IE8 and Meta selectors

Ok, everyone else is talking about the new IE Meta tag Microsoft announced here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/01/21/compatibility-and-ie8.aspx
http://alistapart.com/articles/beyonddoctype

[sourcecode language=”html”]

[/sourcecode]

My first thought?  Unusually, it seems, I thought “great!”.  I was just thinking that it would be cool to add a “browser” attribute to the doctype, but this is a better solution.

I envisage a number of these at the top of my document from now on, merely stating the latest versions of all browsers which the site has been approved on by QA. (Think not just IE and FF, but mobiles, playstations, ipods, etc)

It seems likely I’ll only need one though – for IE, since it seems everyone else pushes upgrades as much as they do security releases.  I don’t fully understand why Microsoft can’t do this for the rendering engine.  They’re fixes after all.  I suspect the corporate installations and complex apps play a factor.

Some people have raised some valid concerns: 

My concern? 

  • Business upgrades.  We only upgrade our sites because “the internet breaks” when a new browser is released.  Where’s our business case to upgrade the whole site, if only one page needs new functionality?  We’re going to get stuck in IE7 land.   Damn.  HTML 5 would be good.

Finally, I see the support for older browsers becoming trickier.  As MS can start being bolder with new releases of browsers, we’ll have a world of problems supporting older browsers.

When IE7 came out, I had no problems upgrading to the new version by improving the standards compliance of my code.  But now I have massive problems with IE6.  Forward compatibility is not my problem – backwards compatibility is.
Microsoft prove this themselves in their article above.
“When we released IE 6 in 2001, very few pages on the web were in ‘standards mode’ (…less than 1%)
“It turned out by the time IE7 shipped in late 2006, roughly half of the top 200 US web sites were in ‘standards mode’.”

We’ll catch up quickly to new versions. 

MS should push the upgrades harder.  Phase out IE6 faster.  Phase out IE7 harder.  Push it.