IE 8: Compatibility and Versioning

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As software evolves so to does the need for newer software to remain compatible with older versions. In the case of IE the notion of backwards compatibility is quite daunting and of supreme importance to the IE team. Consider the millions of web pages that were written to run successfully in older versions of IE. The latest incarnation of IE, IE 8 Beta 2, has a very useful compatibility feature that enables developers and users alike to run IE 8 in a mode that won't break pages that work in IE 7. It's as simple as pressing a button. Unlike IE 8 Beta 1, instructing IE to render a page in Compatibility mode does not require a browser restart. This is very cool indeed.

I wanted to find out exactly how this new compatibility mechanism works in IE 8 and discuss the complex issue of backwards compatibility and its impact on innovation with IE 8 Program Manager Scott Dickens. Scott is very passionate about compatibility (in fact his thinking up and prototyping ideas about IE 8 compatibility began as a side project which, not surprisingly, turned into a full time job for him).

Tune in and learn about how IE 8 compatibility mode works and learn why it works the way it does. Of course, being Channel 9, this conversation unfolds in a natural way and we dig into related topics as well (like JavaScript compatibility versus HTML/CSS compatibility, standards compliance and other interesting topics).



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Exciting Big Smile
    I want to help make IE8, better, best, most trusted....Gooder!
       Mark Wisecarver

  • User profile image
    cool cool Smiley
    what really needs to be talked about though is perf... ie8b2 is really slow, especially when zoomed in (try anandtech and tomshardware for isntance) someone said the js perf was going to be better in ie8 but both chrome and ff are way faster :/  why not use the silverlight js implementation? its awsome so much faster (dev div rules)

    its also very sad that many many pages including wikipedia and msdn dont work correctly in normal ie8 mode.. you have to revert to compat mode for them to work :/
  • User profile image
    So examples of what DTD header and Metatag combinations will give you what renderingen engine and a compatibility button or not whould be nice....

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