Thoughts on the new IE compatibility switch
Over on IEBlog and A List Apart, they detail a new flag for the upcoming IE8 that would enable you to “lock” the browser down to older versions should you be expecting older broken behavior from IE6 or IE7.
This is a bad idea. The Safari team has a great write-up about why they think it’s a bad idea, which I agree with, but I also have an additional take:
Pages and sites that are likely to care about this are poorly written and poorly maintained. Microsoft created this problem themselves when they let IE6 sit idle for more than half a decade, and now they have to deal with it. Instead of letting someone flag their site as being broken (that’s what they’re doing), why shouldn’t they finally force them to fix their site and improve the browsing experience for everyone (not to mention improve the stability, speed, and maintainability of their codebase)?
If someone owned a car, but didn’t know how to drive it properly, would we bend the driving laws to let them on the road? Of course not. Some reasonable adherence to standards and moving things forward is the only thing keeping the web browser mess from descending into pure chaos.