IE8 Version Targeting

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

If you’re a web developer, I’m sure you’ve already heard about it…

If you haven’t, check out the original proposal on IE blog and the pretty much official announcement on A List Apart as well as Zeldman’s defense of the proposal.

I already wrote a lot about the subject in comments on those sites, especially on Zeldman’s blog where I tried to make him understand that the proposed default behavior of rendering as IE7 is a bad thing for Web Standards. I was sort of blunt about it and I think I’m on his black list now but… Ho well, I believe he’s flat out wrong on that one so I had no choice.

I think that Microsoft’s position makes perfect sense if you’re Microsoft, but it really doesn’t if you’re someone who’s supposed to be a Standards advocate. Even Eric Meyer, the CSS guru, who is sort of for the proposal says on his blog that he tried to convince Microsoft that the default behavior should be to render with what they call “edge” and not IE7.

Anyone defending this proposal in its original form is simply saying that Microsoft’s market share is more important than the future of the Web and Standards as a whole. You can wrap that up in sophistic pragmatism and euphemisms like “don’t brake the web” all you want, when it comes down to it, the whole thing is a “Microsoft only” solution to a “Microsoft only” problem.

Zeldman’s wrote this in the comments of his blog:

Firefox, Safari, and Opera don’t need a new switch but Microsoft does […] The need was discovered by Microsoft and not, say, Opera or Firefox, because nobody authors exclusively to the quirks of Opera’s browser or of Firefox.

Sure, that statement is true… But Zeldman conveniently forgets to mention that the reason why no one “authors exclusively to the quirks of Opera’s browser or of Firefox” is because those browsers don’t have quirks that need to be worked around.

This is only one of the numerous strangely one sided arguments you can find on his blog. If I didn’t know his track record better, I would think that he’s purposefully trying to deceive people to push Microsoft’s agenda, but since I know his track record, I’m assuming he must have another reason to defend this undefendable position.

I just can’t figure out what the reason could be. It’s baffling, and very disappointing…

Filed under: HTML, Web Design