Will the Real IE Please Stand Up?

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Having read Chris Wilson's (IE Platform Architect) explanation of Microsoft Internet Explorer 8's handling of compatibility modes, you just have to laugh--or cry--in exasperation. After years of almost encouraging sloppy web pages, IE 8 has gotten standards religion, almost. There will now be three (count 'em!) modes in IE:

1. "Quirks" mode. All garbage written for IE 5.5 and older is tolerated.
2. Semi-compatibility mode. Any page with a <DOCTYPE> declaration will provide the not-quite-standards-compliant mode offered in IE 6 and 7.
3. Compliance mode (Bullwinkle: "This time for sure!"). Developers who want the latest in standards compliance, at least those standards that Microsoft wants to support, can use a <meta> tag to tell IE 8 that they want as much standards compliance as they can get. You can read the gory details here.

Does this mean that we will get a new compatibility mode for each new version of IE? Mozilla fans, rejoice! By the time Microsoft gets to version 10, the IE browser is almost guaranteed to die under the weight of its own bloat; I mean Windows Vista will run faster on a 486! People will leave en masse to another browser just to get decent responsiveness. Which will, ironically, finally ensure that the Web does have a chance at becoming unified under a cohesive set of standards.

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