Internet Explorer 8 IE 8 is nearing the finish line, with a March release to manufacturing looking like a distinct possibility. But is IE 8 — or, more accurately — Web site developers and owners — really ready?
I have been testing IE 8 since the code became available publicly. And one thing that hasn’t changed much over the past several months is the fact that many Web sites still aren’t compatible with IE 8.
I’m not blaming the site owners here. Microsoft officials have known all along that even though the IE team is doing the “right” thing by finally making IE more standards-compliant, they are risking “breaking the Web” because the vast majority of Web sites still are written to work correctly with previous, non-standards-compliant versions of IE.
Microsoft has tried to mitigate the effects of moving to a default standards-based view in a few ways. IE 8 comes with a “Compatibility View” button that will “fix” a seemingly broken site if a user knows to press it. Microsoft went a step beyond this with IE 8 Release Candidate 1, issued in January, by adding a downloadable list of sites that would automatically trigger IE 8 to move directly to compatibility mode, rather than standards mode.
Here is the list of the 2,400 sites that are on Version 1.0 of Microsoft’s Compatibility View list.
The Compatibility View list includes some major sites — Apple.com, CNN.com, eBay, Facebook, Google.com, NYTimes.com — even Microsoft.com ! — and lots, lots more. Users also have the option of adding IE-8-incompatible sites they visit that didn’t make it onto the list that will be appended to the schema list they download.