We’ve previously blogged about Compatibility View; this post is a follow-up on compatibility and Internet Explorer 8 RC1.
As you are browsing the web with Internet Explorer 8 RC1, you might come across some web sites where everything is not displayed correctly:
These issues can be fixed by clicking on the Compatibility View button on the address bar:
This button draws the page the same way that Internet Explorer 7 would - allowing content designed for older web browsers to still work well in Internet Explorer 8.
By default, Internet Explorer 8 displays a site using its most standards compliant mechanism. In the majority of cases, this works out just fine. However, every once in a while, a page that says “display me using modern standards” really means “display me like Internet Explorer 7 used to display modern standards pages”. This is where Compatibility View comes in.
Compatibility View is domain specific – if you click the Compatibility View button on abc.example.com, all pages on example.com will be rendered in Compatibility View. Internet Explorer 8 remembers the setting – next time you come back to example.com, we will render it in Compatibility View.
There were a number of cases in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 where IE8 would not render a standards-based page like other browsers, and the user would use the Compatibility View button to fix the issue. We want Internet Explorer 8 to render standards-based pages like other standards-compliant browsers, so the IE team investigated thousands and thousands of IE8 rendering issues – Issues found by end-users, our test team (testing thousands of the most popular sites in the world), or cases where the ‘Report a Webpage Problem’ add-on button was used.
A large number of sites (through user agent detection) were actually relying on Internet Explorer 7 rendering behavior. In these cases, the IE team does outreach to the website, asking them to make the site work with IE8 rendering, or to use the IE=EmulateIE7 header.
In cases where Internet Explorer 8 is not rendering a page (with valid markup) like other standards-compliant browsers, the IE8 team would reduce the problem down to the minimal amount of HTML and CSS that reproduces the issue, and fix the rendering issue. While standards-based tests are a great way to ensure that IE8 renders content like other browsers, they do not cover all rendering scenarios that exist on the web – we wanted to do a real-world sanity check to find any remaining rendering issues.
To help the IE8 team investigate and fix rendering issues, please use the Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On to report page issues. The IE team will investigate the issue, and fix any bugs that prevent IE8 from rendering a page like other browsers.
If you like, you can also point out (in the comments) any sites where IE8 RC1 does not render a page the same way as Firefox, Safari or Opera, and we will investigate the issue.
If you are a web developer (and you have a case where IE8 is not rendering standards-based markup like other browsers), you can also point to a url with the reduced repro, or copy-and-paste the minimal set up html that will reproduce the issue.
In addition to standards-based rendering compatibility, the IE Compat team also investigated a large number of popular IE add-ons, to ensure that no bugs were introduced in IE8 that will stop popular add-ons from working. In cases where breaking changes could not be reverted (i.e. we made a change for security or stability reasons) the IE team would contact the add-on maker to update their software.
Additionally, because IE8 renders all intranet content in IE7 mode (unless specified otherwise by the user, admin or web page) the IE Compat team also spent a lot of time double-checking that IE8 (in IE7 rendering mode) renders content exactly like IE7 does. The Microsoft corporate network was a great test case here – a company the size of Microsoft has thousands of Line-of-Business applications that were designed for IE7. We ran multiple test passes on LOB apps, to find any changes in IE8 that would break these applications. Also, we’ve been reaching out to major LOB application vendors, to get them to test their applications with IE8 – so that, by the time the final IE8 version is released, IE8 is an easy drop-in replacement for IE7.
Thanks for helping make Internet Explorer 8 better!
Frank Olivier Program Manager