IE8 Changes Stance on Super Standards Mode

ie7The IE team has just blogged that they are going to reverse their stance on the super standards mode not being the default rendering mode for IE8. They actually got Dean to write this post for the blog (he only gets to write the really important posts…) The reasoning does seem a bit..odd. The blog post states:

Why Change? Microsoft recently published a set of Interoperability Principles. Thinking about IE8’s behavior with these principles in mind, interpreting web content in the most standards compliant way possible is a better thing to do. We think that acting in accordance with principles is important, and IE8’s default is a demonstration of the interoperability principles in action. While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue. As stated above, we think it’s the better choice.

By all of this, the official stance is not that the IE team is changing their mind because of the near universal condemnation that their previous decision to render as IE7 by default received when they announced it. Instead, it is because of their support for interoperability? I’m sorry but I call "bullshit" here. I don’t believe it. If that is how it is spun, ok, but don’t expect me to buy the bridge just because you say that you’re selling. :-)

I’m not sure if this is some kind of veiled reference to the recent Opera lawsuit or the EU decisions against Microsoft that were announced this last week but the legal focus in the above excerpt makes one wonder. I definitely don’t buy the official reasons and I do think that the huge reaction against their decision from web developers and others is really the driving force behind this reversal on their part.

In any case, as far as the web is concerned, this is good news. IE8 (apparently) has much better standards support than IE7 did. We’ll know more once their techbeta is out and reports roll in. For those of us who do create web content, this will hopefully mean less work for content creation over time and a gradual improvement of web quality for those Windows users which don’t move to Firefox or other browsers. Since every Windows computer still ships with IE in place, ignoring it still isn’t an option as much as some would like it to be.

In case, in spite of the motivations or reasons, this is a good announcement for the web and its future openness. I expect that I’ll have more to say once I’ve had an opportunity to play with the IE8 beta in the near future.