Today it came to light in a blog post on Microsoft’s IE Blog that the company intends to include a new ‘compatibility feature’ and black/white list that it hopes will help users if sites break in the up-and-coming release of Internet Explorer 8.

When users install Windows 7 Beta or the next IE8 update, they get a choice about opting-in to a list of sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. Sites are on this list based on feedback from other IE8 customers: specifically, for what high-volume sites did other users click the Compatibility View button? This list updates automatically, and helps users who aren't web-savvy have a better experience with web sites that aren't yet IE8-ready.

In his typical style of getting straight to the point, Yahoo's Mike Davies, spits feathers.

To pre-empt this nonsense the practical course of action is to add the IE8 Compatibility view to your pages now before your sites get added to a blacklist. Exactly what Microsoft announced a year ago. They've routed around the web standards community. Again.

In other news I read that Microsoft are set to open their own retail stores. I wondered if Microsoft will use the same approach in their stores:

If several people enter a Microsoft Store wearing pajamas, will Microsoft assume that everybody wants to see their products while wearing night attire?

Having got to know the IE team well over the last few years, I appreciate everything that they do and I can understand a little about how hard it must be to improve a market-leading browser, bring in new features and improvements to CSS and Javascript support, without upsetting their large corporate customers and the billions of everyday Internet Explorer users. It's not a job that I would want to take on, ever, and they have my admiration.

Head of the Internet Explorer team, Chris Wilson, replied to my tweet, asking:

Do you have a better solution that doesn't break web sites that fixed themselves up to work in IE7 for users when we ship?

Chris, I feel for you. I really do. But what I really think is that if sites break in Internet Explorer 8, after you have done everything that you can to make that browser the best that it can be, it really isn't your problem to solve.

Instead it's a problem for designers and developers like me to solve. After-all, with the abundance of beta versions of the new browser, it's not like Microsoft haven't given us fair warning that a new version is coming.


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