Microsoft Promises ‘Backwards Incompatibility’ On Internet Explorer 8.0

By Shéa Bennett
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Microsoft, which released a feature-complete beta of Internet Explorer 8.0 on its website yesterday, has revealed that two of the main design goals of the product were backwards compatibility and total compliance with web standards.

“The core web rendering engine in IE8 is compliant with web standards, but we have also tried to maintain compatibility with sites written specifically for older versions of IE,” says Ryan Servatius, senior product manager at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer division.

The new browser will come with a ‘compatibility button’, which users can click if they stumble across a site that was designed for older versions of the software. Once pressed, the page will reload in ‘compatibility mode’.

Sounds fair enough, but this quote from David Mitchell, senior vice-president for research at Microsoft, must be, I assume, a mistake, because otherwise it’s quite surreal.

“Sites that are specifically written for IE will not display properly. Many people probably will not ever use the compatibility button that Microsoft has built into IE8, which means some sites will not work and the user will get a message saying the site needs Internet Explorer.”

So let’s get this straight – the new version of IE will not support some sites that were written specifically for Internet Explorer, and that the software will then display an error page and tell users to download Internet Explorer?

That’s going to go down like a riot with the boys at Mozilla.

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14 Responses to Microsoft Promises ‘Backwards Incompatibility’ On Internet Explorer 8.0

  1. "So let’s get this straight – the new version of IE will not support some sites that were written specifically for Internet Explorer, and that the software will then display an error page and tell users to download Internet Explorer?"

    I think you read this the wrong way – I think that its the site that will prompt the user to use Internet Explorer, when you use Internet Explorer 8. It won't be Internet Explorer it self, that prompts this.

    Just business as usual on sites that are IE only.

  2. “So let’s get this straight – the new version of IE will not support some sites that were written specifically for Internet Explorer, and that the software will then display an error page and tell users to download Internet Explorer?”

    I think you read this the wrong way – I think that its the site that will prompt the user to use Internet Explorer, when you use Internet Explorer 8. It won’t be Internet Explorer it self, that prompts this.

    Just business as usual on sites that are IE only.

  3. The outcome is identical – you're being prompted to download something of which you already have the latest version, which can't (or won't) render the page properly, so you then get informed to download the latest version… ;)

    • I agree that it's the same information. I just read your comment as it was Internet Explorer (it self and not the website) that prompted you to use Internet Explorer.

      Microsoft might be stupid sometimes, but I don't think they are that stupid. :)

  4. The outcome is identical – you’re being prompted to download something of which you already have the latest version, which can’t (or won’t) render the page properly, so you then get informed to download the latest version… ;)

    • I agree that it’s the same information. I just read your comment as it was Internet Explorer (it self and not the website) that prompted you to use Internet Explorer.

      Microsoft might be stupid sometimes, but I don’t think they are that stupid. :)

  5. This is just too funny!

    To finally meet web standards is a great thing and will save coders a lot of time. Except for all the ones that cut corners with "IE code" the first time. Serves 'em right.

  6. This is just too funny!

    To finally meet web standards is a great thing and will save coders a lot of time. Except for all the ones that cut corners with “IE code” the first time. Serves ’em right.

  7. As a website designer I really am glad to hear that Microsoft is finally getting compliant. It just bothers me that the spin-doctors were hard at work trying to make Microsoft's delayed entry sound like a major technological breakthrough.

    "Super-Standards Mode"

    The sad part is that most users outside of the internet tech field will probably eat it up.

  8. As a website designer I really am glad to hear that Microsoft is finally getting compliant. It just bothers me that the spin-doctors were hard at work trying to make Microsoft’s delayed entry sound like a major technological breakthrough.

    “Super-Standards Mode”

    The sad part is that most users outside of the internet tech field will probably eat it up.