back to article Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

Internet Explorer 8 will feature a user-generated list of "compatible" web sites, after trials found many ordinary surfers and major web sites can't work with Microsoft's next browser. The browser's planned list will be targeted at users that Microsoft considers not "web savvy". By opting to use the list with IE 8, they'll …


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  1. Steven Knox
    Paris Hilton


    'Furthermore, Microsoft said it will "reach out" to sites on the list and tell them what a horrible experience their users are getting when they use IE 8 to access them. Microsoft will then, thoughtfully, explain how the sites can get off of its list. If a site contacts Microsoft to say it's opting out of the list, Microsoft will then remove it in the next scheduled update.'

    So Mozilla and Opera can write standards-compliant browsers that nonetheless can work with most badly-written pages to present something viewable to the user, but the best solution MS can come up with is "our browser's too stupid to figure your page out, so you'd better change it"?

  2. Pink Duck
    Thumb Down

    Here we go again

    Looks like standards compliant web developers are going to be in another world of pain. With tons of IE8 bugs possibly unfixed and no beta 3 or interim releases to verify whether or not any real work was even done before the RC, Microsoft and IE continues to waste precious web developer's time and resources. You only need look to the following URL to realise the only positive way forward is for the world to switch to better browsers.

  3. Martin Gregorie

    Have you got it backwards?

    Shurely shome mishtake: by "compatibility list" are you sure you didn't mean "incompatibility list"?

    I note with amusement that only M$ can get a 'compatible' browser so wrong. If they had half a brain they'd simply use the Webkit engine like everybody else.

  4. Alex

    Microsoft? Standards compliant? No!

    If you will insist on contorting standards for decades its not exactly fair to expect the whole web world to throw budget at undoing all the workarounds when u are standards compliant in the middle of a credit crunch no less especially when most users wont adopt the browser for ages yet.

  5. David

    Web developers

    There's more crap code in the average organizations web front page than in all the other systems in the rest of that organisation put together. Most web coders (not all, but most) seem to be the D- students.

  6. Charles Manning

    WTF should the sites pay?

    MSFT wants to shove this crapola down people's throats. They should hire a call centre full of $3/hour slaves to click the whole internet.

    MS are really losing the plot. Getting the users to pay to be rogered is no longer a valid business plan.


  7. mittfh
    Gates Horns


    M$ breaks the web by allowing sites to use crappy code - then breaks it again by using allegedly standards compliant code!

    You couldn't make it up! The horned beast for obvious reasons...

  8. CTG

    As you sow, so shall you reap...

    So Mickeysoft spends years forcing developers to hack their websites into a god-awful mess so their broken browsers can use them, then suddenly get all standards-compliant and expect everyone to throw away all the hacks overnight?

    If they had just complied with standards in the first place, there wouldn't be all this mess to clear up. So why doesn't Microsoft do something about it, like give free tools to developers to help them identify and get rid of all the IE-5,6 and 7 cruft that is the cause of the problem?

    It constantly amazes me that Microsoft can be as thick as they are, and yet be so successful.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    portable version?

    If they really want site developers to build in IE8 compatibility they should release the beta as a portable app.

  10. Simon Painter
    Gates Horns

    The web guys should be setting the standard...

    and not Microsoft. If IE8 makes stuff look shit then people can always use Opera, Chrome or even Firefox. Why would someone like the BBC who is the largest content provider in europe want to pander to Microsoft's tardy introduction to standards, if MS wants browser share then it's up to them to make their browser make the BBC look good. Users who don't like what they see after IE8 is foisted on they through windows update can always switch.

    A few days after IE8 slips out through windows update is when FF et al should go on the advertising offensive... do web pages suddenly look pants for you? If so download Opera/FF/Chrome!

  11. yeah, right.
    Gates Horns

    in other words...

    In other words, it seems to me that Microsoft intends to use it's continued quasi-monopoly on the OS to browbeat website owners into breaking their websites for anyone else but Microsoft products? Or perhaps force them spend even more making their websites "compatible" with both established web standards AND Microsofts inability to adhere to those standards? I take it this is part of their "extinguish" approach to web standards, by forcing websites to choose between supporting 20% of the market, or the 80% of the market that Microsoft thinks it controls?

    The continuing switch to Firefox and other browsers must be making them nervous perhaps? Or are they still that arrogant? I guess they haven't been hit hard enough yet.

  12. Robbie Simpson


    So how come Firefox, Opera et all can correctly render pages designed for old versions of IE, but the new version cannot ?

  13. Anonymous Coward


    "Dickens specifically cited the BBC, CNN, Facebook, and MySpace as sites with pages that still don't work with IE 8."

    Um, if these (and other) sites work in web standards-compliant browsers then surely it's IE8 that's borked, not the sites.

    Oh, wait a minute - web standards + compatible + Microsoft - I'm having an oxymoron moment...

    Mines the coat with the FF HTML Validator extension in the pocket...

  14. Rich


    They could run the IE7 and IE8 engines against the sites and compare the results pixel by pixel. If they differ subtantially, then use the IE7 engine.

  15. xwindowsjunkie
    Jobs Horns

    Like being Vista Compatible?

    Wow. Let's see, I seem to have heard this before?

    Get compatible before we release the final RC.

  16. John Goodwin


    From a company that has produced non-standards compliant browsers since day dot, I think it's high time they got a taste of their own medicine.

    Not exactly 'Peter and the wolf' syndrome, but the analogy is similar.

    "Oooh, we're doing things properly now - please spend ages fixing your websites so it looks nice in IE"

    I haven't used IE in years thank goodness, and neither have 90% of my PC bitches that I support.

    Firefox is making great inroads and it looks like it will grab even more market share with IE8 ;-)

    Skull and crossbones, because they've thieved lots of my precious time in the past....

  17. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    And in news today

    Microsoft is making sure no-one knows about any other OS, browsers or products by making sure IE8 does not serve "unwanted" websites to the users.

    You can just see it, can't you?

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Years of incompetent browser coding will be rectified by bitching at web designers...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Savviness standards

    What are "ordinary" non techincal users doing downloading and using the Beta? they must be of a resonable tech level to be able to find out about it, download it and install it...but they can not then use a simple button...

    me thinks we are not getting the full story here!

  20. Jason Musgrove
    Jobs Horns

    Standards compliant?

    What the dilly-o? Microsoft are contacting website owners to tell them how bad their pages look in IE8? Have they not considered looking for the problem somewhat closer to home? I develop standards compliant web sites and applications and, without fail, IE8 is the only recent browser that does not render any of them correctly (and we test sites in IEs 6, 7 and 8, Firefoxes 1, 2 and 3, Safari 3 for Mac and Windows, Opera 9 and Google Chrome).

    I understand them stating that their "standards compliance" is a reason why pages designed only for Internet Explorers 7 and earlier may not render correctly, but this cannot extend to pages that were written to be standards compliant in the first place. It makes me wonder about precisely what standards Microsoft think they are following.

  21. Unlimited


    Why don't they have something which pops up and asks "I see you're trying to use the internet, does this website look okay? YES | NO"

    It could have a friendly animated icon so that people won't mind. Like a paper clip or a dog or something.

  22. Krissie
    Gates Horns

    Something amiss with this?

    OK... Assuming sites such as the BBC, and Facebook, and all the sites MS is complaining about work with Firefox, Opera et. al... which ARE standards compliant... then why should IE8 be any different? Why should it be that a site works in one standards compliant browser, but not in another standards compliant browser, unless one of those browsers isn't actually standards compliant ???

    And why is it that it's ALWAYS IE that's the problem? IE 5.5 through 7 - web designers headache (ie: code for standards, and then hack it to make it work on IE)... and now it seems again, IE8 is proving to be a problem; a problem that doesn't appear to be experienced by the current standards compliant browsers and their most recent implementations.

  23. Glenn Gilbert
    Thumb Up

    Ah, it's good to hear the pigeons coming home

    It's good news to see that Microsoft appear to be still sticking to web standards rather than taking the easier route and follow their past bad practices.

    Most rendering problems will be caused because those websites followed the old Microsoft ways and probably already render badly on non-Microsoft browsers, so are in dire need of fixing. Developers who have used kludges/hacks have known for years that this is bad practice and only have themselves to blame -- the only valid hack is the conditional comment (probably IE's most innovative feature).

    Please keep on this difficult path Microsoft; it's a one-time hit and will result in much better websites for everybody in the end. Not to mention easier to build websites that will look the same on all (OK, most) browsers.

  24. wim

    Easy solution

    let IE8 disguise itself as FireFox or Opera and then the sites that load different scripts/layouts/css for IE will treat it like a stadards compliant browser.

    A bit like now Firefox or Opera has to declare itself IE to access some sites but reverse.

    It would be a nice ironic twist to the whole browser war.

  25. Gary Turner

    What's wrng with IE8?

    Odd. I can visit those sites with Firefox, Opera, and Safari, all highly html4 and css2.1 compliant, without running into problems. What are the issues with IE8, and why am I not facing them with present modern browsers?

    I'll grant you there are poorly built sites, and idiot developers that are IE5 oriented and have no concept of the standards. Those sites fail in all modern browsers. Any sites that render well in good browsers ought not cause problems for a standards compliant IE.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely they mean an 'incompatible' list?

    I just hope that when the shit hits the fan for the 'average' home user, the media doesn't shirk on it's responsibility to point out that the whole sorry affair is a result of MS abusing it's dominant market position by ignoring international standards as a way to force proprietary lock in.

    Every site I have designed has been coded to CSS and XHTML standards first & then browser detection scripts serve up a different page for the IE clients. The IE version of the site always contains a page explaining that IE is a sub standard browser and providing links to Firefox and Opera.

    Spread the hate!

    Where's the laughing my tits off icon?

  27. David Harper
    Gates Horns

    One of thoe WTF moments

    "Microsoft said it will "reach out" to sites on the list and tell them what a horrible experience their users are getting when they use IE 8 to access them. Microsoft will then, thoughtfully, explain how the sites can get off of its list."

    So Microsoft are going to start advising people to switch to Firefox? Excellent!

  28. Charles Smith

    Come back BillG we love you

    Once again Microsoft introduces software that imposes extra costs on the users and businesses. Fortunately there are other very good browsers available,

    We don't have to use Microsoft products. Vista should have been a lesson to them.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M$ does it again.

    Yes. This definitely sounds like Micro$oft. If the browser does not work, it must be the websites' fault.

  30. Tim Roberts
    Gates Halo

    Hmmm not surprised really

    Given the popularity of alternatives that are standards compliant, this should come as no surprise. MS had only two ways to go - the old way and give even more people a reason to change or go with what the majority of other browsers do,

    Not the death knell for IE or MS by any means, but is perhaps an indication that MS does not hold the power that it once did.

  31. Steve Davies Silver badge

    Memo To microsoft Bright Ideas Dept

    Instead of compiling this useless list, why don't you inform all those 'Popular' sites that don't work with IE8 in STANDARDS MODE, to get their ass in gear and make them Compliant.

    This way even Joe sixpack/plumber will be able to view them without consulting said useless list every time they want to go to a new site.

    Surely the onus is on MS to get all those sites who had to go through hoops to get them to work with older versions of IE to update their sites to use w3c standards.

    Unless, MS is only playing lip service to web standards?

    Who knows.

    Mines the coat with a USB Stick in the pocket containig Firefox & Thunderbird and all my data.

  32. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Don't web savvy end users ...

    use Firefox/Opera/Insert browser of choice here, but NOT IE?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    As ye sow, shall ye reap

    Got to love the product planning cycle at MS at the moment:

    1: create new version of product to tackle critics and add neat new paradigms

    2: realise that it breaks things horribly, and customers prefer to keep the old version

    3: ?????

    4: fail to profit

  34. GrantK
    Paris Hilton

    Short term pain

    Long term gain - hopefully

    Paris cos you just know who is gonna be on the most broken sites...

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Pot, Kettle, Black

    Microsoft telling others to adhere to international standards!!

    Has April Fools Day come early???

    My own research has shown that people incapable of pushing a simple button to unscramble a web-page; especially after being stupid enough to down load a Microsoft BETA also listen to "Breathe FM"

    Breathe FM??? All day it broadcasts "Breathe in........Breathe out.... Breathe in.....Breathe out...."

    A good flame will heat my house a reduce my leccy bill.

  36. umacf24

    Wrong User Agent

    IE8 users just need to change their User Agent to "Mozilla ..."

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    Embrace, Extend, then cut off own tentacle?

  38. Dan Silver badge

    "Savvy end users"?

    'Dickens noted that "large groups" of users have therefore not been clicking into compatibility mode and are consequentially getting the screwed-up page views. He claimed the button was working for "savvy end users" but not the great majority of web users who don't meet Dickens's savviness standards.'

    "Savvy end users" use IE?

    Note: apart from employees in antivirus companies who need to download malware as part of their job so they can analyse it.

  39. Neil Daniels

    Oh for crying out loud.

    They can't fix their browser so they want the internet to be fixed instead?

  40. Andy Worth


    Is it that IE8 is actually broken, or as I suspect that IE8 is actually working properly as the first standards compliant browser and breaking websites that were designed for IE6/IE7?

    So either way it is Microsofts fault, either through breaking their new baby or for having a broken one for such a long time and persuading everyone to break their websites in the same way.

  41. Duncan Hothersall


    Since the BBC web site works fine in Gecko-based browsers, Webkit-based browsers and Opera, it must be relatively web-standards compliant. So presumably garbling in IE8 is due to IE-specific pages being served. Does this mean that Microsoft is now naming and shaming sites which have actually gone to the trouble of developing IE workaround styles for their crappy browser? Are they seriously that fucking arrogant, to have required people to bend over backwards in the past, and now to browbeat them to lurch in another direction now? Why conduct this discussion in the media, for goodness' sake! What a bunch of tossers.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Micro$oft's attempt to rule web fails?

    So now Microsoft has finally decided to adhere to the standards that everyone else is following, they're worried that users won't be able to see websites that have had to be specifically developed to cope with IE's "idiosyncrasies"? Or should that be Micro$oft's ten year attempt to persuade the world that their way is better?

    The only reason I ever have IE on my machine is because so much of Windows (and MS applications) won't work without it. And strangely, so many of these websites (Facebook, BBC etc) seem to work fine in Chrome, Safari and Firefox that also purport to be standards compliant.

  43. Gerry
    Gates Horns

    Death to IE5, 6, 7, 8, ..., N

    May this piece of shit sink without trace.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Wait for it....

    Firefox, blah, blah, blah...M$ evil blah, blah blah...opera joke, blah blah blah...

    Can we have a yawn, heard it all before Icon?

  45. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    Why the fuck...

    should the websites have to check if they're compatible with another sub-standard (emphasis on the 'standard') product from microshite.

    The onus for compatibility, and compliance with web standards is on microsoft, otherwise they're being allowed to dictate web standards by default.

    IE8 is clearly unfit for purpose, at least at this stage.

    Fuck of and fix YOUR problem, for once microsoft. Don't leave it to the rest of the world. Again.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Serves 'em right

    That's what they get for being so standards non-compliant for so long. If they'd have fixed the problems (or just started out trying to be compliant,) then they wouldn't be in this boat now.

    Hoist on their own petard

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Internet Explorer 8, Son of Revenge of Internet Explorer Begins... These version numbers are starting to sound as prepostorous as Rocky VIII and Final Fantasy XIII. Perhaps it's time for Microsoft to leave the historically non-compliant Internet Explorer brand behind and create a new browser brand with a (hopefully) better compliance reputation.

  48. Joe K
    Gates Horns

    MS can go get fucked

    Arrogant fuckwits.

    The web has finally settled down enough so that i rarely have to come out of my beloved Opera and fire up the hole-riddled IE for the occasional site thats stupid enough to follow MS standard and not web standards.

    This is a step back to the bad old days. Do they WANT to push even more people to Firefox?

  49. The Dark Lord

    Compatibility Mode

    The problem with a Compatibility Mode is that users will learn to switch it on, and because it "fixes" the problem they're having at the time, they will regard it as a magic bullet, and leave it on, all the time. Unless it switches itself off on a site-by-site basis, in which case, users will log thousands of "I switched it on and it switched itself off again" calls with the nearest Helpdesk.

    Standards are standards. Not complying with them is a problem for everyone. Since IE is now supposedly compliant, millions of lazy or misguided web programmers will have to get off their arses. What a shame.

  50. Greg

    I wouldn't know if mine works in IE8

    Because the b3ta's such a piece of shit it won't even display half the (perfectly standards compliant) content, let alone render it correctly.

  51. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Now I'm not an IE expert...

    but am I understanding this correctly?

    Sites which are detecting IE browsers are misformatting their output so that non-compliant browsers could display the output correctly? And now IE8 claims compatibility with standards, they're still delivering the same data and IE8 can't display it?

    Surely the way to resolve this is for IE to set its user agent to - for example - firefox? That would make everything work just peachy, no?

    (Well, except for MS Hotmail, perhaps...)

    Mine's the one with a kubuntu install disk in the pocket.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns



    Not very constructive I know, but... WTF!?

  53. Thomas Bottrill

    El Reg doesn't either

    Some of the text sometimes doesn't appear in standards mode.

    In fact, quite a lot of sites are on my compatibility mode list.

  54. Robin

    To Paraphrase Shakespeares Sister...

    Well you made your non-compliant bed, better lie in it.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Then again...

    Why not just forget about IE8 and leave everything the way it is?

    Paris, 'cause I like her just the way she is.

  56. Shane Connolly
    Thumb Down

    shurely some mistake?

    'A case of IE 8 not working with BBC, CNN, Facebook, and MySpace' is how I read that

  57. Steven
    Thumb Down


    Hmm let me see, stick to IE7 or Firefox (etc), or switch to the all new IE8 and break the internet...

    Decisions, decisions...

    Isn't new software meant to be better than the old version or am I missing something? Microshaft seem to be stuck in reverse. Hopefully soon they'll revert to amebas and stop making software for good, one can oly hope.

  58. Jim Coleman


    So what we're saying is that sites are compatible specifically with IE7 because IE7 was incompatible with standards. They'll not be compatible with IE8 because IE8 is compatible with standards. Placing IE8 in compatibility mode makes it incompatible with standards, which makes it compatible with sites that are compatible with IE8's incompatibilities in compatibility mode. Taking IE8 out of compatibility mode makes it incompatible with sites that are compatible with IE8's incompatible compatibility mode.

    Have I got that right? Or am I not savvy enough?

  59. Simon
    Thumb Up

    El Reg

    Glad to see El Reg seems to look fine on IE8

  60. Martin Lyne


    ..the daft twunts at microsoft could just *make their shit work* or *fucking give up and install the top 3 open source browsers that are tried and tested*

    Much better than all this "lets confuse people out of the internet with out shoddy software and lacklustre application of commonly accepted standards"

    For every shit browser they make the cost web developers the world over time and money. Congrats MS. Nice work with Vista by the way as well.

    [Try to upload a file to FTP in Vista it pops up "Are you sue you want to overwrite?" and then as you;re about to click it pops up "calculating transfer time" DIRECTLY OVER THE BUTTONS. Doesn't remember where you move it to. Ever overwriting file = huge frustration over the simple things.

  61. Chris
    Jobs Horns


    I wonder why MS still bother with IE... anyone?

  62. Giles Jones Gold badge

    What a mess

    It all goes to show that years ago web designers should have stuck to their guns and followed web standards and then told Microsoft to fix their browser.

    Can you imagine the embarrassment if a site didn't render in IE but did in Netscape? that would have got Microsoft on the case!

    Of course in reality Netscape was clunky and slow and IE was leaner and meaner. Also IE was being bundled with Windows and you know the rest....

  63. Adam
    Jobs Halo

    MS cleaning up their own mess?

    What they REALLY need to do is find a way to make all the idiots still using IE6 upgrade their browser. People won't stop writing 'incompatible' HTML while it is required for IE6 which still has ~20% of the browser share.

  64. Danny
    Paris Hilton

    I wonder how to get on the list

    Im sorry, your donation to microsoft was below the required level to gain entry onto the list. Please send more money to ensure your site is IE8 compliant.

    Paris, she takes money to be compliant too.

  65. Metz
    Gates Horns

    Laugh or Cry?

    Ohhh.... the irony.

  66. Joseph Haig


    Can someone please explain whether this is because IE 8 follows web standards better than previous versions, and so it is seeing all the problems other standards compliant browsers have been seeing for years, or because they have broken things even further? I hope it is the former, but I fear it is the latter.

  67. Mark Duncan


    the irony. You could down elephants with it.

  68. Toastan Buttar
    Gates Horns

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish...

    Embrace, rinse and repeat.

  69. Julian Lawton


    The BBC and Facebook sites works fine under Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc - maybe IE8 should start spoofing it's browser string so that it gets served the same standards content as the others??

  70. Owen Williams
    Thumb Up

    Standards are a Good Thing

    This story spins IE8 as a Bad Thing. Finally, Microsoft are trying to produce a standards compliant web browser. I just hope it's true and that Microsoft stick at it. The Bad Thing are web sites that discriminate against their users.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And this is what you get...

    when you retard web standards progress for years. Thanks MS, now you get to be on the receiving end.

  72. Mark Sims
    Thumb Down

    Is The Tail Wagging The Dog

    Shouldn't a browser be able to deal with all websites? I know as a website designer that, I should try to make my sites standards compliant. However, not everyone can do so as their sites may be extensive. I feel that M$ should not dictate to websites, especially sites like the BBC! If they continue with this plan of action more users will migrate to Firefox or Chrome.

  73. Allan Dyer
    IT Angle

    Hoist by their own petard

    So IE8 is supposed to be standards-compliant, and it therefore breaks sites written for earlier versions of IE (which, therefore, already give a bad experience to non-IE users).

    Why is the BBC site mentioned as an example? The site looks the same for Firefox and IE6, so a standards-complianty browser can display it sensibly. Something is fishy. Is their browser still choosing to run the IE-specific code that everyone has had to include to fix the problems they caused in the first place?

    icon - because it doesn't add up.

  74. This post has been deleted by its author

  75. Stuart Butterworth


    ...MS should be building their browser to meet web standards, rather than the site builders having to build thisr sites to meet Microsofts standards.

    Come to think of it, since Microsoft is a member of the W3C, shouldnt they be building their browser to the standards they themselves helped to draft?

  76. Sooty

    how standards compliant can it be?

    if a large number of very well know web sites don't work with it, yet these same sites work with all of the other standards compliant browsers?

  77. tony72
    Gates Halo

    Good for MS

    As a programmer who occasionally has to do some web work, I have to thoroughly applaud Microsoft for making standards mode default in IE8. There may be a bit of pain for the many fools who have ignored the advice in every web development book, and coded to depend on ye olde Internet Explorer non-standardness, but they deserve it. If they want to keep their users, they will fix their sites, otherwise they deserve what they get. With the proliferation of web-enabled devices and browsers around now, standards-compliance is becoming ever more important, and for once Microsoft is really helping. May wonders never cease.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't you just love standards knobheads.

    What was wrong with tables?

    It meant a single hard core developer could build a website, because the presentation layer more or less worked across all browsers.

    Methinks in their desperation to become clever, Microsoft have lost something.

  79. Billy Nomaits
    Thumb Down

    What goes around...

    ... comes around. If MS hadn't tried to bend the internet to their will in the first place, they wouldn't need to add all this complexity.

  80. Jeff Bond
    Gates Horns

    Simpler solution

    Why can't IE8 simply recognise that a web site is not standards compliant, and then switch into 'compatibily mode' automatically? It could display an embarrassing warning to the user that should encourage website authors to fix things.

  81. Andy

    Who else but Microsoft

    ...would deliberately release a web-browser that doesn't work with a host of major websites?

    And who else would get away with it, probably... ::sigh::

  82. Anonymous Coward

    So let's get this straight

    Because Microsoft didn't adhere to Internet Standards before, and over a long period of time, a lot of web sites tweaked their pages to work well with the non- Internet-Standards versions of IE. And now that Microsoft has decided to adhere to Internet Standards, their new browser is incompatible with the mess they made.

    Is anyone surprised?

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    What's wrong with just treating W3 as gosbel?

    My site conforms to w3's XHTML 1.0 Transitional standard. But uses a few hacks to make IE work, and a few to make Firefox and Opera work.

    Interestingly, both Safari and Chrome either work, or they respond to some of the hacks already in place.

  84. JP Strauss
    Paris Hilton


    That's funny

  85. Dan White
    Thumb Down


    'The browser's planned list will be targeted at users that Microsoft considers not "web savvy".'

    Errm, surely the "not web savvy" won't know *how* to install IE8.

    The "web savvy" amongst us *won't* install IE8...

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That'll teach 'em

    Idiot developers should have coded their sites properly because you can target ie6/7 specifically with conditional comments. Why aren't these sites future proof?

  87. Richard Conyard

    Standards mode breaks sites?

    No, IE8 standards mode doesn't break sites - the sites are already broken, standards mode just shows up the incompetence of the site authors and their inability to work to open standards.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    internet explorer

    arguably the worst thing to ever happen to the internet

  89. Steven
    Gates Horns

    "We're changing how the roads work..."

    Please update your tyres because our our myopia...

  90. Exarsere
    Gates Horns


    This is ludicrous... its backward... IE8 should be made more compatible with existing web pages. IE7 is bad enough at displaying them! IE7 is the reason I found Firefox in the first place. It defies belief. How can this be considered a logical step?

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Food analogy

    IE 8 breaks websites that were bent to suit the quirks of previous versions of IE, in order to make its browser fully standards compliant.

    To me, it's a bit like breaking eggs to make an omelette, and after the initial wailing and gnashing of teeth it's probably going to set us up for happier and more pleasant WWW.

  92. Iain

    What the internet is for

    "Web sites making the list will be global "high-volume sites", and sites "we determine high-volume on a market-by-market basis," Microsoft program manager Scott Dickens blogged."

    Lets apply some statistics to this. Int he words of the popular song: "The internet is for..."

    So, logically, the highest volume sites will have names like: ''. Are those going to appear on MS's list?

  93. Dean Burrows
    Paris Hilton

    Not to mention...

    ...the fact that IE8, strangely, stops my antivirus from working correctly...

    I mean, thats all KINDA screwed up, when your internet browser doesnt like McAfee and blanks the security centre making you completely unable to use it...

    I still dont know if they have this resolved, which is a shame, as I like beta testing...

    Microsoft is cocking up though...

    Tell me, at what point do we allow software developers, even ones as big as Micro$oft, to dictate how we do something as simple as display our webpages in a certain way?

    Although, judging by current trends, noone will need to optimise for IE8, as Firefox seems to be catching them up quickly...

    now I wonder why that is...

    -goes off in a tangent-

    Paris, cos her mighty social status and blatant non-tech savvy-ness should help our cause with IE8 and Microsoft ^^

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More on the Microsoft GUI people

    This sums up microsoft. Their back end people are brilliant, and the HCI people are useless.

    I've just searched a directory tree for files with Ajax in the title. Because the stop button is underneath the directory name, its location changes depending on the length of the directory name.

    I've just spent five seconds trying to cancel a search because Microsoft employs people whose job depends on them coming up with something new.

    Sack the whole HCI team.

  95. Steve


    Hang on, so MS has got IE8 setup so that it renders in a standards compliant way - similar to FF, Opera etc.

    However if a website will only work in IE7 and prior then users can press a single button and it will switch to the non-standard rendering method.

    And your slating MS for this?!

    How is this any different than MS dropping IE and pushing FF out via Windows Update? The effect is the bloody same - people start using stanards based browsers!!!

    What a bias bit of "reporting". May I ask - Linux or Mac your platform of evangalism?

    Or do you really work for Opera?

  96. Richard Porter

    This is a turn-around for MS!

    It's a bit different from the previous "stuff the standards - Microsoft knows best" attitude of the past, but the owners of the broken sites have only themselves to blame for writing crap code just to exploit IE quirks instead of sticking to W3C standards. Perhaps now some of these sites will work with other browsers when they've been made to work with IE8.

    Incidentally the BBC site is OK with NetSurf as long as you don't want to watch videos.

  97. Gavin Nottage
    Gates Horns

    Isn't it Microsofts fault?

    M$ introduced a non-standards compliant browser, meaning sites designed to that. Now they move back to standards compliance, those sites who have the tweaks for M$ no longer display correctly. Had Microsoft not gone down its own route there wouldn't be this problem in the first place. Perhaps website should detect M$ IE and then tell the user to get a browser that doesn't keep changing how it displays websites...

  98. Poon Moon
    Paris Hilton

    Run that by me again...

    I just dont understand the strategy here - what are MS's objectives for an approach that seems so littered with issues and contraints?

    Please help Hilton understand...

  99. Paul Murphy

    So M$ effectively break the intertubes...

    Then complain that sites aren't compliant??

    Wouldn't it have been better to make your browser work properly in the first place MS?

    Unfortunately i doubt this will prompt everyone to just say no to all versions of IE and just use one of the alternatives instead.



  100. Robinson
    Paris Hilton

    Hug and Break

    Oh dear. Once again Microsoft's policy of `embrace and extend' ("hug and break") has come around to bite them on the behind. The solution for most users is not to use IE at all.

  101. Jeff
    Thumb Up

    Hang on a minute..

    What's that, failing to comply with web standards is causing a headache for the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft?

    'what goes around comes around' springs to mind! Finally they get a taste of what the thousands of web developers having to implement non-compliant tricks to subvert the shoddy old versions of internet explorer had to go through.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    So let's get this straight... you write a web browser. You then seek to test it by loading some big-name common sites to see if it works - and then find it doesn't...

    Why surely you fix the browser, not the millions of sites out there that are suddenly "broken"?

  103. Max


    So they've made it W3C compliant on the CSS and HTML standards, bravo, but what about Javascript? Did they finally kill 'document.all' etc.?

  104. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    I am only a casual web coder, but I despise IE with a passion. You spend time coding your site to the standards, FF, Opera, Chrome all happily render pages perfect. Then you fire up IE and spend three times at long carefully inserting all the little workarounds to allow IE to work.

    Of course the MS sheeple will fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

    There has to be some kind of case here, this is getting beyond ridiculous now. Come MS, we've had a laugh a few giggles, let's knock it on the head now!

  105. Dan
    Dead Vulture

    If I didn't know better...

    ...I'd say someone at MS was trying to kill off the company deliberately. Obviously this is a silly suggestion but, come on, Vista was so bad it almost forced people to switch to OSX or Linux, XP bein the only reason that this only didn't happen wholesale. Vista licensing managing to kill off a load more MS users, and now this?!

    If I was a shareholder I would be mighty pi$$ed at what appears to be gross incompetence, either by a couple of product managers, or at the constraints etc that are forced on them, inevitably by senior management.

    Headstone with MS on it rather than el reg...

  106. Jim

    Acid 2 Test...

    Apparently they were so jonesd to get the acid 2 test working that they didn't think that most sites wouldn't be so F'd up.

    IE8 is FAIL.

  107. DZ-Jay

    A great day for the intarwebs

    Whether they are doing it because they decided it is time to set things right, or because the threat of legal action from the European Union is too great to ignore; I think this marks a great day in the development of the World Wide Web. (Possibly, it further evidences the downfall of the once great giant.)

    I understand the disruption that this may cause in the short term, but I believe that this is the best way to ensure common compatibility among all web sites and browsers in the long term, working towards the ultimate goal of complete platform and brand independence.

    Most web sites which are not compatible are so because of bad code and lazy developers: the fact that they are a limited number is evidence that there are ways to implement sites which are viewable on most commonly used browsers--including older IE--without resorting to browser-specific hacks. This has been known by many developers for years. The days of absolute incompatibility between browsers which required implementing a site twice, once for each of the two popular browsers of the time, has long gone with the death of Netscape 4.0.


  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Microsoft recommend any web tools?

    I wonder what are the most common faults are, and what tools those pages were produced with.

    Will FrontPage or Microsoft Office Live be able to produce non-trivial IE8 compatible pages?

  109. Tone

    BBC, CNN..

    render fine for me in both modes of ie8?

  110. Geoff Mackenzie

    IE8 for the web-challenged

    Well, that's the target market sure enough.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    What was wrong with tables?

    It meant a single hard core developer could build a website, because the presentation layer more or less worked across all browsers.


    Apart from the fact that they cause problems with screen readers (when used for layout only) meaning you're failing the ideas behind the WAI and probably (in the UK at least) breaking the law (Disability Discrimination Act).

    Yes, I'm a web developer and yes, I think 90% of all web developers are lazy, feckless, useless incompetents who neither know nor care about data abstraction, security or making sure the bloody GUI is as compatible and accessible as possible.

    I apologise to the percentage that _do_ write good code, both in the application and presentation layers, and who actually give a toss about their work... but sorry folks, you seem to be in the minority.

    If IE8 IS standards compliant then the _only_ problem should be sites that implement IE kludges based on user-agent detection... and to be honest, I only have to do that with AJAX these days - and I only really use AJAX on CMS systems where I can dictate (to some extent) which browser my users are actually using - normally Opera at the moment.

  112. Dunhill

    Maybe i am extremely wrong but

    I always thought that windos was build around IE

    Now when they try to start using Standards they will prob. get into problem with their OS

    One browser fighting the other ??

    Or is this IE8 the base of windows7 (or 8?)

    It is just a thought, i won't have the problem , the last version of windows that i used was 3.0 for a few days.

  113. James
    Gates Horns

    Could be worse, I suppose

    It's better than one possibility I had seen mentioned, the appalling idea of abandoning standards and making the old buggy behaviour the default, so the sub-standard sites would not just survive but continue to spread. At least this way, new sites won't be coded to rely on legacy bugs - I just hope this hack doesn't make it harder for the offending sites to be fixed.

    IE6 was an abomination which needs to be purged from the Internet pronto, IE7 is just about adequate in some respects - it would make a nice change if IE8 could do something to repair the damage done to the web by its predecessors.

  114. Anonymous Coward

    Why didn't they...

    So IE8 is standards compliant, right? So knowing, as they should, that many websites contain conditional comments and well-known hacks to work with IE, why does IE8 standards mode ignore conditional comments? Opera / FF / Chrome do, and all the well known sites in the list work perfectly well with them.

    Or is it just easier for everyone in the world to fix their websites, rather than MS tweaking their browser?

  115. Matt

    Think about it guys

    n.b. If you are in the least bit techie this will be too simple for you, so just go straight to the next post.

    Most people seem to get it (but want a moan anyway - fair enough I may join you!) but some people seem to forget: Most websites have different code depending on what web browser you are running (Usually small stuff in css). This tends to be standards compliant code for FF etc and 'broken' code for IE, which IE would then display correctly.

    So the people who say that sites look the same in IE7 and FF, so IE8 is to blame are missing the point, they may look the same but are using different code. IE8 comes along, the website gives it the 'broken' code, and it doesn't know how to show it, where as IE7 did.

    The problem is when the IE specific code was written it only check that the user was running IE, but didn't look at the version (I mean come-on, how many of us thought IE would ever be standards compliant?)

    I was going to suggest the easiest solution would be to change the useragent to something else (no not FF, but something unique) but then reaslised that that would break all the sites that are currently IE only! (Plus this would only work if IE8 *really* is standards compliant!)

    I can't think of any easy way to solve this (other than don't release IE 8) I thinks its just a case of release it, wait for the uptake and websites will gradually change.

    As others have noted it will be painful, but in the end will be a good thing. (If only people would stop using really outdated versions!)

  116. MikeG

    Firefox compatibility

    Firefox is far from perfect when it comes to compatibility: it has issues with certain useful CSS features that work in Opera and IE 7. I'm not holding my breath waiting for a fix, since FF's irritating imagemap bug - to name but one - has languished unfixed since 2001. No doubt fixing known bugs isn't as interesting as creating pointless new features.

  117. Sillyfellow

    yes fishy

    i was also going to say it smells fishy to me.

    clearly IE8 is NOT standards compliant.

    and behold... the 'M$ badsites list'. quiver under ms's fierce dominance. you will comply.

    oh, and don't forget the 'swapmode' button... (oh, so that's how it's supposed to look.) heh

  118. Franklin


    "What they REALLY need to do is find a way to make all the idiots still using IE6 upgrade their browser. People won't stop writing 'incompatible' HTML while it is required for IE6 which still has ~20% of the browser share."

    Not gonna happen. The next version of Windows Mobile will reportedly use (gak!) IE 6 as its browser. This mess is never going to go away. Never.

  119. Sillyfellow

    two words...

    backwards compatibility?

  120. Kevin

    Webdevelopers are lucky

    Think of it like this Microsoft is doing their best to keep you guys in a job through the recession ;)

  121. Al Jones

    117 posts, and 107 of them want IE to stay broken?

    Microsoft could have made "compatibility mode" the default, so that IE8 would display a page using the IE7 engine, unless the page specifically told it to use "standards mode".

    In fact, that's exactly what some people proposed when IE8 was in development. You can imagine the reaction from the peanut gallery.

    But Microsoft decided to do the right thing, and make IE default to "standards mode". And what's the response from the peanut gallery?

  122. Anonymous Coward


    Make sites W3C standards compliant and put this note at the bottom of the page:

    "This site complies with Internet standards. If your browser doesn't, click here."

    "here", of course, being a link to the download sites of FF, Opera, etc.

  123. Anthony Houghton
    Thumb Down

    A better solution?

    Just looked at the BBC Radio 4 page (to pick one at random) and it is _not_ standards compliant. FF renders it in 'quirks mode', a simple elegant solution to the problem of what to do about non-compliant page.

    However, Microsoft has never been familiar with the concept of 'simple elegant solutions'. So their first stab seem to be to have a button that the user has to push to make IE8 enter the equivalent of 'quirks mode'. Annoying, to say the least, and seemingly unworkable.

    Their second solution is to compile a list of incompatible web sites that IE8 can consult, to save the user the bother of pressing a button.

    Whilst chivvying webmasters into standards compliance is, in theory, a good thing, given that there are a huge number of sites that are not actively maintained, including much of the historical stuff on sites like the BBC's, a 100% compliant web is never going to happen, and IE8 really needs to learn to live with that.

    It just goes to show that throwing money at a problem is not always the best solution.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You could possibly blame web developers for some of the errors we might see.

    Lets say that IE8 is fully standards compliant (we know it wont be, but for example sakes).

    Now consider a page that renders fine in standards compliant browers, and would work fine in IE8, BUT the developer has used a conditional statement to say greater than 6, or something of that sorts. Granted less than 6 is more common, people still use the previous.

    This is slight ignorance in the view of the web developer.

    Note, I am a web developer, I hate Microsoft's idiot attempts at a browser, and the way they will continuously get it worse for billions of years to come. Also, Microsoft, you want more people off IE6? Allow 7/8 to be installed on win2k.

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