Internet Explorer 8 – Breaking the Web

By Koushik Saha on 19.3.08

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Internet Explorer 8, the successor of Internet Explorer 7, and the next iteration of the Microsoft's proprietary line of browsers is right on track to breaking the web. This because of the Redmond company's decision to support web standards by default with IE8. Ray Valdes, Gartner Research Director, and David Mitchell Smith, VP & Gartner Fellow revealed in an analysis that
although the standards-oriented IE8 is a welcomed evolution, it also represents a risk in terms of rendering incorrectly legacy web content tailored to IE6 and IE7, but also making enterprise developers look to other browsers.

"IE8 is an indicator of what some call 'the new Microsoft' — a Microsoft that is more open and supportive of standards that it does not necessarily control. This change began with IE7, which was a big improvement over the previous version, whose bugs, inconsistencies and incomplete standards support frustrated developers and boosted the market share of Firefox, Opera and Safari. IE7 helped Microsoft make up ground lost in the five-year hiatus since the previous version, but IE7's improved support for standards resulted in 'broken' Web pages for users. This occurred primarily within enterprises, where developers had built and maintained applications that were only tested with IE5.5 and IE6," revealed Valdes and Mitchell.With IE8, Microsoft aims for the task of supporting both content coded for previous releases of IE, as well as delivering additional emphasis on modern standards such as CSS 2.1 and HTML 5. At the same time, the company is striving for a recipe that will bring to the table performance and innovation, without diverging from the previous Internet Explorer line.

"With IE8, Microsoft is trying to woo the Web 2.0 world. IE8 will default to the standards mode, even though this will result in pages that don't display correctly for some enterprise applications. Gartner believes it is significant that Microsoft is willing to take this risk and favor the standards-oriented community over traditional enterprise developers. While Microsoft has opted for standards first, it has made efforts to ease the pain for enterprises, through multiple modes of operation, administrative capabilities and a range of ways to deal with existing content at the directory and individual page level," Valdes and Mitchell added.Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available for download here.

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