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Version Targetting for IE8 and beyond

22nd Jan 2008

On A List Apart today is an article on how IE8 will selectively enable its new rendering engine. The executive summary is that pages will now be asked to declare what version of each browser they were developed against, and a browser will then -- in theory at least -- select the most appropriate rendering engine.

I'm sure many people will look at this and have reservations. However, I for one am pleased to see this. All of this screwing around with DOCTYPE sniffing in previous versions left a bad taste in my mouth, because it was adding additional meaning to something where it did not exist before and in a way which differed from browser to browser. They thought they were asking "what version of HTML does this document target?" but that was the wrong question. The question was "what set of rendering engine bugs does this document target?".

Rendering engine bugs are by definition specific to a given rendering engine. There can be no standard way to select for these, because they are by definition non-standard. It is for this reason that I'm glad to see this issue being tackled in an honest fashion: document authors are now asked to list the set of rendering engine bugs they've tested their documents against, with a separate version number for each rendering engine.

Can't really get much clearer than that.


  • Its still borked

    The doctype declares by standard what type of document it is, not how it should be rendered. It should just be rendered standard conformant. So it was never "Engine selection".

    So basically that broken Browser should simply learn to render XHTML+CSS correctly and should swall accept real XML documents with correct Content-Type and a leading xml declaration.

    But they keep on with it to push forward their Silverlight elsewhat shit, enforce their Technologies and hinder other people to use correct standard conformant formats like SVG etc...

    So it is again a joke. And defining the rendering (which is layout stuff you will agree) in the description of a document (meta) is simply evil.

    They are just afraid to loose users because of a problem they produced theirself!
    By an anonymous poster at 05:36 pm on 22nd Jan 2008
  • (comment with no subject)

    The problem is not the header or meta tag itself, but that it's defaulting to IE7 mode. It should be defaulting to standards mode, and only people who know they need a particular version should have to include it.
    By trs80 [] at 07:40 am on 23rd Jan 2008