IE8 released at Mix; will it cripple the web-user experience?

The next generation of Internet Explorer, once the leading web browser in the world, has just been updated to version 8 and released at Mix 2009. While many will rejoice at the new browser; updated features, porn mode, tab recovery and better web standards, the last one has been a controversy from day one.

The next generation of Internet Explorer, once the leading web browser in the world, has just been updated to version 8 and released at Mix 2009. While many will rejoice at the new browser; updated features, porn mode, tab recovery and better web standards, the last one has been a controversy from day one.

The web standards debate has sparked mass protest and anger from thousands, if not tens of thousands of people.

To break it down simply, previous versions such as Internet Explorer 6 and 7 have not had web standards compatibility installed, and most web developers optimise their websites for IE6, IE7 and Firefox - the three main web browsers used on the market - and are customised to look visually pleasing in these browsers. Now IE8 has web standards installed, a lot of websites appear broken or parts missing because the customisation in the websites code makes the site literally appear as it should, but not how the developer intended.

Gallery To see a screenshot gallery of some of the errors encountered by the new web standards in Internet Explorer 8, click here.

Microsoft are telling developers to add code to websites which tells IE8 to assume the site isn't up to the web standards and to view in compatibility mode. However, there are only around 2,400 websites at the time of going to press which were configured this way. Many major corporate and visited websites, including a number of Microsoft ones, ironically, are still broken in IE8 as a result.

Many argue that developers, regardless of large or small websites, should face the music and adapt their websites to suit all browsers; after all, that is what web standards are for. Yet others would argue that, for a next generation browser, that it should give users the option to decide for themselves. Not everyone has realised yet that you can. Here's how:

  • If the menu bar doesn't appear in Internet Explorer 8, press the Alt key.
  • Go to Tools > Compatibility View Settings.
  • Make sure the two check boxes at the bottom of the dialog box are checked, then hit Close.

For those who want to avoid the impending web browsing experience massacre, you can always switch to another browser.

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