Just now the IE team announced that it's reversing its policy on the default behaviour of IE8, which shows that it has been paying close attention to the discussion of its versioning proposal. I admit that I hadn't expected this reversal, but I welcome it.
Back in January, when A List Apart announced the versioning switch, it was also announced that, left to itself, IE8 would use IE7 behaviour by default. Web developers could overrule this default and switch to IE8 behaviour by inserting the new
<meta> versioning switch.
Today's decision reverses that behaviour: without a versioning switch IE8 will behave as IE8, although it will still be possible to switch it to IE7 behaviour, if desired.
Frankly, I hadn't seen this coming. I supported the previous system for two reasons:
<meta>switch or similar mechanism is such a hardship.
As of right now, the second reason has ceased to exist — and that's the bit that I didn't see coming.
Microsoft has decided to put the interests of web standards above the interests of the Intranets of its corporate clients.
I advise you to read the previous paragraph again. Even two years ago I had never expected to be able to write such a statement.
True, the versioning switch will allow anyone to adapt quickly: just set the switch to turn back the clock, and your website is saved.
Nonetheless, the IE team has done exactly what many standards-aware web developers wanted: it has put the onus on non-standardistas. If you want IE7 behaviour, fine, but you have to take action. If you just want standards and progressive enhancement, do nothing.
Isn't that something? The IE team is listening.
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