back to article Microsoft promises 'lessons learned' on IE 8 download day

It took nearly two years for the functionally inferior Internet Explorer 6 to finally be surpassed by the better IE 7 in terms of regular daily use. Microsoft blamed that delay on its own failure to explain the benefits of faster speed, improved usability and better security against phishing in IE 7 - not people's lack of …

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Paris Hilton

Standards

Am i the only person who is thinking, that if IE8 is standards compliant then there is nothing that the web devs need do? Surly it would render as well as Chrome or FF?

Paris because she complies with my standards. :)

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IE 8's default standards mode - WTF?

On my planet if you need to insert a tag to enable it it ain't the default. If Microsoft gave a shit they'd simply make standard compliant mode the default but screwing over the competition matters more than having a working browser.

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Alert

What a joke this is!

We are heading back to the bad old days of NS4 vs IE3 - doubling up code on a conditional basis due to nobody really following web standards as they are written!

Can we not just standardise rendering engines, and sell browsers on value added features instead? It would make my life a hell of a lot easier!

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Flame

There's a lot of lies in this article...

"functionally inferior Internet Explorer 6"

Bollocks. At least IE 6 worked. There's nothing "functionally superior" about a browser that cripples the machine it is being run on. The entire of Stafford University suffered with a state of only being able to run IE7 exclusively - any other applications became unusably slow.

"benefits of faster speed, improved usability"

Speed - please see above. A browser that clunks along and takes over 1 second to open a new tab is not faster. The improved usability is a sick joke, and you know it. What's the first thing someone says upon starting IE7 for the first time? "What's this? How do you use this?" Every. Freaking. Time.

"with a constantly updated list of malware sites to protect the user."

We all know Microsoft does not know/understand how to make a file grow by addition. When a patch for a patch comes out, you're looking at two full downloads rather than one large followed by one small. How long before this list is over 100MB? AVG itself spouts that 1 in 1000 sites are malicous, that's going to be one very big list in a very short time. Even if MS gets its head around file appending, can you imagine the download after a format? Anyone on a capped internet is going to run out of space quick sharp.

"relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode"

This smacks of complete ignorance. Many of the blue chips need to go through many, many steps to make even the smallest changes to their websites. Even intranet pages need to be checked, tested fully, signed off, seconded, rechecked and confirmed before you can correct even a spelling mistake. And what if we do give into MS and add <ie8 />? How long before <ie8.5 />, <ie9 />, <ieInfinitum />? How about they build a standards compatible and make OLD sites append a <ieisshitandthissitewasmadetoworkarounditsousetheoldversion /> tag?

"IE 8 is more secure than Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera"

I think you know as well as I do this is the biggest lie in the article.

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Jobs Horns

Stability

When IE never changed, or only changed slightly over a long period of time, developers loved it because they knew they could write code that would work for years and would be unlikely to break when new versions came out. This wasn't the case for Opera and Mozilla, and hasn't been the case for Safari in more recent times. So it's easy to see why lazy developers liked to ignore alternative browsers and pretend they only needed to care about IE.

But now IE's getting significant overhauls every few years again, it and the developers are facing the same problems as the others, which means once developers are resigned to the fact that every few years there will be a bit of hassle to make sure old sites continue working with new browsers, the thing that will appeal to them most will no longer be stability but features. They'll learn to appreciate SVG, fancy CSS and advanced DOM functionality and really take a disliking to browsers that don't support them. (I.e., IE.)

Web slices don't compete with SVG or things like the ability to extend the DOM when it comes to developers. There's no easy substitute for them in IE (harrasing users to go and install an Adobe plug-in isn't going to work reliably) whereas developers *can* do things to match the functionality of web slices, such as using RSS or adding items to a watch-list associated to a session cookie or username.

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No research?

Actually, the "tags" you mention are to have the website force IE to render in "IE7 mode", NOT to render in the new standard-following IE8 mode (which is default, obviously). You need to do research before you write stuff that turns out to be inaccurate to say the least.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_8#Version_targeting_and_backwards_compatibility (check all sources attributed to section).

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Gates Horns

IE8 - thorn in webmaster's side

I've just had to add a HTTP header to all of our web servers to make our hosted sites render correctly with IE8. It's ridiculous that servers have to be configured to allow IE8 to support web pages that are pretty much standards compliant.

No one wanted the job of adding a meta tag to every single darn web page on the servers so we had to tackle the problem from the server side. How crazy is that?

The web can be an ugly/quirky place if you're browsing with IE8 unless webmasters or server admins have been bothered to make the changes.

I'm still having to support IE6 and I have no doubt IE7 will still be heavily used in 4 years from now (by that I mean >10% which is like 10x more users than Opera have right now).

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Uh,

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode"

If it needs a tag to activate it, it's not the default mode, is it?

Redmond FAIL.

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Gates Horns

Wow hold on a moment

Why the @£$% should I have to add a tag to my website to tell IE that I want it rendered as an ISO standard web page rather then a windows only web page?

If I decide that I only want to support windows then I should put a tag on my website saying so, MS shouldn't expect me to take action because I do NOT want to limit access to my website to only people using windows. The website being an ISO HTML standard website should be considered the norm, not the exception requiring a tag to say so. After all with things the way they are the home computer is likely to be replaced by the home web browsing device connected to the T.V. which probably won't be a MS Zombie PC but rather a PS3, Wii, Set to box or something of the like. We aren't there yet but in a few years time that is all that will be required to surf the web, write a document, but shit and view porn.

Internet Explorer? more like Arrogant Explorer.

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Stop

Doesn't need tags

Umm, I'm fairly certain IE8 tossed the 'tags' idea for rendering pages 'properly'.

As a default IE8 renders sites in standards mode unless they are in the active list of sites to render in compatability mode. Once a page triggers compatability mode *all* pages on that domain render in compatability mode.

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Gates Horns

Doh!

"problems that Microsoft assumed were faults inherent in web sites but that turned out to be bugs in IE 8"

"the outreach is not working"

Any connection?

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I'm beginning to see a pattern here

Writing a program to a good, complete, proven spec - such as exist for browsers - is trivial. Companies smaller than 1/2000th the size of Microsoft have done it. Non-companies have done it. Your grandmother has probably made a pretty good stab at in her spare time between knitting sweaters.

Instead, Ballmer goes out of his way - and actually spends more development dollars and time - to ensure that IE8 is both incorrect and incomplete.

In place of a respectable product he offers more intentionally incompatible crap - along with more marketing, extortion and bribes.

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Safari is exciting?

"Developers, the litmus of early adoption, are using Firefox and are excited by Chrome and even Apple's Safari thanks to the ever-sexy iPhone"

The only people I know using Safari are 1) Apple users, where it is a forced choice exactly as IE is on Windows users and 2) People who made the mistake of buying an iPod and installing iTunes on their computer...

Hey, wonder when the EU monopolies commission will get onto Apple about bundling iPhone with other browsers? I'd love to see them forced to include IE as an option!

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Flame

Wrong way round...

Other browsers render in "standards compliant" mode by default, if IE8 requires a non standard tag inserting in order to make it try and follow standards then that's just stupid. Quite how they can claim to be standards compliant while requiring a non standard tag i don't know...

Nothing will change, standard sites can still be written for all the other browsers and then non standard kludges have to be done to make it work with IE. If every browser had the arrogance to try and create their own nonstandard tag before it would consider rendering actual html, sites would be a mess with a list of browsers at the top.

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Flame

IE8 by default???

ok, one day it's default, the next you have to add a tag, the next it's by default, the other you have to add a tag....this is confusing, THAT is why I've not done anything so far.

so, can someone clarify for me

with NO TAG, what mode does ie8 render in? standards, or no standards mode?

and WITH A TAG, what mode does ie8 render in?

cause I was sure that I read that actually they had seen the light and was going to render in standards mode BY DEFAULT, then everyone who wants compatibility, can add a tag to get IE6 or 7 rendering done.

So now I'm confused, microsoft are wondering why other people dont have the tag or not, maybe it's because we're told one thing one day and another thing another day and we dont actually know which is which.

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Unhappy

Here we go again....

So for most standard-level designers out there that means fixes for IE6, fixes for IE7 and then extra code to make IE8 happy.

I'd like to say to all IE users please go to http://www.ie7.com/ and install the browser on that page right NOW!

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IE6 did not die...

...because IE7 wasn't any good; it didn't die because IE6 was so screwed up that sites (usually business apps) written to run on it were incapable of running on anything else and the investment needed to correct them simply was not worth it.

IE8 won't fare any better because IE7 and IE6 are still screwed-up and thus adoption will not happen for the same reasons. Or is MS going to dish out billions to various companies to make standards compliant versions of their software?

Will MS take the heat for the NHS (just one example) risking a full switch from IE6 to IE8?

I somehow don't think so.

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Anonymous Coward

All sites need do

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards model"

On the contrary, all sites need to do is CODE TO BLOODY STANDARDS and ignore the whining of Microsoft weenies, they'll catch up in the end.

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Stop

Tags for standards view

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode - the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering. Sites that don't insert the tag won't render properly, and will be viewed in IE's non-standards "compatible view" mode.

But sites aren't doing this."

As far as I'm aware, this is incorrect. IE8 renders all sites in standards mode unless they are part of the Microsoft maintained list of sites that don't render correctly in standards mode, in which case it renders the *domain* in compatability mode. You can add tags to your site to make sure IE8 renders your page in IE7 mode, but, as I said, standards mode is default for IE8.

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Anonymous Coward

Yet to work at a company that uses anything but IE6

I'm a freelance front-end developer, I usually go to different companies every few weeks to help them build sites, every company I have worked at still runs XP and IE6 on their desktops.

This isn't just small companies who don't know better, its big global corporations and high profile media companies.

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Anonymous Coward

here's the tag I use

To tell IE8 to render my site in standards mode:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

Which bit of DOCTYPE html don't they understand?

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Paris Hilton

Think you've got that wrong somewhere....

If they *don't* do anything and IE8 reverts to IE7 engine, assuming the site already works with IE7 what's the problem?

If however, IE8 actually defaults to the *new* engine unless you put a tag in then i can see an issue...

So which is it?

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Alert

Standards..

Im not , never have and never will write a website that is specifically for one browser...

Standards are just that.

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Thumb Up

Dunno about secure...

...but i would nearly go with the faster claim, haven't looked at the secure issue yet. Compatability mode works for the fickle company intranet.

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Anonymous Coward

Hang on..

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode - the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering. Sites that don't insert the tag won't render properly, and will be viewed in IE's non-standards "compatible view" mode."

I could have sworn this was the other way around, you put in the tag to render in IE7 mode, by default it rendered in ie8 standards mode.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1235

http://www.robertnyman.com/2008/03/04/ie-8-will-use-standards-mode-as-the-default-rendering/

In fact its even posted on el-reg

"http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/29/hakon_lie_ie8_interoperability/"

(admittidly its apparently bad to render intranet sites in ie7, even tho the reason most companies still use ie6 is cause of intranet sites, but hey)

You might want to update the story with some accurate facts, i mean i know most readers here like foaming at the mouth about standards and anything anti ms but its ment to be a techie news site!

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Gates Horns

I've been testing it and it's not bad

Seems to work well for me, faster than IE7 and FF certainly, but the addons in FF just make it so handy to use. I can customise the hell out of how I use regularly visited sites, block all advertising, only allow Javascript from a limited set of sites ...

IE8 on the other hand seems to be a peace offering, a Microsoft product that obeys open published standards and for that it is welcome. Most sites just have to remove the ieSucks.css and ieSucks.js files and they will work well with IE8.

If sites remove all their IE workaround code people will discover that IE(6|7) are unusable and the impetus to move to IE8 will increase.

Still don't trust the bastards though.

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Coat

Yawn

Another piece of shit browser from M$ that we've got to adopt new methods of working in order to make it 'compatible'.

If M$ had genuinely 'learnt their lesson' then we wouldn't have to do ANYTHING to make our standards compliant sites render correctly in all of its competitors browsers work in IE8.

crap crap crap crap!

Mine's the one with any browser other than IE installed...

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Gates Horns

Aww diddums....

"Those who should be adopting IE are not listening to Microsoft's outreach. Major organizations like the BBC, CNN and Facebook are not supporting IE 8"

They're like a spoilt child. The best way to annoy them is to ignore them...

I thought the whole point of web 'standards' is that it obviated the need to 'support' individual browsers. MS are still thinking backwards.

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Whew!

Let me see if I understand this. The web development community is supposed to test/update billions of web pages because M$ is coming out with a new version of IE? Good plan.

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Flame

wont be getting it...

just because of this: "All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode - the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering."

its not up to the rest of the planet to make their websites work with IE8, its up to microsoft to work with the standards and display web pages properly. This does not entail the rest of the planet adding helpful tags to each page to tell IE8 whether to render in "IE6" mode or "what it should have fucking been in the first place" mode.

standards are there for exactly this reason. any standards compliant page will render correctly on any standards compliant browser. time MicroShit woke up and realised that "web standards" != "microsoft webstandards 2009 home premium edition"

I hope they fail.

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It's hard to know

... where to begin pointing out errors in this article. I will focus on the main one: that IE8 does *not* require a special tag adding to sites to render in standards mode. That idea was kicked into touch a long time ago.

It's developers who can't be bothered to fix their sites to render properly in IE8 standards mode who need to add a special tag.

Devs who already code for Firefox (and who can afford not to nowadays?) should be ok, provided they don't use browser detection to feed hacks to all versions of IE. At least, until the inevitable bugs in the release version of IE8 begin to surface...

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Max

I have an idea

IE8 should default to show web standards. The people who want to deviate from standards should be the ones inserting the tag into their code!

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Anonymous Coward

Some of us are still stuck with IE6

I use one system that refuses to work correctly with IE7 so I'm stuck with IE6. Rest assured I'll be testing it with IE8 asap.

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DR

what???

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode - the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering. Sites that don't insert the tag won't render properly, and will be viewed in IE's non-standards "compatible view" mode."

So in order to make IE8 standards compliant I have to tell the browser to use a mode...

ummm, not thanks, I'll just keep writting code that is standard and wait for MS to put standards on as default...

developers already have to write so much exceptions in their pages to make IE work. but surel MS should adopt the approach of lets try to reduce that rather than one more won't hurt?

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Broken

"All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode"

And that's the problem: if I build a standard compliant web site that renders properly on every standard compliant browser, why should I have to insert a proprietary tag to make it render properly with IE8? If Opera, Firefox, Safari, Konqueror et al can render standard compliant pages as well as tag soup without the developers having to insert any special tag, why can't IE do the same? We're all fed up with having to add special IE tweaks to our web pages.

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Coat

Sites that haven't updated for IE8

So MS want all of the web to use a non-standard element, to help them over their failure to do an adequate job in the past. Basically, they broke it so they can fix it.

I've said this before, although possibly not here. What's needed is for the browser to validate the page, in the same way that iCab does on the Mac. (http://www.icab.de/) If a page passes then it gets the browser's best efforts to do the standards thing. If not, it gets the same old crufty mess.

You might think that this would take too much time, but iCab is very fast. I'm not convinced that either IE or FireFox would be though.

They can even have that idea for free if it stops them being such a complete waste of my time.

And no, it's not me that needs to get my coat.

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I'm seeing another world

After a few weeks back supporting the chaos that is MS software I'm seeing another world.

No Microsoft.

Ubuntu/Mac desktops - Linux/Unix/Mainframe servers.

No crashing - check.

No viruses - check.

Installing printers without disks - check.

Computers working perfectly every day - check.

Computers that can share files over the internet - check.

etc etc etc etc etc etc

It won't happen any time soon of course - but it's important that our clients realise the cause of all their IT woes and costs - Microsoft. Their crashing, poor quality, slow, vulnerable, incompetent software has infected the world of IT in the same way the average PC is a mess of spyware, adware, viruses and trojans.

Unless you pay a large number of IT people shed loads of cash to run the domains and try to stem to chaos. As long as companies realise WHY they have to pay the shed loads of cash - Microsoft.

This issue with IE8 might *finally* convince the general public what we techies have been telling them for years. MS is a world problem and ideally should be removed from our systems.

Sorry for being so blunt about this - but after the last couple of weeks I've had enough. The fact that MS *deliberately* break compatibilities just makes it worse.

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Dan
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Too little too late

Ok, so IE still has something like 60% of the market share, but given that it's down from a high of approx 90% that's not great for them, and is only down to it being pre-installed on the most popular desktop OS. Firefox 3 and a load of funky add-ons is streets ahead.

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Gates Horns

Default standards mode?

Hang on - I thought MS had caved-in to developers' pleas and made uber-standard mode the default with no tag insertion required. Only those needing to fall back to IE7 mode would need to add a tag.

That was long ago, mind - does this mean they've flip-flopped again? I'm confused.

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Alert

Oh I have to laugh

IE8?? yep more bug ridden, bloated rubbish from Microshaft when will they learn that IE is slowly going down the gurgler, as FF and others are just doing the essentials better faster and safer

and it now Requires the poor overworked web programmer to go and insert a tag just to please IE8 (dont they have enough to do)

Oh yes I'll go and immediatly go and d/l and install IE8 right now.....

As we say in New Zealand it's a Tui Ad "Yeah Right"

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Flame

Morons!

How many times did a countless number of developers tell MS to just render in standards mode by default - and did they listen? Did they phuque! Idiots!

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Wouldn't it be nice

If Microsoft could design a crowser that simply conformed to the standards of the thing it is trying to serve?

I bet MS would bitch if I bought a product or service and paid for it with something nearly, but not quite, money.

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Silver badge

Just don't get it

"All sites need do... inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in... the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering."

MS wants a tag, here's a tag <html>, here's another tag, <!DOCTYPE html...>, how about <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>. Yeah, it's simple, just another tag. One tag for MSIE8, aka Messy8, one for Messy9 another for, well you get the idea. Here's an idea, we add one tag for every person who reads a page. It should be simple to make a cgi random string generator that slaps in some arbitrary meta tag. Got sed? Doesn't everyone deserve their own tag? Sure why not, as a bonus it would double as a counter cum tracking system and how big can the file get anyway?

Simply insert a tag... hey MS, will this tag do? <meta name="MSIE8" content="bite my shiny metal ass">

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Jobs Horns

If M$ needs a special tag...

Then that tag should be for content specific to their browser, not for content which works perfectly well everywhere else. I have no personal deadline for making my sites conform to M$; I might consider adding a visible tag "If this page looks weird, try a browser other than MSIE 8."

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Amy Barzdukas

or Army Bazookas, you choose.

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Wrong - IE8 uses its Standards Mode by default

This article is incorrect - IE8 renders pages in its new Standards Mode by default. If people can't be bothered to change their poorly written HTML to render this properly, *then* they can add a special META tag to tell IE8 to render the page in Compatibility Mode (the same as IE7). This is a good thing.

Also, if the HTML is so bad it causes the Standards Mode engine to go crazy, the page will automatically be re-loaded in Compatibility Mode.

I've been using IE8 for months at work now, and have had very few problems. If there were Firefox-like addins such as AdBlock I'd consider getting rid of Firefox. Sadly that seems unlikely. But IE8 is a good step on from IE7, and will hopefully lead to IE6 being no more.

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Wrong way round

'All sites need do - according to Microsoft at least - is complete the relatively simply task of inserting a tag in their code in order to render pages in IE 8's default standards mode - the new, web-standards compatible version of IE rendering. Sites that don't insert the tag won't render properly, and will be viewed in IE's non-standards "compatible view" mode.'

Umm, it's the other way around - sites are rendered in Standards Mode by default, and a META-tag can be used to enforce IE7 Compatibility Mode - see <http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/06/10/introducing-ie-emulateie7.aspx>.

The only reason a page intended to render in Standards Mode would have to use a special META-tag would be to prevent the use of IE7 Compatibility Mode even when selected by the user. See <http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/08/27/introducing-compatibility-view.aspx>: "Sites on the public internet... display in IE8 Standards Mode by default."

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All they need to do is...

Make it fully standards compliant and render quickly and well. And that is it!

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Standards?

So, if I write a web page using standards compliant code, that any good browser can display, I have to add a non standard tag, breaking my standards compliance so that M$'s browser can cope with it. Er..., what lesson was it they learned again?

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