Big IE8 News: Will support standards by default

Microsoft has just posted a press release announcing that IE8 will support standards by default, which is a change from what had been previously announced (that IE8 would support IE7 "mode" by default, and render to standards only with the inclusion of a <meta> tag – read more at A List Apart).  Ray Ozzie explains, from the press release:

“IE8 has been significantly enhanced, and was designed with great support for current Internet standards. This is evidenced by the fact that even in its first beta, IE8 correctly renders the popular test known as ‘Acid2,’ which was created by the Web community to promote real-world interoperability,” said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect. “Our initial plan had been to use IE7-compatible behavior as the default setting for IE8, to minimize potential impact on the world’s existing Web sites. We have now decided to make our most current standards-based mode the default in IE8.

“This is obviously a complex issue, with important considerations on both sides,” Ozzie said. “On one hand, there are literally billions of Web pages designed to render on previous browser versions, including many sites that are no longer actively managed. On the other hand, there is a concrete benefit to Web designers if all vendors give priority to interoperability around commonly accepted standards as they evolve. After weighing these very legitimate concerns, we have decided to give top priority to support for these new Web standards. In keeping with the commitment we made in our Interoperability Principles of being even more transparent in how we support standards in our products, we will work with content publishers to ensure they fully understand the steps we are taking and will encourage them to use this beta period to update their sites to transition to the more current Web standards supported by IE8.”

While of course this is not strictly Windows Live news, it will be a big topic at Mix of course, and will also play an important role in Microsoft’s standing in the web space.

You can read more on the IE Blog.