Microsoft warns webmasters to update sites for Internet Explorer compatibility; Welcome to 1998

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Here comes IE8, just like every IE before it. Nick MacKechnie, a senior manager on the IE8 project, blogged that webmasters should get ready for IE8 by adding special IE8 tags to their websites. The irony is that the edits to HTML needed to make sites compatible with IE8 are to tell the browser that you’re making an HTML-compliant page. Basically, IE8 defaults to wanting everything the standard way, but you can tell it to handle things the Microsoft way if that’s how you’ve previously coded your site.

While we like the idea of Microsoft finally making Internet Explorer default to Web standards, it still sucks that many sites have had to support older versions of IE for a decade, making special changes, that now have to be undone.

Microsoft really needs to figure out a better way to do this. The problem was that years ago it decided that it was too powerful to adopt somebody else’s standards for HTML and made up its own. As IE browser share skyrocketed, Web designers had little choice but do things the MS way. Now that Web standard browsers are evening the score, webmasters can do things the right way.

This is all a boondoggle that reminds one of Vietnam: it likely never should have happened in the first place, but once a mess is made you have to do what you can to fix it.

Yes, I just compared Internet Explorer to the Vietnam War. Sue me.

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