IE8 – meta switch = IE7!?

Microsoft's announcement of a switch for proper standards mode in IE8 makes that browser passing acid2 test less useful than initially seemed! So Microsoft announced a way to support standards without “breaking the web.”

The challenge they had was to find a way to “enable (and encourage) interoperable web development, but don’t force IE to break pages that work properly in IE today.”

They eventually settled for a <meta>-based “opt-in to the browser version I tested with” strategy.

What this means is that if you as a web developer want IE 8 to render according to their best implementation of standards then you opt in by adding a particular meta element into your HTML (or send down a similar HTTP header in the response).

In other words, for web developers trying to do the right thing they must pay a small “don’t-break-the-IE-web tax!”

Many prominent web developers and designers have been highly critical of this. But, ironically, is this actually a positive thing in the long run? Continue reading