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A Change of Heart?

Microsoft's New Plan


March 3rd, 2008 last updated March 3rd, 2008
Posted in: Opinion, Standards

Well what do you know - the people seem to have won out against the powers that be - a friend linked me to this IE Development Blog Entry, and it seems the IE development team has changed their mind. The article suggest the primary reason may be Opera's lawsuit filed in the European Union, though I'd like to think that it had more to do with the general public consensus. In either case, this particular fight is almost over.

The posting does not address what will happen in future editions of IE, will they continue allowing people to build for IE7 well into the future? Will standards only be slightly better off, or will future versions retire older versions, like they should? This is a highly important question which needs to be answered before we all celebrate.

What Needs To Happen

Regardless of how Microsoft answers this question, there now must be a massive grassroots movement to ensure that when IE8 rolls around, people chose to fix their websites, rather than just inserting the version targeting code. If Microsoft chooses to continue backwards compatibility with IE7 well into the future, this becomes all the more imperative, but either way, the more people we can convert to standard design, the better.

Put simply, we need to absolutely not tell anyone about Version Targeting. Anyone who asks how to ensure their site will work in IE8 must be told they need to validate their website - not to add a meta tag. It may be easier, but don't tell people to use VT just because it's easier - we all made the choice to code to standards because it's better, not because it's easier.

Avoid putting any positive reference to version targeting on your websites, and absolutely avoid putting the code to do it anywhere that can be easily found. Before IE8 goes live, lets google bomb links for search terms like 'my website just broke' and 'IE8 just broke my website' to point to instructions on how to convert to standards, not how to insert a meta tag that will continue their path of ignorance.

I absolutely do not encourage lying - do not post information claiming that version targeting will not work, or that it is anything it is not. To do so would go against everything that the internet ought to be. Inset endeavor to educate anyone trying to fix their suddenly defunct websites in a positive and open manner. There is a fine line between promoting the positive and spreading misinformation, and we should not cross that line.

Microsoft and others will have a powerful head start promoting version targeting as a positive change, and it is up to every single person who knows better to resist, and push for standards. Educate the masses, and maybe five, ten years from now we might just be developing websites in a world where every browser is as close to standard as possible, and every developer, from the founders of WaSP and the W3C all the way down to the stupidest script kiddy, writes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which is valid, concise, and logical.

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