IE8 is by far the worst performer of the modern generation of browsers.

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Flame

Re: Cars

Jesus christ, I really think people just skim an article, click reply, then concoct a bash at MS.

If anything they suggest possible 'roads' you can drive down that will get you there faster with your car. MS is at least trying to dig themselves out of the standards compliant hole they put themselves in, give a little credit at least.

Go back to writing I love Linux poetry on the Ubuntu forums, fanboy.

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Alert

It's gonna get messy

Observation 1) MS are trying to put their compliancy fubar behind them

Observation 2) web designers have tried to compensate or used the idiosyncracies of IE to make their page look "nice"

Observation 3) MS will be damned if they do, damned if they dont.

Observation 4) It's going to get worse before it gets better

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Stop

re: What's wrong with you people?

Take a look at the comments above yours, Steve.

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@ Steve

You gotta be kidding. You're either paid to post by MS or....well.

You gotta be kidding.

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Stop

@Mark Posted Tuesday 27th January 2009 09:41 GMT

However, if IE didn't call itself IE, then you wouldn't need the "if IE lt 8".

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Stop

re: Acid Test?

ACID tests are to test for failures, not successes.

That's why it's not wrong to fail them.

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Thumb Up

@ Acid Test? by Rob Holmes

No production versions yet, but the Alpha of Opera10, http://www.opera.com/browser/next/, does get a perfect 100/100 score.

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Heart

Lynx

That's the answer

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

IE + Scripting?

Hmmm, ActiveX what a triumph that was!

Making a big song and dance about stuff that any half decent browser has had for donkeys and due to their sensible choice of scripting abilities, will continue to reign over the abomination that is IE.

Congrats to MS for finally getting with the program, but -10 points for letting the poor user stew on a piss-poor app for so long, that everyone voted with their feet.

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Anonymous Coward

Thing is though...

I wouldn't mind if IE8 in Standards Compliant mode was, well, standards compliant. It isn't - at least the Beta 2 version I've got installed isn't. It's better than it was but it still has (many) issues.

Ironically the Windows Update page doesn't render properly in IE8; the header bar along the top has gone distinctly squiffy and lost it's background image - although looking at the source code... it's not exactly pretty.

The only thing I ever use IE for at home though is looking for driver/hardware updates - many sites (Crucial, NVidia, Creative) all have little ActiveX widgets that allow their site to check your hardware and look for compatible updates... I'm lazy enough to use those.

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I'm with Peter!

I have to confess.. having recently had a Lynx marathon to have a thorough test of a website to prove the expected accessibility compliance - you've got to love it. I mean, if you really want to have fast loading pages and no JS security holes / dodgy JPGs / annoying flash getting in the way!

Just trying to work out how soon I'll have to upgrade my primary test machine to IE8 though... Since it is currently less than 2% of my site traffic and only just coming out of dodgy-beta-probably-broken stage. Firefox and IE6 are battling it out for second place at the moment (according to my site statistics), IE7 annoyingly still used by just under 80% of my visitors. So probably a little while yet before I have to go down that route. Have been unexpectedly impressed with Chrome for general browsing purposes, but still my browser of choice is Firefox.

"Thumbs up" (no hands up icon available) who gets bored after having tested the same things again and again in IE6, IE7, Firefox 3.x, Firefox 2.x, Safari, Chrome, Opera, Lynx, Firefox in "handheld" mode.... (and soon IE8).

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Anonymous Coward

Ah. The new microsoft.

All across Microsoft there's techies fulfilling "Business Analysts" wet dreams, thinking, "I wish I could be a business analyst, but I'm too qualified."

Their latest suggestion? Let's make a web browser that doesn't render the HTML that currently runs out there!!!

Marvellous.

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MS at it again

This begs the question how can Firefox and Safari display sites that 'are' and 'aren't' compliant with very little problem and without you even being aware?

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Thumb Up

Hey don't knock it!

I can see people like myself getting much needed pocket money to alter people's crap web sites to work with IE8.

It's a good thing people!

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