Internal Microsoft IE 8 build passes the Acid standards test

Internal Microsoft IE 8 build passes the Acid standards test

Summary: A week after Opera Software filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft that focused, in part, on Microsoft's falure to make Internet Explorer (IE) standards-compliant, Microsoft has gone on record stating IE 8 will include support for key Web standards.Microsoft verified last week that an internal test build of IE 8 passed the Acid2 Browser Test, according to Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of IE Development.

TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft

A week after Opera Software filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft that focused, in part, on Microsoft's falure to make Internet Explorer (IE) standards-compliant, Microsoft has gone on record stating IE 8 will include support for key Web standards.

Microsoft: IE 8 will pass the Acid standards testMicrosoft verified last week that an internal test build of IE 8 passed the Acid2 Browser Test, according to Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of IE Development. Hachamovitch noted the milestone in a blog post to the IE Team blog on December 19. Microsoft also posted a video to its Channel 9 Web site explaining the finer points for developers interested in the Acid2 details.

Acid2 is a test page, maintained by the independent Web Standards Project group, that was written to help browser vendors ensure support for Web standards in their products.

"I'm delighted to tell you that on Wednesday, December 12, Internet Explorer correctly rendered the Acid2 page in IE8 standards mode," Hachamovitch blogged. "While supporting the features tested in Acid2 is important for many reasons, it is just one of several milestones for the interoperability, standards compliance, and backwards compatibility that we're committed to for this release."

In a phone interview on December 19, Hachamovitch also said that Microsoft will release a public beta build of IE 8 some time in the first half of 2008.

Internal Microsoft IE 8 build passes the Acid standards testHachamovitch denied that Microsoft's decision to disclose this week IE 8's planned standards compliance was related to Opera's antitrust suit launched last week. Hachamovitch said Microsoft has been working on making IE 8 Acid2-compliant since IE 8 planning began.

(Note: I have asked Opera to comment on how Microsoft's news on IE 8 and Acid2 will affect their antitrust complaint filed with the European Commission. Stay tuned for more. Here is the Opera response.)

The beta timing and Acid2 compliance were the only two news nuggets that Hachamovitch was willing to discuss with me around IE 8. I asked him when Microsoft is planning to ship the final IE 8 release; what other features IE 8 will include; whether IE 8 will work with XP or be Vista only; whether Microsoft plans to make non-public test builds of IE 8 available to select testers outside of Microsoft in early 2008; and whether Silverlight, Microsoft's Flash-like player that is currently a browser add-on will be bundled with the final IE 8 release. Hachamovitch declined to comment on any of these things.

In the IE Blog posting, Hachamovitch said: "We'll cover more details of the non-developer oriented work (e.g. user experience, reliability, security, etc.) in other posts in the future, after MIX."

Mix '08 is slated for early March 2008. At Mix 07, Microsoft provided some general guidance on its future IE plans but has offered no new details since then.

In the IE blog posting, Hachamovitch reiterated the Windows client chief Steven Sinofsky's line that Microsoft is dialing back on transparency for the good of the customer:

"For IE8, we want to communicate facts, not aspirations. We're posting this information now because we have real working code checked in and we're confident about delivering it in the final product. We're listening to the feedback about IE, and at the same time, we are committed to responsible disclosure and setting expectations properly. Now that we've run the test on multiple machines and seen it work, we're excited to be able to share definitive information."

Microsoft's IE team has been baraged by critics who have been unhappy with Microsoft's failure to provide IE 8 timing and feature guidance. The team also has been roundly chastized for years -- and not just by Opera -- for its slowness in making IE compliant with the latest iterations of common Web standards, such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), DHTML an document object model (DOM).

Web developers: What do you think about the IE 8 team's latest disclosures? What else do you want/need to hear sooner rather than later about Microsoft's future browser plans?

Topics: Browser, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • IE8 Web Layout Engine?

    Can someone please verify what web layout engine IE8 used to pass the acid2 test?

    D T Schmitz
    • IE layout engine.

      Dietrich, as we discuss a bit on the video, it's a new IE layout engine.
      • Trident-derived? Thanks

        D T Schmitz
      • Follow-up

        So, would it be correct to say that the IE8 core engine is MS proprietary code and not derived in any way from external code licenses?

        Thanks Chris for your reply.
        D T Schmitz
      • Congrats Chris

        Though I must ask " Why did it take so frigging long?"
        Please release it early.
        Beta in early 2008, Oh no!
      • Not Trident VI?

        A whole [i]new[/i] rendering engine? New code-name and all, or is it still being called Trident?
        Joel R
  • Beautiful

    This and true XHTML support would make me a happy camper. It's really not too much to ask, and it's nice that they're finally catching up with the rest of the browser market.

    Unfortunately it'll probably be Q4 '08 before we have anything RTM, and 2009/2010 before there's significant usage.

    Better than nothing, I guess.
    • Rest of the browser market?

      I'm running Firefox, and it fails the Acid2 test miserably.
      • Re: Rest of the browser market?

        Yes but the new Firefox 3 betas are supposed to be able to pass. I tried but the site doesn't seem to load.
      • Right, but...

        Acid2 compliance isn't the be-all of standards compliance... even WaSP admits that. It is, of course, extremely important ... but still, the "rest of the browser market" is *far* more standards-compliant than IE has ever been. Not to mention that it'll be a matter of months before FF3 is out.

        So while the IE team spends 2k8 futzing around with the basics, the "rest of the market" will be moving on to bigger and better things.
        • I hate l33t speak.

          Its 2008 and not 2k8.
          • That is not "l33t" speak...

            That is Microsoft's own terminology.
          • 2k8 is not "2008"...

            ... at least, not in any field that I've worked. We use the SI unit prefix to replace the
            decimal point. So 2k8 is actually 2.8k, with the "kilo" symbol placed where the
            decimal point is supposed to be. This was done in the good old days as a means of
            preventing data being changed by accidental obliteration or alteration of the "." -
            all it takes is a pen to not ink properly once and you've suddenly increased the
            value of a component tenfold.

            But I'm certainly looking forward to IE8 coming out sometime in early 2800. I'm
            sure it will be worth the wait :)
          • Wait

            I understand what you're trying to say, but 2.8k does actually math out to 2800, not 2008. Because k=kilo, which equals 1000 in the metric system, 2.8*1000=2800. Why would it have even been abbreviated in that fashion, because that would lead to incorrect information everytime, unless the mistake was so widespread, and this country's metric knowledge was so poor that we couldn't figure out that it wasn't correct in the least. In order to say 2008 in that format would be 2.008k, thereby resulting in 2.008*1000=2008. 2k8 isn't proper either, but at least when you read it out loud you get "2 thousand 8."

            Just curious as to what the rationale is for what you put, because 2.8k has never in any field that I have studied or worked in equaled 2008, in either SI or metric.

            Have a happy holiday! :)
          • Before you get upset at a kooky abbreviation that saves a whole keystroke,

            just remember that Email addresses have the nifty syntax that they have today because, way back when, somebody with some influence over the English language felt that we actually needed an abbreviation for the word ?at.?
            Joel R
          • The @ symbol...

   FAR older than modern times. In fact, it goes way back to the middle ages. It's a symbol that means "at the rate of" in current context, but has been a symbol for a Spanish unit of weight. The Greeks, Italians, French all have had their uses for the @ symbol in it so it isn't just English.

   is your friend...
          • But what happened to the each symbol?

            The at symbol doesn't save any keystrokes - you have to press shift+2 rather than a
            then t. It's like saying "W-W-W", which requires 9 syllables, rather than "world wide
            web", which is only three.

            What I'd like to know is why the each symbol (like @ only with ea where the a is)
            seems to have disappeared completely. Is this a conspiracy?
            Fred Fredrickson
          • It doesn't save keystrokes, but it lets you have "at" in your name.

            You mean know, like "mat" for example.
        • FF 3 does NOT pass acid2 test

          I just download the beta 2 version of FF3 and it doesn't do any better on the Acid2 test than FF2. You'd think by the time you got the 2nd beta out you'd have improved on that. Considering MS just now started to get on the ball with IE8 and FF 3.0 has been worked on for almost a year and yet IE 8 can pass the Acid2 test and FF can't, that says a lot.
          • Actually, As Of Right Now, It Does

            I'm running Firefox 3b2, and it does, indeed, pass the Acid2 test. Maybe it depends on when you downloaded it. My Help:About puts the revision date at 2007121120.

            The only oddness I see in the results of the test in my browser is that the nose is a mouseover and turns blue when you go over it. I don't know if that's supposed to happen or not. But the page itself renders okay.