IE’s compatibility view

There’s been a lot of confusion about IE8’s compatibility view. To address the confusion, the IE Blog posted a note to clarify how compatibility view works. I think the site did a good job laying all the variations, though I’m not necessarily overjoyed about Microsoft’s decision to create a list of sites that are IE7 compatibility view, by default.

To see which sites will be displayed in IE mode, rather than standards mode, type the following into the IE address bar:


Netflix, Forbes, CNN, several Google sites in various countries, SF Gate, Facebook,…there are a significant number of sites in “compatibility view”. I appreciate that Microsoft is holding on to a tiger that is currently biting its butt, but protecting sites that need to update just keeps crappy stuff around that much longer.

For those sites not on the list, you can click a button on the toolbar to view it in compatibility view. However, the button will not display if the site uses a meta element to specifically say the site is IE8 standards compatible. If you access most of my sites with IE8, you won’t see the button. If you do, it’s only because I’ve forgotten to add the meta tag— my sites all work with both IE7 and IE8. IE6, too, but rather plainly.

I wish we didn’t have these browser version games, as they limit the advances we can make on the web. The IE compatibility view reminds me of the recently approved US DTV switch delay: they penalize the prepared and reward the procrastinator.

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