Hold onto your hats people, it looks like Microsoft is getting IE8 somewhere near usable. It’s started a private beta test already with a public one set to follow… Let’s hope they do a u-turn on this stupid version meta tag and have the damn thing render in “super-standards” mode from the outset.
Microsoft has sent out invitations to a select number of testers allowing them to participate in a “limited technical beta program” for the upcoming Internet Explorer 8. The announcement also says that there will be a public beta as well, once the invitation version is complete.
So far we know that Microsoft claims that IE 8 will pass the ACID 2 compatibility test and include support for a controversial version tag, which will allow web developers to force the browser into “super-standards mode” enabling the browser to correctly render webpages that adhere to the W3C’s standards.
We’ve written before about the contentious debate surrounding the so-called version tag, but the basic idea is that website developers will be able to add a meta tag to their pages telling IE how it should render the page in traditional mode (non-standard IE 6-style rendering), standards mode (IE 7’s half-baked concept of standards) and super standards mode (where IE will render similar to the way Firefox, Opera and Safari have been doing for the last five years).
A number of developers have decried the meta-tag flagging as a way of versioning the web, which they feel is a bad idea. But regardless of how the meta-tag might play out, we find it interesting that, if the rumors are to be believed, IE 8 will automatically render in traditional mode.