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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

IE 8 - To be its default or not... I still have a point

For the last few weeks there's been a lot of buzz about IE8 and how Microsoft intended to make IE7 the default display as not to break existing websites. Recently Microsoft decided to go ahead and render IE8 as itself and many seem to be relieved. I am still skeptical...

I've been meaning to blog on this topic, but I honestly haven't had time to keep up with all the online chatter about it and hence was unsure I should bother. Perhaps what I have to say has been said before? Oh well, I'm going to say it anyway...

What I haven't yet seen talked about is the possibility that a dot release -- or even a full version -- of IE may be incompatible with a website, leaving the web developer wanting to 'skip' it somehow.

The proposed "version targeting" would allow someone to declare the site's compatibility with a specific version of IE so that it would render as that version, despite what the user had installed on their system. For example, the user has IE 15, but the web developer declared IE 7. The IE 15 user is stuck looking at an IE 7 site.

That seems to be the common example that raises all sorts of concerns about the web, user experience, standards and what have you. But what if...

What if IE 9 renders my site perfectly, but IE 9.1 doesn't. IE 9.2 is also perfect. Fixing IE 9.1 would take 40 hours of work and my client doesn't want to do it. Shouldn't I be able to skip IE 9.1 somehow?

Please don't try to tell me that sort of thing doesn't happen. It's happened to me with other software. (Safari being one and QuickTime being another.) So it is fair to say that Microsoft could release a version (be it major or minor) of IE that I don't want to support.

All users shouldn't be forced to the lowest browser supported by the site. In my mind, users should get the highest browser supported. That is, a browser experience that is equal to or the next lower supported version than what they have installed.

Let's pretend I have a list of versions I support on my website that looks like this:


Let's say the user has 9.1 installed. I don't support it, they should get the 9 experience.

How does version targeting propose to handle such a situation? Is it something anyone has even though about or discussed? I don't know, and if Google knows it hasn't pointed me there yet.

So therefore I blog, in hopes to spark some conversation be it in my blog's comments or on other blogs.

I have few other odd-ball ideas around this topic but I'll start with this one and see where it goes before revealing more of my wacky thoughts...

Posted by ~Angela | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Permalink