Microsoft Plans Compatibility View Fix For Internet Explorer 8

CompatButton.jpgOne of the major changes in Internet Explorer 8 is that it adheres much more strictly to web standards than past IE releases. That's a welcome and sensible move, but it has resulted in many sites not rendering well, since they have been built to work with the slightly skewed design principles of earlier IE releases. The second beta of IE8 handled this with a 'Compatibility View' button, but Microsoft's internal research suggested that this wasn't quite enough, as a post on its IEBlog explains:

We saw from the telemetry data that IE8 Beta 2 users still have to use Compatibility View a lot. Looking at our instrumentation, there were high-volume sites like,,, and with pages that weren't working for end-users with IE's new standards compliant default. We could also see from our instrumentation that not all IE8 visitors to those sites were clicking the Compatibility View button. So, large groups of people were having a less than great experience because they weren't aware of the manual steps required to make certain sites work.

Microsoft's latest solution is to allow users to opt-in to an automatically updated list of popular sites that need compatibility view and have those sites rendered using the older IE7 approach without requiring manual intervention. That feature will be added to the next beta of IE8, due early in 2009 (there's a similar feature already in Opera). This seems like a pretty good interim solution to me; share your take in the comments.


    This centralises control of how web sites are viewed to a huge degree. Safeguards are needed.

    Will web site authors be able to explicitly opt out of this mode beyond just setting a standards-compliant DOCTYPE?

    Will the database of sites that will be forced into IE7 mode be public? Will web site authors be able to challenge MS's listing of their site as either compatibility mode needed or standards mode needed?

    Will a UI element or developer tool be created/updated to identify when sites are being forced into IE7 mode despite a valid DOCTYPE? Perhaps the compatibility button should turn amber to reflect when the site would otherwise render with standards but has been forced into compatibility mode based on this database?

    Anything that helps MS keep ignorant punters happy whilst still opting for standards-mode-by-default is a good idea in theory.

    This is much better news than what could have been. Instead we could be reading that MS backflipped again on getting IE8's internet zone to render sites in IE8's standards-compliant mode.

    Problem: IE8 causes MS Publisher posted web sites not to display.
    Solution: Ungroup boxes in MS Publisher, save, then post. Microsoft posted this solution but failed to tell everyone.

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