It seems all I talk about on this blog these days is IE8; if you don’t have any interest in IE8, I apologise.
Upon checking my visit logs tonight, I discovered I was quoted on the ieblog referring to some things I mentioned in my initial post. Subsequently, Scott McIver from the IE team responded with some interesting comments.
In reponse to the ‘assumption’ I made where I described what telementary data the list will be made up from, Scott suggested that I had misenterpreted what will actually happen when in fact what will happen is,
… a list of super-important sites is compiled (based on 3rd party survey data). We then look to see if users are having compatibility failures on those sites and, if they are, contact those sites and add them to the list. What I don’t understand is why they’re planning to break down into this ’super-important’ tier. Even with
3rd party survey data, it’s still a very subjective criteria; it’s an obvious fact that different usergroups will deem different types of sites to be most important – it’s a personal thing, at the end of the day. To me, it seems a no-brainer for them to base their list on sites (top 1000 or so) that the highest frequency of users perform a compatibility-switch on- this criteria seems far more relevant in this context.
Show me the list, show me the list
Perhaps a more effective means of finding out whether your site appears on this list,
is to make it public (Update: if you want to find out the contents of the active list, you can navigate to
res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml in your address bar), rather than waiting for Microsoft to email you about it? On top of this, Microsoft need to provide developers which a clear means of contacting them regarding removal of their site from the Compatibility View list – currently, I see no way of doing this.
Lack of CSS 2.1 support and it’s probable effect on Compatibility View
I’ve been pretty busy this weekend filing IE8 Beta 2 bugs (I’ve found 11 new (that aren’t logged on other prominent bug list pages) bugs in just one day). Just recently I’ve become acutely aware that the final release of IE8 won’t fully hit CSS 2.1 support, whether it’s because a spec implementation is buggy, or they’re not going to bother implementing a spec full stop. This lack of support got me thinking about the impact this will have on the users interaction with Compatibility View; even though many of the bugs I’m coming across are fringe cases or features that aren’t currently being used on a large scale (can be blamed on browser support, I’m sure), there is lack of support for (or bugs relating to) features that are commony used. These issues will of course result in a substandard page layout, and my concern is that end-users will be tempted to perform a compatibility-switch in the hope that it fixes the layout, when all it’ll do is either look the same or worse – OK, compatibility-switching won’t fix the lack of support for the
print media descriptor when used with the @import rule, but you catch my drift.
Incorrect use of Compatibility View
I saw this post, in which we get a better insight into what the IE team were talking about when they said high-volume sites
weren’t working for end-users with IE’s new standards compliant default. Scott describes how styles that should be specific only to IE7 (to work around it’s layout bugs) are also getting applied to IE8, on the popular MySpace.com site. For example, they have chosen to use the
gte IE7 (greater that or equal to IE7) operator which of course means that IE8 applies these styles too. The underlying issue here then, lies with authors making irresponsible decisions relating to which operator a conditional comment uses not that these sites aren’t coded to be standards compliant. So, perhaps in hinds sight, Microsoft shouldn’t have implemented the greater than operator in the first place.
I can in fact, see this being a problem across all future IE versions; for example, when we get around to IE9 (which will hopefully not include Compatibility View), sites like MySpace will continue to break in the same way they’re doing now if those site authors don’t update the Conditonal Comment operators they’re using.
On a side note, I had a little chuckle when reading this post from one angry developer; based on his use of uppercase text, asterisks for emphasis, and generaly formatting, I’d hate to meet him in person on a bad day!
This random video made me laugh. I didn’t particularly want to create a whole new post just to showcase this, so I’ve stuffed it in this one